If you can tolerate their quirks, the lever is the way to go.
The only thing they tend to wear out is a main gasket -- but that is something you can do with the most basic tools.
ah hah!!! this is good news indeed.
I am now wavering between the Europicolla and Professional models. If I want to make more than 6 shots with the Europiccola can I vent the pressure from the tank by just opening the steam valve until it stops and then open the cap to re-fill with water OR do I have to turn the whole thing off and wait for it to cool down by itself before re-filling water?
Is the pressure gauge any safer or longer lasting than the Europiccola's automatic sensor (red/green light thing)? Does the Professional's gauge let you guess correct temperature better? Your review mentions something about turning the machine off and waiting 20 to 60 seconds for it to cool a bit. That seems a little iffy, no?
I own an Elektra Microcasa a Leva (which I urge you to consider as well- if you read Mark Prince's detailed review of it at coffeegeek you'll be, at the very least, intrigued, or you'll be like me and run off and buy one), and since it has similar heating issues, I think can answer for the Pavoni too. You can indeed drain the pressure and then, with a glove or something else to protect your fingers, open and refill the boiler. You can do this all day. The problem is, and I think this is more what you're getting at, this is not going to do anything to cool down the brewhead. The only thing that you can do is wait, or use a cold wet towel (some use frozen ones) or some other means to cool the brewhead and, while you're at it, the portafilter. After 2 or 3 espressos both are scalding hot. If you just refill, the boiler will ramp up, the brewhead will not have had time to cool (I am pretty sure the Pavoni takes about 10 minutes to get to brew pressure just like the Elektra, so the machine will still be hot) and you're still facing too-hot espresso. So to answer your question, yes, you can bleed and refill, but it takes either time or a cooling fix of some sort to be able to pull shots right away.
These level machines are, to paraphrase Mark Prince, not about performance, but are about the experience, and I can say that my Elektra has absolutely made my routine a joy. Outrageously outstanding steaming and microfoaming capability too, as I've also heard about the Pavoni line. But they're not for everybody.