The province of Pavia lies less than one hour from Milano and just one step from a really exciting experience. This is a lively guide to an industrious land that stretches from the river Ticino to beyond the river Po, preserving magnificent areas of verdant lowlands, hills and mountains; it is not an encyclopaedia of the territory but rather a film with an outstanding plot that follows the four itineraries with their natural backdrops, from the rice paddies of the Lomellina to the rolling hills of the Oltrepò, finally heading towards the Apennines through unspoilt countryside, as yet undiscovered by mass tourism.

The local writer Gianni Brera said “we are the fathers and not the sons of our land.” Overturning the perspective, while sons demand, the fathers protect. Here the landscape is modelled by history, but the identity of the people forged over the centuries, by war, hunger, the wealth of few and the poverty of many. Here great beauty is concealed in small, authentic things.

To grasp it and understand it, it is essential not only to open the eyes, but also the heart, to really experience the destination as a journey. So what could be better than walking or cycling along a stretch of the Via Francigena, a walk through the year 1000 for the travellers of the year 2000, or the Via del Sale, discovering that the more slowly we move through a territory the deeper the empathetic relationship we form with the landscape and the people who inhabit it.

See yourselves reflected – with the sky – in the rice paddies, lose yourselves in the lanes of the historical town centres and the hamlets perched in the hills, wonder at the ancient Longobard names of roads and towns and enjoy the sunsets over the hills.

Art and Culture. History. Landscape. These are rich concepts, but to make them evocative they must have substance, they must become real. You must offer the body something worthwhile if the spirit is to want to live in it, said Churchill. Let’s take heed, let’s do just that, there is much that is worthwhile in our lands.

Emanuela Marchiafava
Councillor for Tourism of the Province of Pavia

Fernando Pessoa said that travel is the traveller. I think he was right. It is for travellers that we have envisaged a system of tourist itineraries that highlight the various aspects and facets of the province of Pavia. A welcoming environment made up of extraordinary landscapes and little-known monuments, where the enogastronomical delights blend seamlessly with the traditional methods used to produce them.

We have tried to accentuate and bring together all these aspects and we can now offer a truly all-round experience that challenges the day-trip tourism that has always characterised our province. Now we can offer a range of experiences. The idea is to invite travellers (including those with a rucksack on their backs, why not?) to spend a weekend in the province of Pavia, assuring them that they will have plenty to do, but also that the weekend will not be sufficient and that they will have to – and will want to – come back!

And then as John Steinbeck said A journey is like marriage. The certain way to be wrong is to think you control it. Bicycles, boats, cars or simply on foot: wandering through and discovering the beauties of our Oltrepò, Lomellina, Il Pavese, a sail down the river with a glass of local wine and a quantity of supplies in a backpack is now possible and available to all. Our wellness itineraries are there to remind you that stopping along the way is not a waste of time, but the start of a journey of discovery and well-being.

Daniele Bosone
President of the Province of Pavia