Dominated by an elaborate 14th-century monastery, Certosa di Pavia is a small town in the Lombardy region of northern Italy. It’s linked to both Milan and Pavia by the centuries-old Naviglio Pavese and is clustered with trattorias serving traditional Italian fare.
Things to do in Certosa di Pavia
Join a guided tour led by one of the resident Carthusian monks to explore the Certosa di Pavia, which is one of the largest monasteries in Italy. Built adjacent to a hunting ground once owned by the Visconti family of Milan, this grand complex features imposing walls and a frescoed Renaissance gate leading to its Basilica Santa Maria delle Grazie. Marvel at the intricately carved facade and the frescoes by Ambrogio Bergognone before wandering through the monastery’s peaceful cloisters.
Occupying a former guesthouse for the Visconti and Sforza families is the Museo della Certosa di Pavia, which houses more than 200 plaster casts and marble reliefs by Agostino Busti. Browse the 16th-century religious panel paintings and the treasured ecclesiastical vestments housed within display cases designed by Beltrami.
Stretching between Milan and Pavia is the Naviglio Pavese, a historic canal that was originally begun in 1564 and will eventually link Venice with Switzerland. It hugs Certosa di Pavia’s main street and is watched over by the Torre del Mangano and the Chiesa Parrocchiale di San Michele Arcangelo. You can stroll across the small bridge that spans the canal or dine at one of the traditional trattorias along its shores.
Getting around Certosa di Pavia
Certosa di Pavia is around 15 minutes’ drive from Pavia and the Pavia railway station, which has train connections to Milan and Genoa. Milan Malpensa Airport is one hour away. Buses connect from Pavia to Certosa di Pavia and the town is compact enough to explore on foot.