Italy (SISM) - Pavia
Preclinicals None Clinicals All available, in English except for Psychiatry (preferred Italian) Surgicals All available except Neurosurgery Pediatrics All available except Neurology, Neuropsycology, Neurosurgery
3 scope june, 7 scope july, 1 score june, 3 score july
at student hostel
at the student hostel
Documents required

To join an exchange in Pavia you MUST have:

health insurance certificate
copy of ID card or passport
proof of enrollement
CV with photo
civil liability insurance (for students attending a ward i
Beatrice Re

Pavia is a beautiful little town in the north of Italy, very close to Milan. It counts approximately 70.000 permanent residents, but many more if you take into account all the students that live here! In fact, you can see a big change in the population you meet on the streets: old people in the morning, families in the afternoon, students all night long!! :) It lays at the confluence of two great rivers: Fiume Po (that runs through the biggest flatland of Italy: Pianura Padana) and Fiume Ticino (that flows just through the centre of the city and on which many rowing races take places. Pavia is very big on rowing, and we must say, our rowing team is much better looking than any other in Italy!!). To cross the river it is nice to walk on the so-called covered bridge (a reconstruction of the 1360’s one) that takes you to Borgo Ticino, the residential area just outside the perimeter of the Medieval town walls.

Pavia is a Medieval town, walking through its narrow streets you will see lots of ancient buildings. It is famous for its numerous towers (it was called “the hundred towers city”) and its beautiful churches. The most famous is the one where the grave of Saint Augustin is kept. While walking around town, though, you will want to look for all the hidden gardens of the private houses: it is striking to see the differences between the chaotic outside and the peaceful inside! There is also a castle, built in the XIV Century and now a museum, surrounded by a very quiet park where families take their children in the afternoon and students go "study" in good company! The theatre Fraschini is quite small but beautiful and offers the possibility of a nice evening of enjoyment. In front of it there is the famous Caffè Teatro, which hosts every Tuesday the LGBT night..! Pavia is quite an open-minded town from this point of view, especially because only old people and students live here.

  • Brief History of the city

Pavia was established during the Roman Age. It was named after Ticinum Papia and in the VII century it became the capital of the Italicum Reign. The XII Century was the best developing period for the town, when the city walls and the most part of the churches were built. By the way, Pavia became an important center of studies since the IX Century, but the first "official" university was built by Galeazzo II Visconti in 1359, who founded the first 5 faculties (civil right, canonical right, philosophy, medicine and “artium liberalium”, i.e. liberal arts). During this period the Visconti and Sforza families (nobles from Milan) renewed town by building the castle, enlarging the square and the roman cardo, turning this into a larger street, nowadays knomwn as Strada Nuova, connecting the castle to the covered bridge. From the 1430 to the 1485, 5 university colleges were built as well as the University building itself. During the XVII and XVIII Century the city followed the same destiny as the whole region, going under Spanish and later Austrian domains. In the 1861, with the Italian unification, the city finally became a province of northern Italy.


The hospitals

San Matteo hospital

Pavia is a city with a big and well-functioning health system, which "imports" patients form all over Italy.

A famous institution of Pavia is the University Hospital: IRCCS Policlinico San Matteo (Policlinic Saint Mattew [6]). Its Cardio-surgery department is famous all over Italy as well as its Haematology and Cardiology ones. Butdon't worry, all departments are good in their own way! And since they are willing to host you as an intern for a month, they will make sure to help you out and teach you all you need to know!

The University of Pavia hosts what is considered one of the best medical schools in Italy, and it has been hosting an English course as well for the last 3 years, so you won't be the first foreign Med students they see!

Other clinics that can host you as interns are

  • IRCCS Fondazione Salvatore Maugeri - general and rehabilitation hospital
  • IRCCS Fondazione Casimiro Mondino - neurological and neurorehabilitation hospital
  • Clinica "Città di Pavia" - general hospital
  • "Santa Margherita" - geriatric clinic

All clinics are available for the exchage programs.

Working conditions

The working conditions here in Pavia are very simple: Mondays to Fridays, every morning from 8:00 to 13:00 (in some departments a bit later or earlier). Afternoons and weekends are free and usually best spent for Social Program. :)

  • Laboratory (for Research Exchange)

Physiology, Biochemistry, Microbiology (to see our project visit the IFMSA SCORE database



All our incoming students will be given a badge which they can use to have lunch and dinner for free at the canteens of the University.

