An Introduction to Lombardy, Italy
In the center of the cuff of the boot of Italy, Lombardy plays a leading role in Italy’s commerce, industry, and culture. The region’s vast and varied territory: mountains, valleys, and lakes are the stunning landscapes where historical towns and art cities arise.
Lombardy is the perfect place to visit if you are passionate about history, art, outdoor sports, traditional festivals, or all of the above.
Things to See & Do in Lombardy
Lombardy is a popular destination among the rich and famous for two places: Milan and Lake Como.
Milan is one of the world’s fashion capitals and is famous for its cultural scene. However, the cosmopolitan city is also a place with a centuries-old history and houses iconic architectural and art masterpieces.
The highlights of Milan? The Duomo, the marvelous gothic cathedral in the city center, and Leonardo da Vinci’s fresco The Last Supper in the Santa Maria delle Grazie convent.
Lombardy is also renowned for its stunning natural landscape. Lake Como doesn’t really need a presentation, does it? With its characteristic Y shape, you can enjoy the best panorama of the lake from the nearby town of Bellagio.
Lombardy has numerous lakes you can visit besides Lake Como. Less touristy, Lake Garda, Lake Maggiore, and Lake Iseo are other fantastic water spots in Lombardy where you can swim, sail, paddleboard, and kitesurf.
The Italian Alps delimits the northern part of the region. Lombardy makes the perfect vacation spot in winter and summer: you can ski or snowboard, rock climbing, hike, or mountain biking. There are fantastic activities for every season!
Lombardy is also the Italian region with the highest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, with 11. Lombardy houses what are known collectively as Cities of Art: Bergamo, Como, Monza, and Varese are among them. You can discover Roman ruins, Medieval fortifications, and Renaissance artworks in the Cities of Art.
Secret Gems of Lombardy
Lombardy contributed significantly to the development of Italy’s musical heritage. Between lyrical singing and refining musical instruments, Lombardy had put its print in how we know music nowadays. A true landmark in the city of Cremona.
Less than an hour and a half from Milan, Cremona’s historic center is scattered with luthiers’ workshops, preserving centuries-old violinmaking traditions. The small city of Cremona has been the workplace of the world’s greatest luthiers, Nicolò Amati and Antonio Stradivari. The centrality of violinmaking in the history of Cremona is also evident with the creation of the Volin Museum. Cremona is a secret gem in the heart of Lombardy, where music vibrates in every corner.
Lombardy’s lakes are truly worth a visit. Among the lakes, a special one is Lake Iseo, a hidden gem for the presence of Monte Isola. Literally “mount island”, Monte Isola is a green mountain emerging at the center of Lake Iseo, Europe’s largest lake island.
Monte Isola has 2,000 residents and no cars. At the highest point of the island, called Cure, there is the shrine of the Madonna of Ceriola, built in the thirteenth century.
Monte Isola is what makes Lake Iseo one of Lombardy’s real gems. The view of Monte Isola emerging from the lake with its green sides and tiny villages is a true wonder.
Food & Drinks of Lombardy
Lombardy’s diverse territory gives life to a rich cuisine where you can find varied delicacies. Different provinces have different traditional dishes, and according to where you will go in Lombardy, there are particular foods to enjoy.
One of the most famous dishes is risotto alla Milanese. This Italian classic is a tradition from Milan is made with two key ingredients: Arborio rice and saffron powder. Milan is the capital of another classic Italian dish, the cotoletta alla milanese, a deep-fried breaded veal chop usually served with a portion of French fries.
Lombardy cuisine is also rich in stuffed pasta dishes, such as Casonsei (typical of Bergamo and Brescia) and Tortelli di zucca (typical of Mantua).
Lombardy is sinonumous of polenta. The polenta taragna is prepared with ground buckwheat and corn flour. To taste the original one, make sure to visit the cities of Bergamo and Brescia.
In a small village nearby Brescia, Bagolino, is produced another delicacy: the Bagoss cheese.
Lombardy’s culinary tradition is worldwide popular for a sweet in particular: the panettone, served for Christmas. Another Italian Christmas favorite is the torrone (nougat), typical of Cremona.
Visiting Lombardy means being in one of Italy’s most famous wine-producing areas, Franciacorta, in the province of Brescia. No vacation to Lombardy is completed without tasting the Franciacorta sparkling wine.