When you come to Pavia you will need a place to stay during your first days before you find a permanent apartment. You will be surprised to know that the most convenient option is not to get an Hotel/Hostel which are usually too expensive for students but to use the rooms from other students and house owners for a short stay in the city without signing any long term rental contracts.
AirBnB short term stay option
At any time there are around 20+ private offers in Pavia for such rooms which cost around 25-65 Euro per night or less and are listed on AirBnB that organizes the money transfer and handles all the booking. During those first days in Pavia you will be able to look for a permanent rental with no stress. One additional advantage is that you will get to know the host who can help you around during those days.
If you are on the more conservative side, here are some hotel options for short stay (beware that other hotels might be on the outskirts of the city):
HOTEL ROSENGARTEN ***
not as central as the others below, but offers the best price. Located around 20 minutes away by foot from the city center. well served with buses and is in front of the hospitals as well.
HOTEL MODERNO ****
A very nice and central hotel near the central train station and 10 minutes from city center, a bit pricier from the others but very recommended
How to look for a permanent apartment in Pavia:
First, I wanted to warn you from trying to find an apartment in Pavia remotely (online) from your country. There are plenty of online scams of people who promise to send you keys by mail. Normally the local landlords will never sign a contract with you without seeing you first physically.
When you will arrive to Pavia there are several places to look for apartments:
1. The billboard in the central university building. There are usually many people there who are looking for a room and it will be a good place to find some room-mates.
2. There is a Facebook group called “Rent a Pavia”
3. There is a special “students assistance center“(link) in Pavia which helps with accommodation and charges 15-20 Euro fee.
4. Apply for University dorms (see more below)
What are the best locations in Pavia
Students usually choose between the city center where the majority of their friends will live and the hospitals area in the North-western part of the city.
The advantage of living in the center city is that you will be near all the bars and surrounded by friends from your course, so going out and coming back late will not be a problem. The cons are the slightly pricier apartments and 30 minutes of bus every morning to the hospitals for lectures.
The advantage of living near the hospitals are: the lower price and being able to wake up late because you can reach the hospital in 7 minutes on a bicycle or 15 by foot. It is also more silent compared to busy nights in the center. In both cases there are plenty of spaces to study and eat, so nothing to worry about that.
University Colleges “Collegio”s
Pavia has several colleges for students called “collegio” which are accessible via the EdiSU scholarship office. Those usually provide private rooms with shared or private bathroom and other facilities for sports, leisure and studies as wells as extra teaching activities and interest groups. To apply, you will need to check the appropriate checkbox when you will be filling your scholarship request in Edisu offices. This option is less realistic for first year students because they usually assign all the places by end of August. The life in “collgegio” is more suitable for young students (18 y/o) which will find it very active socially. The freshmen are usually required to survive a “freshmen week” which can continue until late December and involves late night activities, lots of beer and bonding games also during lecture periods. My advice to you is to check with your friends well how the life in the Collegio is (especially the “scherzi di collegio” aka freshmen week), to decide if it is suited for you or not.