Of the 100 or so medieval city towers that earned Pavia the nickname “City of 100 Towers,” not many are left standing. The best place to get an idea of what it used to look like is the Piazza di Leonardo da Vinci, where you can three of them together.
Piazza Leonardo da Vinci Pavia
Bus: 1, 2, 3c, 6, 10.
History and description
The three city towers in the Piazza Leonardo Da Vinci are the best preserved examples of the many towers that gave Pavia the aforementioned nickname in the 14th century. In total, only 32 towers remain within the ancient Roman city walls, though only six of them are completely intact. Although primarily intended as defensive structures, the towers also had a second function. The families who built them used them show off their wealth and power. The second floor of the towers was usually connected to the adjacent residence of the families themselves.
What to see
The Torre dell’Orologio was built between the 11th and 12th centuries, although the bell after which it is named was only added between 1775 and 1792. One of the three entrances has since been bricked up. Since there is very little space inside, it is assumed that it was intended more as a watchtower than a defense tower.
During excavations, ruins were found of the crypt of the 11th century Sant’Eusebio Church. This is characterized by a cross vault and Byzantine wall paintings.
Piazza del Lino
In nearby Piazza del Lino (n. 2), where the monument to the Cairoli family is also located, stands the Palazzo San Tommaso. This is the seat of the library of the Faculty of Letters, the Biblioteca Petrarca.