University Canteens - map [5]

  • Mensa Cravino via Bassi – Tel. 0382422130.
  • Mensa Collegio Castiglioni via San Martino 18 – Tel. 0382303074.
  • Mensa Collegio Fraccaro P.zza L. Da Vinci – Tel. 0382304038.
  • Mensa Centrale Corso Carlo Alberto – Tel. 038233526.
  • Mensa Unigest via Ferrata - Tel. 0382529682.
  • Mensa Dopolavoro Ferroviario via Trieste, 10 – Tel. 0382304060.

We suggest you to try some typical restaurants! Italy is not only Pizza, and Pavia is not only rice, although you'll try the B-E-S-T risottos of your life while here! Typical of this area are also: meat-stuffed ravioli, duck and anything that is made with mushrooms, tartufo or chestnuts (you will always find a guy who sells roasted chestnuts all year round on Corso Cavour, just before you get to Piazza Vittoria!). Known all over Italy is the Torta Paradiso, a very simple kind of cake. If you've had enough of Italian food by the end of your exchange, Pavia also offers many ethnic restaurants: Spanish, Greek, Libanese, Japanese, Chinese, Tex-Mex and many more!

The incoming students will be placed in one of the numerous student’s houses (in italian "collegi"). These are nice places where foreign students can find Italian and other foreign students studying in different fields. Some of these "collegi" are in historical buildings, with a lot of wonderful paintings and frescoes! Others are more modern but always with an elevated housing standard. They will provide you with bed sheets but you'll have to bring your own towels. Pavia is in fact very lucky from this point of view: having so many colleges all around town, they offer to host you guys for free, allowing SISM to "invest" on your social program instead! So if you enjoy your nights out, thank Edisu (the state system of colleges) and your college itself!

Local transportation

  • Bike

The best way to move into the city is certainly the bike. Incomings students can rent a bike in a conventioned shop with only 25€, charges and insurance included, for the whole month.

  • Bus

There is a good bus system, maintained by LINE, that can lead you quickly to many parts of the city.

Fares: -1 ticket (60 minutes): 1,30€

-7 days pass: 9,90€

-30 days pass: 34,50€

by Plane

the nearest airports are: Milano Malpensa, Milano Linate or Begamo Orio al Serio.

From Milano Malpensa you can catch a bus or a train to Milano central rail station and then come to Pavia by train. Malpensa shuttle buses depart every 20 minutes and cost 7€ one way (see timetables here [9] ) , Malpensa express train departs every hour (see timetables and fares here [10])and leads you both to Milano Central station, where you can take any regional train to Pavia, or to Milano Bovisa, where you can take the train S13 to Pavia

From Milano Linate there is a bus that connects directly Linate to Pavia. It departs from the platform 7 in front of the arrival terminal few times a day and costs 15€ one way (you can buy the ticket on the bus itself). See timetables by clicking on this link [11] and then on "Scarica orario in pdf". (Linate is very close to Pavia, so if you find flights to this airport they're better than those to Malpensa or Orio al Serio).

From Bergamo Orio al Serio: outside this little airport there are buses (orio Shuttle) to Milano Central Station that depart every 30 minutes and cost 7€ one way. See timetable and buy tickets here [12] or on the bus.

by Train

Pavia is well connected to Milan by train (it takes only 30 minutes!). For any information on trains timetables see [13]. This webpage is not always clear, not even for Italian native speaker, so don't get frustrated if you don't understand something. You type in either Milano Centrale (if leaving from Milan central station), or Milano Nord Bovisa (if you got there with Malpensa Express) as your departing station, and Pavia as your arriving station. Timetables for Regional and Suburban trains (the ones you will want to take, since they are cheaper than the Intercity ones, but still take the same amount of time to get to Pavia) are not updated often so wait until a few days before your arrival to check timetables, otherwise the webpage will only show you the expensive ones.

We suggest you ALWAYS ask your contact person or LEO/LORE before buying train tickets, so we can help you out with it. We apologize for the confusing website! -.-"

by Car

Pavia is situated just 30km close to Milan, in the middle of a triangle whose sides are highways A7, A1 and A21.

