Lombardy , Italy

Lombardy is a region in northwestern Italy. Lombardy is the most populous region of Italy: it has about ten million inhabitants. Its capital is Milan. The region borders Switzerland (Canton Ticino and Grisons) to the north, Piedmont to the west, Veneto and Trentino-Alto Adige to the east, and Emilia-Romagna to the south.


Geographic hints

The Lombard Alpine arc crowns the Region to the north; its mountainous territories are characterized by deep and long valleys (Brembana, Seriana, Val Camonica, Valtellina). Great mountain massifs, such as the Spluga, the Bernina, the Stelvio, the Adamello mark the northern border of the Region with grandeur, and with an incredible wealth of vast breathtaking panoramas. The Spluga Pass and the Stelvio Pass are two important communication routes towards Switzerland and towards Alto Adige and the Germanic world.

Further south, Lombardy is uniformly flat, between the Po and the foothills and hills that embrace the Pre-Alps and the great Lombard lakes: Lake Maggiore (Verbano) which it shares with Piedmont and is formed by Ticino; Lake Como (Lario) fed by the Adda; Lake Iseo (Sebino) whose tributary is the Oglio; Lake Idro which is due to Chiese; Lake Garda (Benaco), which it shares with Veneto and Trentino-Alto Adige and is created by the Sarca, which emerges with the name transformed into Mincio and before throwing itself into the Po forms the Lakes of Mantua. In the territories located on the right side of the Po only in the Oltrepò Pavese we find hilly and mountainous reliefs, in the triangular tongue of land that goes almost as far as the Ligurian territory, in the Apennine valleys.

Lombardy boasts an immeasurable abundance of water thanks to the large number of alpine streams, rivers, canals that affect its entire territory, both in the plains and in the mountains. The result is a great wealth of alpine lakes nestled among its mountains, and in addition to the larger ones it still includes a good number of them, between the foothills and the foothills, but also in the plains: the lakes of Varese, Monate, Pusiano, Annone, of Mantua, of Lugano which partly falls within the Lombard territory. Finally, it has a myriad of artificial lakes: it is no coincidence that Lombardy boasts the highest Italian hydroelectric production.



Hundreds of rivers and streams pass through the Lombardy region, the most important of which is the Po which, with its 652 km, is the longest in Italy. For a long stretch it forms the southern border of the region and flows entirely in Lombardy only in the provinces of Pavia and Mantua.

The other main rivers come from the Alpine side of the Po Valley and are all tributaries of the Po: in fact, the Lombard territory is almost entirely included in the hydrographic basin of the main Italian river. Given the limited extension of the regional territory south of the Po, Lombardy is practically devoid of Apennine rivers: in the Oltrepò Pavese there are no significant watercourses, while the only exception is constituted by the Secchia which in the last stretch of its Corso, before flowing into the Po, flows into the Mantuan Oltrepò.

In addition to the Po, the main rivers are:

The Adda (313 km) is the longest river that flows entirely in Lombardy. It originates in Val Alpisella and after crossing the entire Valtellina it enters Lake Como, emerging from the Lecco branch to flow into the Po near Castelnuovo Bocca d'Adda (LO).
The Oglio (280 km) which, after crossing Val Camonica, enters Lake Iseo and exits at Sarnico passing through Palazzolo sull'Oglio and flowing into the Po at Torre d'Oglio. The Oglio marks the borders between the provinces of Brescia, Bergamo, Cremona and Mantua.
The Ticino (248 km), which originates in Switzerland in the Canton Ticino, is an tributary and an emissary of Lake Maggiore and divides Lombardy from Piedmont for a stretch before flowing into the Po just south of Pavia, of which it is the main tributary by flow of water.
The Mincio (75 km) is the main outlet of Lake Garda, but it can be considered, with the lake itself and the Sarca tributary, a single river axis of 203 km (Sarca-Mincio system). Emerging from the lake, it marks the border between Lombardy and Veneto for a stretch, then flows in the province of Mantua, skirting the capital city before entering the Po downstream of Governolo.
The Chiese (160 km), which originates in Trentino, is an inlet and outlet of Lake Idro and crosses the eastern part of the province of Brescia, flowing into the Oglio in the province of Mantua, near Acquanegra sul Chiese.
Other important rivers are the Lambro (130 km), the Serio (124 km) and the Brembo (74 km), the Olona (71 km) and the southern Olona (36 km). The homonymy between the two Olona rivers is not of imitative or etymological origin, but is due to the fact that originally they were two sections of the same river, diverted by the ancient Romans in its upper stretch towards Milan.



