Pavia is a Northwestern Italian city south of Milan in the present day Lombardy region. It was originally built in the Roman period and later became the Lombard capital and the general capital of the Italian Kingdoms afterwards. Largely because it once held the position of Italian capital, its a city with a number of important historical developments that this Wiki will track: Political/Economic, Religious, Art and Culture, and Urban development.

Political and economic development in Pavia mirrored the varying factions that controlled the city, which is how the wiki was split. The five categories are Roman, Ostrogothic, Lombard, Carolingian, and Post-Carolingian/Ottonian. Generally, Pavia grew as an economic and political city during the Roman and Ostrogothic period, which led to its economic and political peak during the Lombard period. The individual political environment tended to combine elements of the previous rulers with the current, and the economic development was largely based around Pavia’s relative importance to the state.

Religious life in Pavia began miraculously in that martyrdom was not necessary to convert people. Instead, they embraced Christianity from the beginning. Arianism under Lombard rulers was prevalent in the 400s and 500s, but eventually, the city embraced Catholicism. The piety of Lombard Kings, the influence of bishops, and the miraculous acts of saints define the strength and prevalence of religious life in Pavia from 350-1050.

Art and culture in Pavia retained strong Roman roots in the early days of Gothic and Lombardic control, but there is evidence in jewelry and other metalwork of increasing Germanic influence. The authors during the rise of rulers such as Theoderic display a range of important voices in the transition of cultural power. The Lombard rulers built many monasteries and churches to decorate their new capital and attempted to encourage a religious culture in the city throughout their reign. Churches during this time period were a fascinating cross section of culture and art because of how ornate the interior of churches were and how important churches were to the cultural life of Pavians.

The urban landscape of Medieval Pavia reflected both its Roman beginnings and its subsequent rulers: the Ostrogoths, Lombards, and Carolingians. Three factors that remained a consistent aspect of the Pavia’s urban environment throughout these shifts were its rivers, its churches, and its walls. The rivers helped establish it as a commerce hub and critical link between Ravenna and the Alps, and the high density of churches helped to develop it as a regional religious headquarters. The walls helped Pavia become a military stronghold and later capital of the Lombard Kingdom.

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  1. wightmanb
  2. caseyf

    For anyone looking for an overview or jumping point, Professor Victoria Morse has an in-depth article on ancient Pavia in the Medieval Encyclopedia of Italy (DG443 .M43 2004 – on a shelf right behind the tech helpdesk) It touches on every sub-category.

  3. barnetto

    Hello guys,

    I was wondering if we wanted to get together and write the introduction on Pavia, Leah and I can meet at 11, alternatively we could have each group write a couple sentences and combine them.



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