Inevitably, when we are asked where our coffee is from in Italy we are usually met with a puzzled look, followed by the question, “Where is Pavia?” There are so many beautiful cities off the beaten path in Italy and Pavia is definitely one of them. Not only is the city home to Moka Sir’s which began 65 years ago, but it also was home to Albert Einstein for a while. Let us tell you a little about the charming city of Pavia.
About 40 minutes south of Milan by either train or car and you’ll be welcomed into another world. Café life is thriving all around you. Corso Cavour is the main street cobblestoned, pedestrian-only way lined with all types of interesting shops. Eventually, you’ll reach the Central Piazza which is the main gathering spot for everyone. What I always find fascinating is it’s the destination for the generations, from young students to moms and their toddlers, to the family patriarch crossing the square in a bicycle to buy the local the newspaper. You’ll find many cafes in the piazza and all the seats face the central square. The main activity is, of course, people watching, while having a perfectly extracted espresso or perhaps grazing on focaccia, olives and Torte Salate along with an Aperol Spritz.
Further along, you’ll reach the iconic covered footbridge of Pavia. Besides the amazing view, the Ponte Coperto is the destination for romantic hearts to declare eternal love or perhaps just wish for it. From the very center of the bridge, you can also re-enact your own version of the Titanic scene as the Ticino river flows below your feet. Interesting factoid, in 1894 Albert Einstein joined his parents who were already living in Pavia and lived there for a few years. The city commissioned a commemorative plaque on the bridge in honor of his time there.
Covered bridge over the flowing waters of the Ticino River in Pavia, Italy.
All this walking will make you hungry and Pavia doesn’t disappoint. The region is known for growing what is referred to as “liquid gold” commonly known as rice. Local specialties here are risotto with wild boar, risotto with porcini, and salame d’oca (duck salami). If you can’t decide what to choose you can request a tris, which is a tasting of 3 different first courses!
Back in the center of town, you’ll find a large roundabout where Pavia’s first citizen stands vigil – the Roman goddess, Minerva. This giant statue made of bronze was created by sculptor Francesco Messina in 1938. She is one strong lady who towers over the entire city, commanding respect and attention. Milan has La Madonnina and Pavia has Minerva. Legend has it that she was strategically placed with her back turned toward Milan, due to the rivalry of both cities.
And it is right there in Piazza Minerva that you’ll find Moka Sir’s flagship café. You can try an interesting selection of single origin coffees, ginseng coffee, and all of the newest products by Moka Sir’s.
Moka Sir’s flagship café in Pavia, Italy
Hope that I’ve tickled your curiosity bone and that you’ll include a visit of this very elegant city on your next trip to Italy!
- Adriana Cento