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Liutprand - Associazione Culturale

Liutprand - Associazione Culturale


di Alberto Arecchi


the two-tail Mermaid

Both Broletto and the Civic Tower were for more than a thou­sand years the symbol of the autonomy and authority of the Free Commune. The former as the seat of the powers, of the election meetings and sometimes of the Notaries and Merchants’ Corporations; the latter, symbol built toward the sky to call and gather the people with the sound of its bells and to re­as­sert the Commu­ne’s power just beside the Cathedral. It is a composition that can­not be conceived separatly even if between the two monuments there is a distance of several metres. The Broletto is the oldest building in Lombardy belonging to the Commune Age. Its name comes from “Brolio” that is the area in which the people of a Free Commune used to gather. For almost a thousand years it has been the heart of Pavia. The west side of its yard is occupied by the Cathedral’s apse. Here there once was the Bishop’s Residence which in 1175 hosted Frederick I Barbarossa. In 1198 the Commune consuls turned it into a Town Hall by opening some beautiful three-light-windows on the first floor (Palatium Novum). In the period 1236-42 the building was restored and be­came seat of the Po­destà, of the Wise Men (or Consuls), of the One Hundred and then One Thousand Council. Other transfor­mations took place in the fol­lowing centu­ries. In 1412 were fini­shed in their present aspect the façades looking onto the yard. In 1539 was added to the southern side the Notaries Council’s Loggia and in 1563 was fitted into the main façade the present three-floor portico (with the 1564 staircase). In the façade’s porti­co where nowadays there is a clock, there used to be an altar with a statue of the Holy Virgin made by a master artist from Gandia (17th cent.). The statue has been re­cently restored and put on the façade. The Bro­letto ceased to be Town Hall in 1875. The northern part of the building looking onto Piazza Grande (Piazza della Vit­toria) was heavily restored in 1928 when a mullion window belonging to the older building came to light. Nowadays there is a chance that it could be completely restored in order to be used for a new pur­pose. According to the most recent research the construction of the most im­portant core of the Civic Tower is dated to the 11th cent. (1060). It was stout with the outer walls marked by pilasters de­cora­ted with ceramics of Oriental origin and encrusted with mar­bles and parts of sculptures of seve­ral origins (most of them were Roman ones). The picture of the Tower drawn by Opicinus de Canistris (14th cent.) is very famous: it is possible to see in detail also the wooden frame holding up the bells. During the years 1583 - 1585, the architect Pellegrino Pellegrini, named Ti­baldi, built the massive bellfry. The Tower hosted the Cathedral’s bells too till a fight pu­shed the Cathedral to build another steeple just for itself. At its base, some arcaeological excavations made in the Seven­ties, brought to light a foundry to cast bells and other workshops used to build the Twin Cathedrals in the 11th cent. After many years of poor maintenan­ce, the Tower fell down on 17 March 1989. Inside the Visconti Castle are still preserved many stone pie­ces of the old construction (the 16th cent. bell­fry and some ol­der pieces that were enclosed in the walls) and one of the two bronze suns that were in the middle of the big clock. The brick walls have been scattered, used - as it was said - to make road­beds.

It is an imposing brick building with a square plan made by will of Gale­azzo II Visconti between 1360 and 1365, presumably fol­lowing architect Ber­nardo da Venezia’s layout. In the east wing Pa­squino Capelli was walled up alive. He was Duke Gian Galeazzo Vi­sconti’s first secretary and he was ac­cused of treason in 1398 after the defeat of the Visconti army in Man­tua. Pasquino Capelli was sewn alive into an ox’s skin still warm and then wal­led up for twenty days till the skin dried up and crushed him to death. After some time Capelli was proved to be innocent. The northern side of the castle with its two towers was de­stroyed by the artillery of Francis I in 1527. The three still exi­sting wings show several kinds of windows in the first floor loggia looking onto the inner yard and they refer back to the re­storations made during the first century of life of the building. In the castle there was also a large library with miniated co­dexes and some Petrarch’s manu­scripts and an astronomic clock showing the motion of all known planets. It was then turned into barracks with remarkable changes. Above all, at the end of the 18th cent. a general of Napoleon’s army decided to reinfor­ce it against the artillery shots by adding a large amount of soil and scraps on each vault. This caused a lot of troubles and in particular made the co­lumns of the inner portico sink. The restoration works began in 1911 and ended in 1935. At pre­sent, the castle hosts the Civic Museums and - temporarily - some col­lections belon­ging to the University which, however, are not shown to the public. The Ro­manesque reliefs collection is particu­larly remarkable as it co­mes from the no more existing churches. Then, there is the Renaissance woo­den model of the Cathedral as it was originally designed.

