Pavia is a town and comune of south-western Lombardy, northern Italy. It is situated 35 kilometres (22 miles) south of Milan on the lower Ticino river near its confluence with the Po. It is the capital of the province of Pavia and has a population of around 71,000. The city was also the capital of the Kingdom of the Lombards from 568 to 774.
Pavia's most famous landmark is the Certosa, or Carthusian monastery, founded in 1396 and located eight kilometres (5.0 miles) north of the city. The Cathedral of Pavia was completed in 1898 and has an octagonal plan, stands 97 m high, and weighs some 20,000 tons. This dome is the third for size in Italy, after St. Peter's Basilica and Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence. Next to the Duomo were the Civic Tower (existing at least from 1330 and enlarged in 1583 by Pellegrino Tibaldi): its fall 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.
San Michele Maggiore (St. Michael) is an outstanding example of Lombard-Romanesque church architecture in Lombardy. It is located on the site of a pre-existing Lombard church, which the lower part of the campanile belongs to. Destroyed in 1004, the church was rebuilt from around the end of the 11th century (including the crypt, the transept and the choir), and finished in 1155. It is characterized by an extensive use of sandstone and by a very long transept, provided with a façade and an apse of its own. In the church the Emperor Frederick Barbarossa was crowned in 1155.
The large fortified Castello Visconteo (built 1360-1365 by Galeazzo II Visconti). In spite of its being fortified, it actually was used as a private residence rather than a stronghold. The poet Francesco Petrarca spent some time there, when Gian Galeazzo Visconti called him to take charge of the magnificent library which owned about a thousand books and manuscripts, subsequently lost. The Castle is now home to the City Museums (Musei Civici) and the park is a popular attraction for children. An unconfirmed legend wants the Castle to be connected by a secret underground tunnel to the Certosa.
Pavia railway station, opened in 1862, forms part of the Milan–Genoa railway, and is also a terminus of four secondary railways, linking Pavia with Alessandria, Mantua, Vercelli and Stradella. Pavia is also connected to Milan through the S13 line of the Milan suburban railway service with trains every 30 minutes.