The region is dotted with many large and small lakes, the main ones being:
Lake Garda (or Benaco), of glacial origin, is the largest in Italy with a surface area of 370 km². It is 346 m deep and 51.6 km long. The large amount of water in the lake has significant effects on the local climate. In fact, along its banks, olive trees, lemons and cedars are grown, typical of the Mediterranean climate.
Lake Maggiore (or Verbano) has a surface area of 212 km², an extension of 50 km, a width ranging from 2 to 4.5 km and a maximum depth of 372 m.
Lake Como (or Lario) is characterized by an inverted Y shape, with the tip of Bellagio marking the separation into two branches. Completely excavated in the pre-Alpine circle, the lake winds for 46 km, has a maximum width of 4.3 km and a surface area of 146 km². It is the first in Italy in terms of perimeter development (180 km) and the fifth in Europe in terms of depth (410 m).
Lake Iseo (or Sebino) has the shape of an S, with a surface area of 65.3 km² and a maximum depth of 361 m. There is the largest lake island in Europe, Monte Isola, which extends for 4.3 km².
Lake Lugano (or Ceresio), located in Lombardy, but also in Switzerland and has an area of 48.7 km². On its banks are the Italian municipalities of Porto Ceresio, Valsolda and Porlezza.


When to go

The climate of Lombardy, although it can be defined as a temperate subcontinental type, is very varied due to the different natural conformations present in the area: mountains, hills, lakes and plains.

In general, the summer seasons in the plains are muggy (due to the high humidity) and hot. Continentality means that the average maximum temperature in July is 29 °C. But in these months of the year strong thunderstorms and sudden downpours are also frequent, accompanied by hail, sometimes even very intense storms. Winters are cold and long with low rainfall. Precipitation is heaviest in the pre-Alpine area, up to 1,500-2,000 mm per year, but is also abundant in the lowlands and in the alpine areas, with an average of 600-850 mm (23.6-33.5 in) per year. year. The total annual rainfall averages 827mm. The temperature range during the year is high and the fog is intense. In the mountains, the climate is typically alpine with cool summers and abundant rainfall and long, harsh winters with little rain. The Lombardy Po Valley is one of the least ventilated areas of Italy. The snow, abundant on the hills, also falls on the plains, given that the average minimum temperature in January is -1 °C. Lake Garda helps regulate the temperature of the surrounding areas, creating a "Mediterranean" microclimate which makes it possible to grow olives. The pre-Alpine belt and the upper Oltrepò have a cool temperate climate, the middle Alpine mountains have a cold temperate climate and the peaks have a glacial climate.


Spoken languages

There are practically no historical linguistic minorities.

In certain isolated mountain localities, towards the border with the Engadin, Ladin is used, in the Romansh variant. The use of the dialect, in its various forms (from the Insubre of Varese and its surroundings, to the Milanese of the capital, to the Bergamo strait of the valleys, up to Camuno or Mantua) is still frequent outside the cities, in parallel with Italian. Indeed, there is a certain revival of dialects.


Territories and tourist destinations

Although tourism in Lombardy does not represent, as in other Italian regions, one of the primary activities, thanks to the presence of various natural beauties (lakes and mountains) and cities of art, it manages to attract a significant number of people every year.

In Lombardy there were 13,258,859 arrivals and 33,123,562 presences in 2011. Non-residents contributed to 49.72% of arrivals and 55.8% of presences. Among the most visited places we must remember the Pinacoteca di Brera (336,981 visitors), the Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci (330,071), the Archaeological Museum of Sirmione with the Grotte di Catullo (216,612), the Scaliger Castle (202,066).

Lombard Alpine arc — Valchiavenna, Valtellina crossed by the Adda and Val Camonica, one of the largest, stand out among the Alpine valleys; the main urban centers are Chiavenna, key for communication with the other side of the Alps; Sondrio, main administrative centre; important tourist resorts and ski resorts are Madesimo, Bormio, Livigno, Ponte di Legno, Santa Caterina Valfurva, Aprica. To see the Stelvio National Park. Among the less famous centers but with many attractions we find Edolo, Valdisotto, famous for the Levissima water and Darfo Boario Terme.