It is one of the most magnificent monuments of the Lombard Renais­sance. The construction of the present building begun in 1396 by Gian Galeazzo Visconti in order to give his family a mo­numental mausoleum. Bernardo da Venezia, Giacomo da Cam­pione and Cristoforo Beltrami worked out the plan and directed the works. Between the Carthusian Mo­nastery and the Castle in Pavia there was a large hunting park sorrouded by walls. The monastery was then rebuilt in the middle of the 15th cent. with the present cloisters and the main body of the church was ended in 1473. The building of the façade went on also for the fol­lowing centuries and the monastery was enriched with several remarkable works of many artists till the end of the 18th cent. As this small guide leaves a too small space for this subject, it would be advisable to look for a specific book in order to be bet­ter guided in the visit of the monument. The first altar of the monastery, made of chiselled marble, is in Carpiano’s small church, that once belonged to the Carthusian monks as well as many other nearby farmhouses.

Borromeo College was built by will of St. Charles Borromeo, planned by archi­tect Pelle­grino Pellegrini, named Tibaldi, and constructed in the years 1564 - 1586. Its mass can be well distinguished by those who watch Pavia from the other bank of the river Ticino. Opposite the college there is a 15th cent. re­sidence belonging to the well- known jurist Ca­tone Sacco. In the northern side of the square there is still a tower that was one of the best-loved pla­ces of the poetess Ada Negri. Ghislieri College, wanted by Pope Pius V Ghislieri, was planned by archi­tect Pel­legrino Pellegrini, named Tibaldi, and began in 1569. The yard under­went remarkable modifications following the Late Baro­que style by architect G.A. Veneroni in the 18th cent. The Neo­classic Style Administration Buil­ding was built by will of Napoleon to host a Mili­tary School. In the square it is possible to see: Pius V statue cast in bronze in 1697 by Francesco Nuvo­loni and Filip­po Ferrari; the façade of the desacrated St. Francis’ of Paula church, by architect G.A. Veneroni (1735-38) and the side of the 15th cent. women’s college Castiglioni which still preserves a chapel with se­veral fre­scoes ascri­bed to Vincenzo Foppa, Boni­facio Bembo and other important artists of the Lombard Renaissance (1475).

It is one of the most important projects of the Lombard Renais­sance. Begun in 1488 to replace two Romanesque Twin Cathe­drals, it was built following the drawings made by C. Rocchi, G.A. Ama­deo, G.G. Dolcebuo­no with some advice from Bra­mante, Leonardo da Vinci and Francesco di Gior­gio Martini. The works lasted for a long time: the dome (m 92,50 - third in height in Italy after St. Pe­ter’s in Rome and Santa Maria del Fiore in Floren­ce) was erected in 1885 by engineer Carlo Maciacchini and only in 1895 a new façade replaced the ones of the two Roma­nesque Twin Cathedrals. Opposite the Cathedral there is the Bi­shop’s Residence (16th cent.). The Regisole Statue, made by Francesco Messina (1935) recalls an old statue, maybe of a Ro­man emperor, that was demolished during the French Revo­lution. The nearby Civic Tower dating back at the 11th cent., was the sym­bol of the Free Commune age and it fell suddendly down on 17 March 1989. The two transept’s wings were built in concrete during the years 1930 - 35. The inner part of the Cathedral is a complex or­ganism shaped as a Greek cross with a large central body sur­mounted by a magnificent dome held up by tall pillars with seve­ral series of capi­tals and frames. The origi­nal proportions were partially changed due to the several building phases which took place in different times. The crypt shows Bramante’s art in its mighty vaults with redu­ced arches. In the apse’s vault there is the big “Nivola”, a Baro­que wooden case co­vered by gold and silver in which some thorns of Christ’s crown are still preserved (as a re­membrance of the cults coming from Palestine during the Pilgrimage Age). The “Nivola” was built as a real scenic machine toward which the priest was lifted to take the relique.

