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Church San Michele in Pavia
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The Old Bridge (Ponte Vecchio) on the Ticino river is a symbol of Pavia

Pavia (the ancient Ticinum) (population 71,000) is a town and comune of south-western Lombardy, northern Italy, 35 km south of Milan on the lower Ticino river near its confluence with the Po.

Pavia is the capital of a fertile province (also named Pavia) essentially devoted to agriculture (wine, rice, cereals, dairy products). Some industries located in the suburbs do not disturb the peaceful atmosphere which comes from the preservation of the city's past and the climate of study and meditation associated with its ancient University.


For the main article on the Roman city, see Ticinum.

Dating back to pre-Roman times, the town of Pavia (then known as Ticinum Papiæ) was a municipality and an important military site under the Roman Empire.

Here, in 476, Odoacer defeated Orestes after a long siege. To punish the city for helping the rival, Odoacer destroyed it completely. However, Orestes was able to escape to Piacenza, where Odoacer followed and killed him, deposing his son Romulus Augustus. This was commonly considered the end of the Western Roman Empire.

Under the Goths, Pavia became a fortified citadel and their last bulwark in the war against Belisarius in war to reconquer Italy for the Eastern Roman Empire. After the Lombard conquest, Pavia became the capital of their kingdom; but after Charlemagne won the battle of Pavia (773), the city became the capital of his Regnum Italicum, a vassal kingdom of the Holy Roman Empire, until the 12th century.

In the 12th century Pavia acquired the status of a self-governing commune. In the political division between Guelphs and Ghibellines that characterizes the Italian Middle Ages, Pavia was traditionally Ghibelline, a position that was as much supported by the rivalry with Milan as it was a mark of the defiance of the Emperor that led the Lombard League against the emperor Frederick Barbarossa, who was attempting to reassert long-dormant Imperial influence over Italy.

In the following centuries Pavia was an important and active town. It held out against the domination of Mila, finally yielding to the Visconti family, rulers of Milan in 1359; under the Visconti Pavia became an intellectual and artistic centre, being the seat from 1361 of the University founded around the nucleus of the old school of law, which attracted students from many countries.

The Battle of Pavia (1525) marks a watershed in the city's fortunes, since by that time, the former cleavage between the supporters of the Pope and those of the Holy Roman Emperor had shifted to one between a French party (allied with the Pope) and a party supporting the Emperor and King of Spain Charles V. Thus during the Bourbon-Habsburg Italian Wars, Pavia was naturally on the Imperial (and Spanish) side. The defeat and capture of king Francis I of France during the battle ushered in a period of Spanish occupation which lasted until 1713. Pavia was then ruled by the Austrians until 1796, when it was occupied by the French army under Napoleon.

In 1815, it again passed under Austrian administration until the Second War of Independence (1859) and the unification of Italy one year later.


Pavia's most famous landmark is the Certosa, or Carthusian monastery, founded in 1396. Among other notable structures are the cathedral; the Romanesque St. Michael's Church and St. Peter's Church (where Saint Augustine is buried) both 12th century; and the large fortified Castello Visconteo (14th15th centuries). Pavia's university was founded in 1361. The collapse of Pavia's Civic Tower on March 17, 1989 was the final motivating force that started the last decade's efforts to save the Leaning Tower of Pisa from a similar fate.

Natives of Pavia

es:Pava eo:Pavio fr:Pavie it:Pavia ja:パヴィア nl:Pavia pl:Pawia sl:Pavia


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