Situated in north-western Italy, Lombardy is the most populated region in Italy and the fourth largest by area. It is one of the most important industrial centers in the country and, thanks to its strong economy, is among the wealthy regions in Italy. It borders Switzerland to the north, Veneto and Trentino-Alto Adige to the east, Piedmont to the west and Emilia Romagna to the south.
The territory of Lombardy is very varied and divided between plains, mountainous areas and hills. The region does not overlook the sea; it is crossed by many rivers, including the Po, the longest river in Italy. In addition, Lombardy is home to some of the largest lakes in Italy, such as Lake Garda, Lake Como and Lake Maggiore. Crossing the region from south to north, we first encounter the Po Valley, crossed by numerous rivers and valleys. Continuing northwards, we find the lakes, the Pre-Alps and the peaks of the Alps reaching 4000 m.
The history of Lombardy is ancient and is reflected in its cities and monuments. In the 4th century BC, the region was invaded by the Gauls. The Gauls founded its most important city: Milan. At the end of the 3rd century BC, the Romans conquered the Po Valley and during Roman rule, Milan became an important political and religious centre. After the fall of the Roman Empire, the region was invaded by barbarians. In 568 the Longobards arrived and conquered most of Italy. Lombardy derives from the word Langobardia, meaning the lands occupied by the Longobards.
The largest and most important city in Lombardy is Milan, considered the capital of fashion, design and the main centre of the Italian economy. Lombardy is also the Italian region with the more provinces (12 in all). Other important cities include Brescia, Bergamo, Mantua and Como, which offer interesting tourist attractions. This region also has another important record: the highest number of UNESCO sites (10).
Thanks to its central location in northern Italy, it enjoys excellent air, rail and road connections with all major Italian and European cities. The main airports are Milan-Malpensa, Milan-Linate and Bergamo-Orio al Serio. Malpensa is the largest airport and handles most intercontinental flights and cargo traffic. Milan Linate is the closest airport to Milan and controls most domestic and European flights. Bergamo-Orio al Serio, is the airport of choice for domestic and international low-cost flights and many freight couriers. All three airports are connected to the centre of Milan by bus, train or metro. Milan has excellent rail connections, including high-speed trains, with all major cities in northern, central and southern Italy, besides fast trains connecting it to several European cities such as Munich, Vienna and Paris.
Lombardy, a destination deeply linked to the economy, has countless cultural attractions and natural beauty that attract many tourists. Most visitors arrive in Lombardy via Milan, where they stay for several days or where they stay for a shorter period, and then travel to other destinations. Milan, a dynamic city and symbol of work, offers a unique artistic heritage and many cultural attractions. Even those staying in Milan for just one day have plenty of cultural activities to choose from. In addition to iconic monuments such as the Duomo and the Castello Sforzesco, the Brera art gallery and Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper (a Unesco site) are among the most visited places.
Milan also has a wide choice of museums, theatres, and historical and modern districts where you can experience the 'Milanese Movida's. From Milan, easily accessible by train or car, we have several destinations, ideal for a weekend of culture and relaxation in Lombardy.
An hour or so away, you can reach the cities of Bergamo, Brescia and Mantua, places with a great artistic and historical heritage, home to Unesco sites. Not to be overlooked are the lesser-known Cremona, the city of the violin, world-famous for its violin-making art, and Pavia, home to the Certosa di Pavia, another of the most visited monuments in Lombardy.
Lake Como, its picturesque villages and wonderful villas, surrounded by beautiful botanical gardens and parks, can be reached within an hour by train. Among the most famous and visited hamlets and villas on Lake Como are Bellagio, Varenna, Villa Carlotta and Villa Monastero. Lake Maggiore and Lake Garda are also easily accessible from Milan and are popular tourist destinations. Numerous boat tours are available for visitors to discover the islands and the natural beauty of these beautiful lakes. In Sirmione, a picturesque village on the southern shore of Lake Garda, the Scaliger Castle and the Grottoes of Catullus (an ancient Roman villa) are among the most visited places in Lombardy.
The presence of beautiful mountains allows for practising winter sports or trekking in all seasons. Some of the most popular Lombardy mountain resorts include Livigno, Bormio with its thermal baths, Madesimo and Ponte di Legno in Val Camonica, a valley with ancient rock engravings, recognised as a Unesco heritage site.
The variety of the territory and the different historical events of this region are also reflected in the Lombardy cuisine, which is very varied.
Besides stuffed pasta dishes, risottos, soups and meat dishes, thanks to the presence of several lakes and many rivers, we have numerous fish dishes. Risotto is undoubtedly the iconic dish of Lombardy. Added to this are the famous cotoletta alla milanese, polenta, bresaola della Valtellina and then panettone, a traditional Christmas cake, and torrone. Whatever the season, Lombardy offers alternatives for longer or shorter stays of culture, relaxation and beautiful landscapes.