Theodota, a girl belonging to a Romanesque family, was raped and then sent to a nunnery by the Longobard king Cunicpert in 638. By the small gate in the western walls called “pusterla” there was a small nun­nery then na­med after her. It was suppres­sed in 1798 and in 1867 turned into the pre­sent Episcopal Semi­nary. From this nunnery come some Longo­bard transen­nas pre­served in the Civic Museums and known as Theodota’s sar­cophagus. Also the 12th cent. silver-laminated crucifix presently in St. Michael’s church comes from the Pusterla’s well. Soun­dings and excava­tions at the end of the Sixties, brought to light some traces of a Longo­bardic tower and of a chapel dedicated to St. Michael. The present monu­ment still preserves a beautiful 15th cent. cloister with terra­cottas of Ama­deo’s school and fre­scoes dated 1491 by the painter Bernardino de Rossi. The beautiful chapel, following Bramante’s taste, shows a Greek cross shaped plan inscribed in a circle. Here too there are frescoes of the same age of the cloister’s ones. The “outside” church, dedicated to St. Andrew, was built in the Baro­que Age and it was ornated by fre­scoes and stuccoes.

During the centuries, Pavia’s walls underwent many changes. The three main phases are the Late Ro­man, the High Medieval and the Commune Age one during which they were reinforced by mighty bastions in 1547 by the Spanish Governor Francisco Gonzalez. In these walls there were eight gates: Porta Borgoratto (Cavour), the present Mi­nerva Square; Porta San Vito (Milano); Porta Santa Maria in Pertica (Stoppa - Cai­roli); Porta Santa Giustina (Cremona - Garibaldi); Porta Nuova; Porta Salara; Porta Ticino; Porta Calcinara. The walls and the bastions were de­molished between the end of the last century and the beginning of the present one. Some parts of them can still be seen; above all: westward from the new Minerva pre­cinct; in the North-West Santo Stefano bastion called “La Rotonda” with the nearby Porta Milano behind the Vi­sconti Castle; some bastions of the eastern side (Santa Maria in Per­tica, Sant’Epifanio, Santa Giustina). Along Viale Lungoti­cino it is still possible to see the ruins of Porta Nuova (12th cent.) eastward and westward Porta Calcinara’s ones (15th cent.).

Naviglio Canal’s plan, dreamt since the 15th cent., was ac­compli­shed only at the end of the 18th cent. In 1722, during the Austrian Empire of Maria Theresa, Paolo Frisi studied the projects to com­plete the canal so that it were completely naviga­ble. In 1805 the Napoleonic Government be­gan the building of an important hy­draulic structure planned by engineers Gius­sani e Giudici and pro­fessor Brunacci, that contemplated twelve locks. This technique was elaborated by Leonardo da Vinci to regulate the diffe­rence in level between Milan and Pavia and to hold back the water force. The Inau­guration took place in 1819 by the Au­strian Archiduke. In the gol­den years something as 1400 boats pulled by horses went through Pavia by this canal. It took eleven hours to go upstream from the confluence in Pavia to the wet dock in Milan. Nearby the Naviglio were built Borgo Cal­venzano Yards; a structure with a long portico with commercial activities connected with the water­way traffic.

The residence of Mezzabarba Counts was planned following the Late Ba­roque style (Rococò) by architect Giovanni Antonio Vene­roni in the years 1728-1730 and it became seat of the Town Hall in 1875. From the entran­ce and the hall rich in columns, it is possible to reach the hall on the the first floor (presently the Council Hall) painted with mythologic themes by Gio­vanni An­tonio Borroni from Cremona. Some other halls still preserve painted decorations and sometimes curious pieces of furniture. Next to the building there is San Quirico and Siro’s Oratory planned by Veneroni and completed in 1734. Drawn with an oval design, it is still decorated with two frescoes made by painter Ma­gatti on the wall and by painter Bianchi on the ceiling (Sts. Qui­rico and Giuditta in Glory). The original altar is nowadays in the Castle Museums.

