San Michele

Vicolo San Michele
27100 Pavia PV
A journey of faith and culture
From Porta Nuova to Sant'Andrea dei Reali
Associzione Il Bel San Michele, 0382/26063
Entrance fee: 
House of God
Visiting hours: 
Monday: 9,00 - 12,00 14,30 - 19,00 From Tuesday to Saturday: 9,00 - 19,00 Public holidays: 11,30 - 17,00

The Longobards were particularly tied to the cult of Saint Michael. Such devotion thus explains the entitling of the basilica. The church carried out its functions as a Palatine Chapel as long as 939. The current basilica still reflects, in its relationship with the urban environment, the cerimonial crowning, seen from the transect’s square, which stretches out towards the residences of the Italian Kings. The basilica, renovated in Romanesque form, is also the setting of Federico Barbarossa’s coronation (1155). The church is constructed in local sandstone (extracted from the quarries of the Oltrepo) on which allegorical and symbolic figures have been carved. In particular, along the false front façade, one can note a sequence of carved sections with imaginary animals and dragon battles, birds, hunting scenes and fish, and other segments with volutes and palmettes. Here, at Saint Michael’s, the sculpture becomes an essential part of the architecture. Both carvings and structure (with the transect’s nave separately laid out), bestow the church exceptional excellence of European Romanesque. The archangel Michael dominates the central gate. The three-naved interior preserves a headstone in the centre of the main nave which recalls the coronation ritual;  the presence of the matroneum is striking. The collection of carvings in the capitals are vast, with hunting scenes, volutes and palmettes as well as narrative themes. Also worthy of note is The Death of the Righteous (representing the Angel inflicting his spear in the Devil’s mouth), situated in the northern capital, near the transect. The transect represents a grandeur which converses with the dome lantern. The vaults in the central nave are from the fifteenth century and have replaced the Romanesque ones. The raised chancel still preserves fragments of a mosaic pavement from the twelfth century; themes from Romanesque iconography as the Year of crowning, the Months and the Labyrinth, are depicted.   The crypt opens below the chancel; it is an oratorical space with rich decorative furnishings. Also worth mentioning is the extraordinary work of Medieval jewellery: the Crucifix by Teodote (from its monastery of origin) in embossed silver foil. 



Saint Michael




History and kitchen are at the origin of a sweet universally known: the Easter Dove, but not everyone knows that its tradition was born in Pavia.  

In 572, when Alboino entered in Pavia, after three years of grueling siege, during which he promized to raze the city after having conquered, his legendary horse fell down to the ground where time ago there was the Porta San Giovanni, today Alboino street.  

A baker, to appease the wrath of the angry King, approached him and offered him a gentle steaming, fragrant, freshly baked saying, "King, tomorrow is Easter and I present to you this sweet with the shape of a dove, it is the symbol of peace. I pray you to save and respect the city".  The horse, as by miracle, got up and the King went on his way.  

The next day was to collect as Alboino imposed on the city: money, jewelery and 12 girl.  

The first of these said her name: "My name is Dove, I am the daughter of the old baker and - showing the other eleven girls - these are doves at the service of the King".  

Alboino, softened by the words and remembered the gift received, decided to free up the beautiful girls. So Longobardic sweet, became Lombard and the tradition of the dove took flight for the world.










The events in pavia

Arte Pubblica - Eventi a Pavia - pavialcentro
Friday 12 May to Tuesday 12 November

Ciclo di conferenze a cura del Direttore artistico Ar.Vi.Ma Silvia Ferrari Lilienau.Nel corso di cinque conferenze si affrontano le declinazioni dell'arte pubblica dagli anni Trent

De Chirico, De Pisis, Carrà. La vita nascosta delle cose - Eventi a Pavia - pavialcentro
Thursday 18 April to Sunday 28 July
Castello Visconteo

Un punto di vista nuovo sulla storia dell'arte.

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