City of Pavia

Original name

Historical Centre of Pavia

Geographic Area

Pavia, Italy

Reference Project

Pavia 3D TAC - Integrated survey and remote sensing for the development of a management system on the historical center of the ancient Lombard capital

Site description

The city of Pavia, historic Longobard capital, is located on a flat land of North Italy, where there is an architectural richness related to constructive and typological traditional systems, due to the many cultural and historical events that have affected over time. The buildings of the historic city center present a range of morphological characteristics that are common to most of the Italian historic towns, related to the original Roman planimetry (that in many cases has been maintained even in the Middle Ages), whose current form is affected by urban renewal operations conducted in the last two centuries, that have led deep changes in the image of the city, including the demolition of the perimeter wall system.

This heritage is part of a closely context of natural risk events: the presence of Ticino river is an historical cause of flooding phenomena (among many, the recent one in 1994) who cyclically involved the edge of the historic perimeter, the end of the old ramparts, the basilicas and the area beyond the shore of the old center. In addition, the recent increase of earthquakes in Italy has also affected Po Valley, in the past considered a "non-seismic" area, by increasing magnitude events over time, that has had an impact on the historical heritage. In recent years, several specific research initiatives have affected structural analysis and interventions for the safety of some monuments of the historic center such as Duomo cathedral and the historic towers.


Sandro Parrinello

UNIPV, University of Pavia
UNIFI, University of Florence

Survey Activities

Laser Scanner
Francesca Picchio, Andrea Pagano

Terrestrial Photogrammetry
Francesca Picchio, Francesca Solazzo

Post production Activities

2D Drawings
The 2D drawings and ortho-mosaics on Pavia city center have been elaborated by the students of the seminar in Urban Survey during the course of Architectural survey and representation at University of Pavia (prof. S. Parrinello) and University of Florence (prof. S. Bertocci), academic year 2013-2014.

3D model and GIS
The 3D model and GIS system on Pavia city center have been elaborated by the student Francesca Solazzo within the masterdegree thesis work "Integrated survey and remote sensing for development of a management system of the historic center of Pavia", in Architecture course at University of Florence, tutor: Stefano Bertocci, co-tutors: Sandro Parrinello, Francesca Picchio.

Damage mapping
Raffaella De Marco

  • Gallery
  • 3D Model

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Documentation Methodology

The area analyzed in this research, located between San Michele Maggiore Church and the area of University colleges, is one of the busiest areas of the city. It is characterized by the presence of many commercial establishments along the main street of Corso Garibaldi and buildings of architectural value and historical interest, such as Basilica of St. Michele and the old Church of St. Filippo e Giacomo, whose façade is in Baroque style, overlooking the front of one of two slender towers that are along the way.

The campaign of investigation in the context of Pavia, from the earliest stages of its programming, has highlighted the potential permitted by the methodology of acquisition Range Based of urban spaces in accordance with project objectives and the structuring of the database, designed as an interactive information system for users engaged in operational intervention on the territory, professionals and citizens. Corresponding methodological problems, related to the morphology of complexes and blocks of the historic center, have been controlled and managed to conduct digital metric acquisition through innovative measurement technologies with laser scanner instrumentation and structure from motion acquisitions, adopting a format of output, the three-dimensional model, suitable to digital fruition of built heritage as a privileged method of documentation for developable data from the architectural scale to the urban one.

From the digital data of the survey, post-processing activities have been developed to obtain 3D models for multiple uses. A NURBS model, from LiDAR and SfM data integrated with Google Earth information, has been optimized for a 3D G.I.S. platform, where each building unit and front can be connected to census cards and query data. 3D models have served as useful bases to implement fast structural analysis for diagnostic and prevention maps on the city, to find and quantify damage conditions on buildings units from historical interventions and stratifications, and to plan a recovery program in emergency conditions.


Parrinello, S., Picchio, F., Becherini, P., De Marco, R. (2018). The Drawn Landscape in 3D Databases: The Management of Complexity and Representation in the Historical City. 7th Annual International Conference on urban Studies & Planning. Atiner's Conference Paper Series, 3-26. ResearchGate

Parrinello, S., Picchio, F., De Marco, R. (2017). Pavia 3D: Reading and decomposition of the city for the construction of dynamic databases on heritage. Vestnik Permskogo Nacionalʹnogo Issledovatelʹskogo Politehniceskogo Universiteta. Prikladnaâ Èkologiâ, Urbanistika, 1, 33-45. ResearchGate

Parrinello, S., Picchio, F., De Marco, R. (2017). New generations of Digital Databases for the development of Architectural Urban Risk Managment. In: Gambardella C. (Ed.) Le Vie dei Mercanti XV Forum Internazionale World Heritage and Disaster, vol. 71 (pp. 1-10). Napoli: La scuola di Pitagora editrice. ResearchGate

Picchio, F., (2016) Configuration of virtual landscape of historical centre of Pavia. The drawing for the abstraction of urban complexity. In Bertocci, S., Bini, M., (Eds.), Le ragioni del disegno. The reasons of drawing. 38° convegno internazionale dei docenti delle discipline della rappresentazione. Gangemi editore, Roma.