It opens itself in the heart of the town and it is sorrounded by 14th-16th centuries porticos. The old Town Hall or Broletto (end of 12th-16th cent.s, restored in 1928) onlooks the southern side. From its yard it is possible to see the Bramante Cathedral’s apses. Diversi’s Residence called “Red House” dates back to the end of the 14th cent. and was partly restored in 1935 with the re­con­struction of the original windows (a rich three-light-win­dow on the first floor). In the middle of its façade a faded 18th cent. fre­sco reminds of a “Lenten service” which took place in this square with great success. The Romanesque church of St. Mary’s, named after the deacon Walter or Gualtiero who founded it around year 1000, is nowa­days a place for exhibi­tions, conferences and projections owned by the Town Administra­tion. It un­derwent a twenty-year restora­tion that brought to light what had been cove­red by the building transfor­mations of the previous centuries.

The first bridge was built, as Bishop Crispinus’s Chronicle says, in the 2nd cent. A. D. Then, on the bridge’s sides opened up some shops and small workshops like those we can still see on the Old Bridge in Florence. Being damaged by the frequent floods, the bridge was rebuilt starting from 1351 following Gio­vanni da Ferre­ra and Jacopo da Cozzo’s plans. Some pillars from the Roman ti­mes were reused and the beginning and the end of the bridge were fortified with two towers with gates and draw­bridges. Only in the following years was added its peculiar roof. In the 18th cent. was built a small chapel in its middle consacrated to St. John Nepomuk that has beco­me one of the peculiar aspect of Pavia’s urban land­scape. Heavily damaged by 1944 bombs the bridge was demoli­shed in 1948 and in its place was built a new Covered Bridge slim­mer and wider with a con­crete skeleton cove­red with bricks in order to imitate the old shape.

It is an old Benedictine nunnery whose foundation is ascribed to the last Longobard Queen Ausa, Desiderius’ wife. Suppressed in 1786 and turned into an orphanage, it presently hosts several Uni­versity Departments. It still preserves its Paleochristian church with a crypt enclosing three marble ar­ches once inlaid with semi-precious stones. The nunnery was rebuilt in the last years of the 15th cent. by Audriola de Barrachis who was an abbess and a painter (one of her paintings is in the Civic Museums). The fol­lowing resto­rations saved and better showed terracottas decora­tions whose taste recalls Amadeo’s workshop, and some fre­sco­es.

The church of the Franciscan Preaching Friars was begun in 1228 and en­ded in 1298. The apse, shaped as a Greek cross, is built on five large spans covered by pointed arches cross-vaults. The long nave has a wooden truss roof. The building material is terra­cotta bricks like other churches in Pavia. The inner part of the church was completely modified from 1739 onward and covered by scagliola plaster in order to imitate marble; the nave was cove­red by three light vaults (two barrel and a cross one) and the pointed arches were rounded. In the northern side of the transept was built a chapel between 1711 and 1750 dedicated to the Imma­culate Virgin Mary following the plans of Giovanni Ruggeri and Antonio Longoni. It is richly de­corated with marble and gold plated bron­zes, with a “trompe l’oeil” in the cupola decorated with a clouded sky. Magatti’s frescoes and Bernardino Ci­ceri’s al­tar. The monastery whose façade had been already remade in the years 1707-1711 by the Roman architect Giovanni Ruggeri, was turned into the German-Hungarian College in 1782 and then mo­dified by architect Leopol­do Pollach. It was then turned into in­fan­try barracks. It presently hosts the Uni­versity College named after Cairoli Brothers.

This really old church is situated in the inner part of a block and it was built on the old Roman Thermal Baths then turned into a Baptistery for the women, during the Longobard age. Accor­ding to some authors the church was consacrated to St. John the Baptist by Queen Gundiberga, Theudelin­da’s daughter. The crypt and the steeple date back to the 11th cent. buil­ding. The former preserves a really interesting cycle of medieval frescoes (11th-13th centuries). The present façade has a terracotta rose window and other 15th cent. decorations. In a Renaissance cha­pel there is the ca­nonic Piz­zocaro’s tomb, venerated by many people as a saint. The present church was rebuilt with an only nave with side chapels in 1611.

