Like so many cities in Italy, Pavia is filled with unparalleled history: from the likes of famous scientists to artists like DaVinci who spent time in this gorgeous city and contributed to the design of the stunning Duomo (or should I say, lay out). But it is also home to a world-famous university which is part of what brings this little city such charm: it is a college town but it is also a humble town of amazing and kind people who welcome these tourists with open arms.
Without a doubt, the Arnaboldi Palace hotel (https://arnaboldipalace.com) (https://antychecase.com/) must be one of the most exquisite places I have ever stayed or seen. A new hotel in a stunning old building that has recently been renovated, the spaces are large, the lounge where you have breakfast in the morning is large enough for a party for that special occasion, and the rooms decorated with care and stunning alacrity.
The folks at Antyche Place (https://antychecase.com/) have a dependence not too far from the Arnaboldi Palace that is the perfect place for families as, at least the room that I stayed in, the rooms have small kitchenette areas where food and things can be prepared and lovely views over the Duomo Square.
If I only had one night in Pavia, I would head straight to Ristorante Lino (http://www.ristorantelino.com/). Stunning in its art deco design and attention to detail, the food is outstanding and the wine list exhaustive. But most impressive was the attentive staff who were never intrusive but always helpful and ensured that everything was perfect.
And if I had a second night – because you really should have a second night in this amazing town – head straight to Locanda del Carmine (http://www.locandadelcarmine.com/). Located in the piazza in front of the chiesa del Carmine, this little restaurant is fantastic! The staff were outstanding and the owner, who was my own personal savior, divine! Why the shout out to the owner? Because like much of the winter cuisine in norther Italy, the food is heavy and there is a reliance on risotto and gnocchi, both of which I find heavy and neither particularly appealing. And as luck would have it, gnocchi were the only vegetarian option on the menu but thanks to the owner, I was served an amazing pasta with fresh vedge and beans, almost like a play on minestrone (and I devoured it!).
No visit to Pavia would be complete without visiting the stunning churches that, although appearing rather rough from the outside, are absolutely stunning on the interior. The Duomo is a must-stop, as are S. Michele Maggiore and Santa Maria del Carmine.
Also of note at the Duomo is the museum under the church that includes amazing artifacts from the church, as well as stunning mosaics from the church floor and other local churches that have been decommissioned.
A recent addition to the tourist scene is the Kosmos Museum (https://museokosmos.eu/), a stunning re-envisioned natural history museum that takes walks you through history as animals have migrated or been transported by humans, with the ultimate conclusion of what global warming and pollution have done to our environment and world. The folks with the vision behind this museum are to be commended for their approach and unique outlook on making a museum actually fun and interesting.
And last, but arguably most importantly, there is the Certosa di Pavia. The Certosa is a functioning monastery located just outside of Pavia and it is worth the effort to get there. Not be forewarned: even if you take the local train from Pavia to the next step for the Certosa, you are still a few miles away from the actual monastery so plan carefully, and be sure to allow yourself time to enjoy the architecture and the relics inside this glorious place. It’s been years since I first visited the Certosa and I still dream about returning, that’s how wonderful this place is.