The Castello Visconti is situated on the north side of the historic center of Pavia. It was built in 1360. The park belonging to the castle once extended to the Certosa di Pavia, 8 kilometers away. Today it serves as the seat of both the City Museum, the Museo del Risorgimento and the Pinacoteca Malaspina. The highlight is the richly decorated ceiling of the Sala Azzurra.
Castello Visconti Pavia
Address: Viale XI Febbraio, 35, 27100 Pavia. Telephone: +39 0382 399770. Entrance fee: 8 Euro. Opening hours: 10.00 to 17.50 (January, July, August, December from 09.00 to 13.30). Closed: Monday. The museum ticket office closes 45 minutes before closing time. Admission to the courtyard is free.
History and description
The Castello Visconti is a brick castle commissioned by Galeazzo II Visconti between 1360 and 1365. Visconti, who had only just become the city’s ruler, commissioned Bernardo da Venezia to construct the castle.
At the time, the castle was even more impressive than it is today. The poet Petrarch, who was a frequent guest there, described it in a letter to Boccaccio as the “noblest of modern buildings” of his time.
In 1527, the northern side of the castle was destroyed during a siege by the French, who had been defeated two years earlier. From then on, it was used only for military purposes, but fell further and further into disrepair.
Only in the 1930s was the castle thoroughly restored.
What to see
Of the four massive towers, only two remain standing. Since it originally served not only as a fortress but also as a mansion, parts of the structure are characterized by more elegant elements than one would normally expect.
The beautiful biforas and the Gothic upper part of the façade are examples of this, as are the double portico and loggia framing the courtyard.