It is situated at 2.5 km west of Pavia. It was built by some monks co­ming from Vallombrosa and firstly dedicated to the St. Sepulcre. According to a manuscript chronicle, the church and the monastery were founded in 1090. The bishop Lanfranco Beccari died in Saint Sepulchre’s Monastery in 1198 shortly after he arri­ved there. He was buried in the nearby church and this is the rea­son why its name changed. St. Lanfranc’s church, shaped as a Latin cross, has an only nave divided into four spans. The transept’s wings more or less square-shaped are much longer than the central space. It needn’t a long observation to notice that the church’s plan is highly irregu­lar. The longitudinal axis bends right­ward beyond the nave, which meets the transept obliquely and the nor­thern part of the cross-shaped plan is closed by a heavily crooked wall. All the nave’s side-walls bend outward. The steeple was rebuilt in 1237. The façade completed in the half of the 13th cent. is the only de­corated part of the building. Inside the semi-columns’ capitals, cube-shaped, are extremely simple. The façade’s proportions hi­gher than the nave’s, are better shown by the upright lines of the angular buttresses and by the nice in-between small columns. The portal and its frame are built in stone while the rest is all made of bricks except for one or two ba­sement layers. A large circular win­dow opened in the middle area at the back made the old opening disap­pear; beside it there are two small circular ope­nings belonging to the older building. Around 1460, abbot Luca Zanachi built the small cloister by the southern side of the nave. This nice structure reminds for its shape elegance and its terracot­tas’ style the famous clois­ters of the Carthusian Monastery in Pavia. The small cloister, however, was largely destroyed at the end of the 18th cent. and we can presently see only one of its si­des. Always to abbot Luca’s will are ascribed the wooden choir’s stalls. St. Lanfranc’s mausoleum, set behind the altar, was made toward the end of the 15th cent. by Cardinal Pallavicini who also rebuilt the choir in the present shape and promoted the widening of the mona­stery. The second cloister, built with elegant Re­nais­sance shapes following Bramante’s taste, still preserves tondos with painted saints.

St. Lazarus’ small church, 1.5 km east of Pavia, was built in the middle of the 12th cent. It is a simple rectangular room cove­red by a truss roof. If the inner part of the building is not really intere­sting, the outside part, the façade. its sides and the apse are arran­ged with much elegance. On the façade we can notice a three-light-window whose frame ends upward with two extre­mely flat arches placed on a wide shelf. No other church of Lom­bard style bears this nice kind of decoration. The windows’ frame extends the door’s one so that it joins all the openings with the same main drawing and divides the façade into three squares thus making it higher. The crow­ning is made of deep bowings placed on small columns and by a stout fa­scia kept up by brackets; then some maijolicas can be easily seen in the bowing gables. A simi­lar crow­ning runs around the apse and extends itself along all si­des. The Lombard architecture has never again made something more gra­ceful of this kind. Stones have not almost been employed; the marble small columns and capitals, doors’ bases and lintels are al­most the only parts of the building which are not made of bricks. These structures are highly remarkable for their shape regularity, the clearness of their profi­les and the materials’ quality and they give a good idea of the develop­ment of the 12th cent. industry in Pavia. St. Lazarus’ small church stands out for the elegance of its decorations and the beauty of its materials, su­perior to all the other Romanesque monuments in Pavia so that we can ask ourselves if the building, made in the middle of the 12th cent., was not re­built a hun­dred years later. With no doubt the church was constructed straight off with ma­terials coming from the same place, assembled by a skilled craft­sman, ordered and get under way by an architect owning the most delicate taste.

It was a Benedictine (Cluniac) monastery built in 967 by Maieul, the ge­neral abbot of the order, to whose memory it was la­ter dedicated. It still bears traces of the Romanesque period, but, above all, shows a beautiful Renaissance cloister restored in the Sixties which nowadays hosts the State Archives. The church, seat of the Somaschi Order, presently desacrated and empty, is waiting to be newly employed.

It was founded as a Longobard kings’ mausoleum, but then became one of the Benedictine monasteries spreading culture du­ring the Middle Ages. At the end of the 10th cent. it was ruled by abbot Maieul and recei­ved rich do­nations by Emperess Adelaide. In 1448 the monastery was joi­ned to the congregation of Santa Giustina from Padua and it was reorgani­zed. In the second half of the cen­tury the decoration of the inside was en­ded; following the Renais­sance taste with wooden golden frames which re­call St. Columba­nus’ Basilica in Bobbio. The altar, of golden chiselled stone, was made by Antonio de Novaria (1504). The most inte­resting fres­coes are those in the first and fourth chapels on the left (St. Maieul and Abbot St. Anthony’s sto­ries) and those of the last chapel on the left (St. Benedict’s story). Some of these stories may have been painted by Ber­nardino Lanzani from San Co­lom­bano who worked also in St. Mary’s of the Carmelites’ St. Mi­chael’s and St. Theodore’s churches and in Bobbio. The nearby monastery with its 15th cent. cloister and some other traces of its old splendor, has been recently abandoned by the Military Corps of Engi­neers and is waiting to be newly employed.