-Best way is arriving from A7/E62 and exit to "Bereguardo - Pavia Nord" then follow A53 (10km) to Pavia

-If you arrive from A1/E35 is better to exit at "Casalpusterlengo" and then follow SS234 (about 35km) to Pavia

-If you arrive from A21/E70is better to exit at "Broni-Stradella" and then follow the SS617 (about 20km) to Pavia

Always check Google Maps first, that is clear enough!

Every year we organize an exciting social program that will allow you to discover the city, the food, the culture and the people of Pavia. Dinners, dancings, parties, walkings are some of the activities you can expect during your exchange. Weekend excursions in Milan, Venice, Florence and other cities are organized every July, along with others Local Commitees, to allow you to visit the jewels of northern Italy and meet other exchange students from all over the world.

Sight Seeing

Pavia's most famous landmark is the Certosa Built in 1396-1495, it was once located on the border of a large hunting park belonging to the Visconti family of Milan, although today there are only scattered parts of it. Certosa is the Italian name for a house of the cloistered monastic order of Carthusians founded by St. Bruno in 1044 at Grande Chartreuse. Though the Carthusians in their early centuries were known for their seclusion and asceticism and the plainness of their architecture, the Certosa is renowned for the exuberance of its architecture, in both the Gothic and Renaissance styles, and for its collection of artworks which are particularly representative of the region.

  • Cathedral of Pavia (Duomo di Pavia)

Its construction began in 1488; however, only by 1898 were the façade and the dome completed according to the original design. The central dome has an octagonal plan, it stands 97 m high, and weighs some 20,000 tons. This dome is the third for size in Italy, after St. Peter's Basilica and Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence. Next to the Duomo were the Civic Tower (existing at least from 1330 and enlarged in 1583 by Pellegrino Tibaldi): its fall on March 17, 1989, was the final motivating force that started the last decade's efforts to save the Leaning Tower of Pisa from a similar fate.

University courts

  • The University of Pavia

It is one of the most ancient universities in Europe, founded in 1361, although a school of rhetoric is documented as early as 825 making this center perhaps the oldest protouniversity of Europe. In 2011 it celebrated its 650th anniversary, and all year long the University organized conferences and other events inviting many important professors from all over the world; a rowing race was also organized between Pavia and Pisa (known to be rival in this field) and Cambridge and Oxford: Pavia won. ;)

The Centrale Building is a wide block made up of twelve courts of the 15th-19th centuries, in which the humanistic disciplines are nowadays held, i.e. liberal arts. The sober façade shifts from baroque style to neoclassic, showing, just as all the rest of the building, the different artistic movements of the long time it took to build. The Big Staircase, the Aula Foscolo, the Aula Volta, the Aula Scarpa and the Aula Magna are neoclassic too. The Cortile degli Spiriti Magni hosts the statues of some of the most important scholars and alumni. Ancient burial monuments and gravestones of scholars of the XIV-XVI centuries are walled up in the Cortile Voltiano (most come from demolished churches). The Cortile delle Magnolie holds an ancient pit. The Cortile di Ludovico il Moro has a renaissance loggia and terracotta decorations. Both courts, as well as two more, were the cloisters of the ancient Ospedale di San Matteo. The Orto Botanico, not very far away, is the university's botanical garden.

  • San Michele Maggiore (St. Michael)

This is an outstanding example of Lombard-Romanesque church architecture in Lombardy. It is located on the site of a pre-existing Lombard church, which the lower part of the campanile belongs to. Destroyed in 1004, the church was rebuilt from around the end of the 11th century (including the crypt, the transept and the choir), and finished in 1155. It is characterized by an extensive use of sandstone and by a very long transept, provided with a façade and an apse of its own. In the church the Emperor Frederick Barbarossa was crowned in 1155.

  • The Basilica of San Pietro in Ciel d'Oro ("St. Peter in Golden Sky")

This is where Saint Augustine, Boethius and the Lombard king Liutprand are buried, it was built in the 6th century. The current construction was built in 1132. It is similar to San Michele Maggiore, but different in the asymmetric façade with a single portal, the use of brickwork instead of sandstone, and, in the interior, the absence of matronei, galleries reserved for women and the shortest transept. The noteworthy arch housing the relics of St. Augustine was built in 1362 by artists from Campione, and is decorated by some 150 statues and reliefs. The church is mentioned by Dante Alighieri in the X canto of his Divine Comedy.

