Voghera is a substantial town towards the west of the Lombardy region of northern Italy. Visitors approaching Voghera pass through an extensive region of cultivated countryside and an uninterrupted set of historical villages and castles - the atmosphere that you breathe here today is still medieval.
On arriving at Voghera you find ourselves in a dynamic but fairly quiet city, which offers some artistic and cultural works, with more to discover in the surrounding region and just outside the city - indeed it is the surrounding region that provides much of the attraction.
Starting point for a tour through Voghera is certainly the massive Cathedral in the Piazza del Duomo.
The Cathedral in Voghera is an artefact of the 17th century, designed and completely rebuilt by the architect Mario Corbetta, as inspired by the Cathedral of Pavia. The large and airy façade features strong pillars, with the extensive facade and angular arches added later, in the 19th century.
The paintings inside the cathedral are for the most part by Rodolfo Gambini (1855-1928), and there are also several representations of the Virgin Mary.
A very interesting medieval church in Voghera is the Church of San Ilario, on the Staffora Hill and called the Red Church, having been built from bricks around the 13th century.
Dating from the same period is the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie, while a more recent notable monument is the 19th century Palace of the Teatro Sociale.
Another important monument in Volghera is Castello Visconteo (Visconti’s Castle), built in 1367 by Ottarello de Meda and Andrea da Modena and then expanded by Galeazzo Visconti in 1372.
There is much to discover and enjoy in the region around Voghera, including some ancient artefacts and pictorial works.
first head to Godiasco, in the neighbourhood of which there are some important medieval artifacts - here, on a hill, you can admire the 11th century romanesque style Abbey of San Alberto Butrio, frescoed in the 15th century by various painters including Manfredino and Franceschino Baxilio.
You can also find interesting artefacts next to Varzi, with an ancient Romam Castrum and the beautiful 14th century Church of the Capuchins. Here at Varzi you can also admire the well preserved Tower of the Palace Malaspina-Odetti.
To see a more complete castle head next to Zavattarello, dominated by the castle on the hill - also very interesting here is the 18th century Church of Saint Paul.
You will discover towers and medieval castles in the countryside around Voghera in all directions, such as the castles of Branduzzo Nazzano, Fortunato, Torricella and Montalto, with the scenery also featuring medieval ruins scattered here and there between the plains and the hills.
In addition to the castles you can also admire some solitary churches on the hills, such as the Church of Saints Martin and Lazarus, with a portal of brickworks and the high belltower, dating back to the 15th century and in late-Gothic style.
Progressing through the countryside you can't help noticing the local vineyards. These include the Oltrepo of Pavia (Oltrepo Pavese), famous for its fine wines which bear the names of some of the locations around Voghera: Broni, Casteggio, Santa Maria della Versa.
Be sure to also savour the local products and recipes, including the Agnolotti alla Vogherese (fresh pasta with meat, a recipe dating from the Middle Ages). I heartily recommend also a taste of the Voghera mustard and, among sweets, the Vogherese Soup (bread of Spain, cream and coffee).
'Hic manebimus Optime! ('we can live very well here') as they would have said in ancient Roman times!