It is one of the masterpieces of the Lombard Romanesque architecture of the 12th cent. In this church were crowned the kings of Italy from the 10th to the 12th cent. (in its present reconstruc­tion only the crowning of Frederick I Barbarossa). It has a stout façade made of sandstone divided into three parts by pilasters and crow­ned by a small loggia. In the lower part there used to be some chi­selled fillets nowadays worn by weather and pollution. There once were six portals: three on the main façade, one in the northern tran­sept and two on its sides (presently walled). The base of the cupola as well as the apse are crowned by small log­gias, too. The inside, shaped as a Latin cross, has a three-nave mighty structure based on pillars and covered by cross-vaults. The wo­men’s galleries are above the aisles, the octagonal dome at the crossing of the arms, while the raised presbytery is based on the crypt. The church has an only apse. At a first glance it is possible to see that the construction bears several irregularities. Quick arches run along the transept and the apse’s walls. Some recently restored frescoes ornate the second span of the right ai­s­le. The high altar is decorated by reliefs made by masters from Campione (1383). On the opposite floor there are the re­mains of a mosaic bearing a Labirinth and a picture of the Months. In the southern transept a richly sculp­tured niche still bears fre­scoes showing the “Passing of the Virgin Mary”. This peculiarity was maybe linked with the kings’ crow­nings. In the chapel right of the presbytery there is a silver lami­nated crucifix (12th cent.) while in the apse a fresco showing the crowning of the Virgin dating the end of the 14th cent. The charming three-nave crypt is based on small columns which still bear capitals older than the present building. It is also intere­sting to have a look at the apse from the Vicarage’s yard at the back of the church. The nearby Piazzetta Azzani still bears the plan and some architectural traces of the Romanesque disposi­tion: it used to be the entrance yard of the crowning trains.

It is a Lombard Romanesque church and it was an important seat of Be­nedictine (Cluniac) Monks. Its foundation dates back to the Longobard age and is ascribed to the wise king Liutprand who brought St. Augustine’s reli­ques from Cagliari to Pavia. The buil­ding was raised to the present shape in the 12th cent. In the façade an only portal gives way to a large nave. All pillars, except for some differences in their ribbing, resemble one another but for the last one of each row. Arches and pillars divide both the nave and the aisles into five quite equal spans. The nave is not divided into large squared spans as in other Romanesque chur­ches, but shows narrow and oblong spans which relate to the squared divisions of the aisles. The tran­sept’s plan does not ex­tend itself beyond the side-walls. It stands out just for its wide­ness and its barrell-vaults. The nave’s crossing with the transept is covered with an octa­go­nal dome. The main apse opens itself directly on the transept without the span which is present in almost all Lombard churches like St. Ambrose’s in Milan and St. Michael’s in Pavia. Above the high altar the Gothic St. Augustine’s Ark stands out. It is a complex work made of marble, rich in statues and re­liefs made in 1362 by sculptors from Campione and Lombardy in­fluenced by Tuscan Art. The crypt preserves, behind the altar, a small modern sarcophagus with Severi­nus Boetius’ bones, Ro­man philisopher and King Theodoric’s advisor, killed by the same king for treason in 524. The writer Boccaccio in a short story of his “Decameron” sets in St. Peter’s the story of a nobleman named Torello da Strada who was magi­cally brought back to Pavia fron Sultan Saladin’s prisons.