  • San Teodoro

This is dedicated to Theodore of Pavia (in 1117), a medieval bishop of the Diocese of Pavia, is the third romanesque basilica in the city, though smaller than the former ones. It is situated on the slopes leading down to the Ticino river and served the fishermen. The apses and the three-level tiburium are samples of the effective simplicity of romanesque decoration. Inside are two outstanding bird's-eye-view frescoes of the city (1525) attributed to the painter Bernardino Lanzani. The latter, the definitive release, was stripped off disclosing the unfinished first one. Both are impressively detailed and reveal how little Pavia’s urban design has changed during the last 500 years.

The Visconteo castle

  • The large fortified "Castello Visconteo" castle

Built 1360-1365 by Galeazzo II Visconti, in spite of its being fortified, it actually was used as a private residence rather than a stronghold. The poet Francesco Petrarca spent some time there, when Gian Galeazzo Visconti called him to take charge of the magnificent library which owned about a thousand books and manuscripts, subsequentely lost. The Castle is now home to the City Museums (Musei Civici) and the park is a popular attraction for children. An unconfirmed legend wants the Castle to be connected by a secret underground tunnel to the Certosa.

  • The church of Santa Maria del Carmine

is one of the best known examples of Gothic brickwork architecture in northern Italy. It is the second largest church in the city after the cathedral and is built on the Latin cross plan, with a perimeter of 80 x 40 meters comprising a nave and two aisles. The characteristic façade has a large rose window and seven cusps.

  • The covered bridge

The covered bridge was built in XI century over the ruins of an ancient Roman bridge. It was the gateway for the south of the province and symbol of the city for several centuries, but unfortunately was destroyed during WWII. In 1952 the Town Hall decided to rebuilt the bridge with the same appearance of the old bridge, to donate again to the citizens their historic symbol.

Some towers of Pavia

  • The medieval towers

They still shape the town skyline. They are distributed all around town, the main clusters being in Piazza Leonardo da Vinci, Via Luigi Porta, and Piazza Collegio Borromeo.

  • The Ghislieri College and the Almo Collegio Borromeo

The latter was founded in 1561, the former in 1567 by Pope Pius V. They are the most ancient colleges in Pavia. Collegio Ghislieri is a 450 years old Italian institution committed to promote University studies on the basis of merit, hosting around 200 pupils (males and females) who attend all faculties in Pavia University, offering them logistic and cultural opportunities such as scholarships, lectures, conferences, a 100,000 volumes library (the third one among private libraries in Northern Italy), foreign languages courses. Each year about 30 new students coming from all over the country are selected by public contest. Since 18th century it became laic, nowadays it is under the High Patronage of the Presidency of the Italian Republic, it is ranked among highly qualifying institutions by the Italian Ministry for Education and University.


There are a lot of intrestings museums in Pavia [ Website of museums system]:

  • Civic Museum (sited inside the castle)
  • University Museum - it hosts not only all the instruments used by Volta and other important physicist and chemist who studied and worked in Pavia, but also and most interestingly for us Med students all the wax models and real body parts used by Golgi and other famous physicians! We strongly suggest you to visit this museum, just ask your LC and we will organize a guided tour for you: you could even get to read some of Einstein's handwritten letters (not many people know that he lived for a year in Pavia) and see professor Scarpa's own HEAD!!!!
  • Cathedral Museum
  • Botanic Garden
  • Natural History Museum
  • Electric Technology Museum

Market on saturday morning

Markets & Shopping

There are a lot of possibilities in Pavia to enjoy some good shopping, but sometimes in the close Milan you'll find a greater number of, although more expensive, shops!

  • Markets

There are a lot of fresh markets into the city, every day in differents squares. The better markets are in "piazza Duomo", in "piazza Petrarca" and the covered market under "piazza Vittoria".

  • Malls

In Pavia there are two malls with a lot of shops and big supermarket: Carrefour (in the northern part of the city, line 7 and 1C of city bus), and Bennet (in the southern part, line 1 of the city bus).

  • Shopping Streets

The two most important streets of Pavia, Strada Nuova and Corso Caovur are full of nice shops, but you'll find cute and tiny shops hidden in every part of the city centre. Get yourself lost in walking around the little streets and you'll be able to see the cutest little shops and hidden private gardens!

Contact us!!

We are here to help you! For any other question or information, join us here [7]

or send a mail [8]