PAVIA - A VISIT TO ITS MONUMENTS
THE OLD TOWNHALL AND THE CIVIC TOWER (BROLETTO E TORRE CIVICA)
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.
THE VISCONTI CASTLE (CASTELLO VISCONTEO) AND ITS MUSEUMS
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.
THE CARTHUSIAN MONASTERY - CERTOSA DELLE GRAZIE
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, GHISLIERI AND CASTIGLIONI UNIVERSITY COLLEGES
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).
THE CATHEDRAL (DUOMO)
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.
PUSTERLA NUNNERY (THEODOTA’S NUNNERY)
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.
ANCIENT WALLS, BASTIONS AND GATES
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.
MEZZABARBA RESIDENCE (PALAZZO MEZZABARBA)
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.
PIAZZA GRANDE AND SAINT MARY’S CHURCH (WALTERII)
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 COVERED BRIDGE (PONTE COPERTO, PONTEVECCHIO, PONTE TICINO)
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.
ST. FELIX’S NUNNERY (MONASTERO DI SAN FELICE)
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.
ST. FRANCIS’ CHURCH (SAN FRANCESCO GRANDE)
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.
ST. JOHN’S “OF THE WOMEN” CHURCH (SAN GIOVANNI DOMNARUM)
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.
ST. LANFRANC’S CHURCH
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’ CHURCH
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.
ST. MAIEUL’S CLOISTER (CHIOSTRO DI SAN MAIOLO)
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.
OUR SAVIOUR’S - ST. MAURO’S CHURCH (SAN SALVATORE)
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.
ST. MICHAEL’S BASILICA (SAN MICHELE MAGGIORE)
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.
ST. PETER’S BASILICA “IN GOLDEN CEILING” (SAN PIETRO IN CIEL D’ORO)
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.
ST. THEODORE’S CHURCH
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.
ST. EUSEBIUS’ CRYPT (CRIPTA DI SANT’EUSEBIO)
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.
OUR LADY’S OF THE CARMELITES CHURCH (SANTA MARIA DEL CARMINE)
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).
ST. MARY’S CHURCH “IN BETHLEHEM”
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 CROWNED VIRGIN’S CHURCH (SANTA MARIA DI CANEPANOVA)
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).
OUR GRACEFUL LADY’S - ST. THERESA’S CHURCH
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”.
ST.S GERVASIO AND PROTASIO’S CHURCH
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.
ST.S PRIMO AND FELICIANO’S CHURCH in monte joci
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.