It was originally dedicated to St. Agnes. When the body of St. Theodore, Bishop of Pavia from 736 to 778, was brought here, the church changed its name. As in St. Peter’s the tran­sept’s plan does not exceed the aisles and it stands out just for its different shape and its higher vaults (the octagonal dome is flanked by two barrel-vaults following the Lombard style of Pavia). The crypt takes up the whole transept and apses’ area which is quite unique in the Romanesque churches in Pavia. The nave and the two aisles are covered by cross-vaults and, as in St. Peter’s , the nave’s spans are as wide as the aisles’ ones. However here, unlike the other church, the cen­tral spans are square-shaped while the ais­les’ ones are oblong. Conse­quently, the nave has large squared spaces while the aisles are divided as the central area. The façade is not really interesting but for the portal’s sculptu­res. Its aspect changed greatly when the church was rebuilt du­ring the restoration at the beginning of this century. On the other hand, the whole aspect is really elegant above all due to the two superim­posed lanterns based on the dome. The building is made of bricks except for the capitals, the small co­lumns in the crypt and few other particulars. Also the external frames’ brackets are made of terracotta. The 12th cent. Lombard monuments show the great ability of the time to kiln and work bricks. At this regard St. Theodore’s is linked with St. Laza­rus’ small church. The decoration is really simple. In the pillars the cu­bic-shaped semicolumns’ capitals are mainly without sculptures. The two frescoes in the first left span are extremely interesting and were painted by Bernardino Lan­zani in 1522 just after the battle between the French and the Spanish army to gain control over the town. He pictured the whole town from a great height with richness of details till the nearby area around the Carthusian Monastery. On the presbytery, made by the same painter, there are some stories about St. Agnes on the right and about St. Theodore on the left; under the latters some pictures showing the Fishermen’s Offers to the Bishop’s table.

This crypt is what is left of a Romanesque church built on the same place of an Arian Cathedral. The church rebuilt in the 17th cent. became part of the hospital but was then demolished to wi­den the present Piazza Leonardo da Vinci. The structure above the crypt was made in 1968. There can still be seen several 7th cent. capitals and an interesting vault structure (11th cent.). Around the apse there a re the remains of some capucine-like bu­ring places. The nice Romanesque frescoes restored in the Sixties are now weatherworn and almost disappeared.

It was built for the Carmelitan Preachers between 1370 and 1474. It shows a rectangular plan made up of modular squares bearing the same measures of the Carthusian Monastery. Its mo­numental façade is made of rosy-red bricks of excellent quality. The inside is geometrically shaped by large brickwork arches, sli­ghtly pointed, based on cubic capitals. The buil­ding’s section is constructed “ad quadratum” and the height of both the aisles and the chapels is half of the nave’s one. The building technique ex­ploited for the vaults (which are not cross-vaults but actually dome-shaped) is the same used for the Visconti Castle. This could prove that the director of the building yard might have been Ber­nardo da Venezia. The church pre­ser­ves frescoes, paintings on board, 15th- 18th cent. sculptures and, in the sa­cristy, a wash-basin belonging to the Amadeo’s school (to which are re­la­ted also the rose windows’ brickwork on the façade).

It used to be a Crusaders’ church directly liked with the Bishop of the City of Jerusalem and it was known as “Madonna della Stella” (Virgin Mary of the Star). It was originally built outside the town walls along the road to the river Po leading the pilgrims to Rome or to the Holy Land. The church was covered with Baroque stuccoes and enriched by several chapels. The restoration made in the Fifties gave it the pre­sent outlook and brought to light some Romanesque capitals hid­den under the most recent stuccoes. Moreover it was discove­red un­der the floor the traces of an older church dating before the year 1000. Unfortunately these works destroyed almost all Baro­que stuccoes except those belonging to the “Madonna della Stella”. The present statue is still the one referred to by the legend: a fi­shermen’s boat agreed to accept on board a young mother and then suc­ce­ded in navigating upstream the river Po in just one night. The following morning the fishermen went inside the church and there they found the girl: she was perfectly alike the statue of the Virgin Mary.

The construction of this church began in 1492 following a lay-out attribu­ted to Bramante. It shows an octagonal-shaped dome inscribed in a square. The presbytery’s chapel belongs to the Ba­roque Age. The whole decoration both painted and sculptu­red da­tes to the 17th cent.: the altar’s marbles by Tomaso Orso­lino from Genoa, the fresco showing the Sibyls, the painting by Guglielmo da Caccia called Moncalvo, the delicate still life by G.B. Longone from Monza and the picture painted by Giulio Ce­sare Pro­caccini and his son Camillo. The church belonged to the Barnabite Order and its monastery is nowadays seat of an High School. Presently it belongs to the Franciscans. Behind the church there is part of the 15th cent. small cloister, previously yard of a private residence and the modern Franciscan Monastery made by architect Carlo Moran­dotti (1932).

