The Aula Magna of the Collegio Ghislieri is housed in the Church of S. Francesco di Paola, whose elegant façade encloses Piazza Ghislieri to the east. It was built in the thirties of the eighteenth century, designed by Giovanni Antonio Veneroni.
Deconsecrated at the end of the XVIII century, during the Napoleonic government, when the Collegio became a military academy, the church was used as a weapons depot. Then passed to the Municipality of Pavia, it housed the Civic School of Art and the first nucleus of the Archaeological Museum.
Given the need for more space for its cultural initiatives, the Collegio obtained from the Municipality of Pavia a 99-year loan for the use of the building, in exchange for its restoration. The work, which made it possible to recover the original architectural dimensions and elegance of the entire building, took place from 1997 to 2001.
The Aula Magna, inaugurated on the occasion of the annual meeting of St. Pio in 2002, can accommodate up to 300 people and hosts national and international scientific congresses, meetings with institutional personalities, conferences and lectures, theatrical and musical performances. Among the latter, we particularly mention the artistic season of the Centro di Musica Antica Ghislieri.
Finally, the Aula Magna is the place where the Ghislieri Prize award ceremony is held in October each year.