This sanctuary was built for the image of the Virgin Mary pain­ted in 1578 along the road to Cremona. The wall with the painting was brought in the second left chapel of the new church bagun on 5th August 1609. The pain­ter-architect G.B. Tassinari from Pavia took part to drawing of the church’s plan. The buil­ding, still unfi­nished, was restored and decorated in 1824 by Bi­shop Luigi Tosi who added a steeple. The 18th cent. altar is nowadays in Villareg­gio’s small church between San Genesio and Certosa. The inner part is mighty with an only nave accor­ding to the Jesuits’ archi­tec­tural rules after the Council of Trento. It also shows some paintings by brothers G. Mauro and G. Battista della Rovere called “Fiammen­ghini”.

The tradition says it was the first church built in Pavia in the 4th cent. by San Siro near the cemetery outside the walls. Some Paleo­christian and Ro­manesque sculptured fragments are still preserved (to the 11th-12th centu­ries reconstructions belong the steeple and the crowning bowing on the highest part of the nave). In the 18th century the church was comple­tely remade and its orientation was reversed (the old apse is on the pre­sent en­trance side). In the inner part there is the stone urn in which there used to be San Siro’s bo­nes and a Romanesque bas-relief which pictu­re him.

The church still has a Romanesque façade together with some parts of its walls. It was named “in monte joci” because it was on a rise and maybe because nearby an amphitheatre. The inside was remade in the 17th cent. There is a triptych on board dating 1498 signed Agostino da Va­prio showing the Virgin Mary some Saints and the person who ordered the painting. The right aisle added in the 15th cent. bears frescoes with Gian Galeazzo Maria Sforza’s coat of arms. It is also possible to see a coloured St. Blaise’s statue (14th cent.) and in a secluded part of the church a large fre­sco of the 15th cent. picturing Jesus with the Apostles and another one, dated 1491, with the Souls of the Purgatory.

FRASCHINI THEATRE (previously Four Knights’ Theatre)
In 1771 four gentlemen founded a theatre called of the Four Knights which in 1869 became the Civic Theatre then called Fra­schini after the name of the well-known tenor from Pavia. The first show, Metastasio’s “Demetrio”, took place on 24 May 1773. The theatre’s lay-out was drawn by Antonio Galli Bibbiena who also built the theatre in Bologna and died in 1774 just a year after completing the theatre in Pavia. This theatre bears four tiers of boxes ornated by several classi­cal fascias overlapped. It was reopened in December 1994 after a restoration lasted 10 years which gave room to several disputes. During the restoration period have also disappea­red many statues and pieces of furnitu­re.

The “Studium” in Pavia was founded in the 10th cent. and it is reported in Lotario’s Diploma in 961. It was reorganized four centuries later by the Visconti family who settled it in the present place and gave it the statute of a free University. It was an important cultural centre also for foreign students and it also was one of the first centres of the Protestant Reformation in Italy then held back after the Council of Trento. It has been made famous by distinguished masters such as: J. Cardan, L. Valla, A. Volta, U. Fo­scolo, G.B. Romagnosi, Porro, Forlanini. In this University in 1777 gra­duated Pellegrina Amoretti the very first woman who accompli­shed the course “in utroque jure” (Canonic and Civil Law). The central building of Neoclassical taste was reformed by will of the Austrian Emperess Maria Theresa by architects Giuseppe Piermarini and Leopold Pollach at the end of the 18th cent. It encloses four yards placed on a Greek-shaped plan, owned by the old San Matteo Hospital dating back to 1449. To be noted: the Staircase of Honour (1823), the Library hall dedicated to Maria Theresa, the Sforza Hospital Yard with its cotto decora­tions among which “St. James’ shell” stands out as a symbol of pilgrimages and hospitals. The Aula Magna’s façade (1850) bears Neoclassic shapes and imitates the lay-out of an old temple with Corinthian capitals. Opposite the old hospital’s wall there is a copy of the Mantegazza’s Piety bas-relief whose original (15th cent.) is nowadays preserved in the Civic Mu­seums.

Pubblicato 19/03/2008 10:00:06