Pre-Alps and large Lombard lakes - The major Lombard lakes with their cities, towns and interesting villages characterize this territorial band of the region from a tourist point of view, but the cities of art are equally interesting for tourists: Bergamo, Brescia, Como; then Lecco and Varese without forgetting places such as those on Lake Iseo such as Sulzano and Monte Isola, where a few years ago there was the famous walkway created by Christo. In these areas there are some mountain resorts such as Lanzo d'Intelvi, Barzio and Morterone in Valsassina, the municipality with the fewest inhabitants in Italy. The most famous resorts are certainly the lakes including Bellagio, Ossuccio, Tremezzo, Cernobbio, and Varenna as well as the two provincial capitals, Como and Lecco, characterized by the view and the beaches on the most famous lake in Italy. On Lake Maggiore, places such as Angera, Laveno and Luino stand out, while on the Brescia side of Lake Garda, places such as Desenzano del Garda, Limone sul Garda, Sirmione and Salò are recommended.

Lombard Po Valley - It is the area of the flat countryside but above all of urbanization, even wild with the large metropolitan areas and the conurbations of Milan and its vast hinterland, of Monza and Brianza, of Saronno, Busto Arsizio, Gallarate, and Legnano , which nonetheless boast the tourist offer of cities of art (Milan) or of a good standard (all the others). In the Milan area you can visit the Naviglio Grande, which starts from Milan and arrives near Somma Lombardo, while the Naviglio di Bereguardo, which starts from Abbiategrasso and arrives in Bereguardo, flows into the Ticino river. Looking away from the immense agglomeration of Milan, which monopolizes the entire eastern area, the cities of Crema, which was for a long time a Venetian enclave in the Duchy of Milan, are of significant tourist interest, in a certainly less chaotic context of life. it boasts a beautiful cathedral, as well as remains of Venetian walls; Treviglio; Pandino and Soncino, with their turreted castles; Castel Goffredo and Castiglione delle Stiviere, Gonzaga capitals; Asola, Gonzaga style but with important Venetian atmospheres deriving from its past linked to the Serenissima.

Bassa del Po di Lombardia — The cities of Vigevano, Voghera, Pavia, Lodi, Cremona, Mantua (UNESCO World Heritage Site), Casalmaggiore, Sabbioneta (UNESCO World Heritage Site), Viadana, Suzzara and their riches are located there territories. There are also well-known small towns such as Breme, Varzi and Brallo di Pregola. In the Pavia area there are localities such as Lomello, which is the ancient capital of the Longobard county from which this corner of the region takes its name; Vigevano, the major centre, is a city of art and industry; Mortara is an important agricultural market center and is famous for its characteristic goose salami. The main towns of Oltrepò Mantovano are San Benedetto Po, Felonica, Pieve di Coriano, Quingentole and Gonzaga. The main cities of the Cremona area are Crema, Cremona, Soresina famous for its dairy, Rivolta d'Adda where the famous Prehistory Park is located. Po di Lombardia is a tourism development project for the territory of the provincial administrations of Pavia, Lodi, Cremona and Mantua, signed by the four provinces of Lombardy on 9 February 2004.


Urban centers

Below are the main Lombard towns and then the major spas, in fact the great wealth of water, combined with the great availability of fertile flat soil, has made Lombardy a region of consolidated agricultural activity. In its territory, water is also a precious means of cure; in fact, there are numerous spa resorts which are important attractions for thermal health tourism which boasts a consolidated organization which in the most renowned centers also dates back to the end of the 19th century.

Milan - "Moral capital", "Economic capital", "Lombard metropolis", "Città della Madunìna" and so on: these are all slogans that describe the appearance of Milan, not its tourist essence, which is that of the most suitable city of a man, more familiar, than the ancient villages of old Milan who hide their pearls in the ravines of the rampant modern city, perhaps with reluctance, perhaps with jealousy, certainly with pride. Intimate ancient churches, sumptuous palaces, silent medieval corners. And then, the astonishing explosion of the Duomo with the golden and adored Madonnina, to show everyone the greatness, dynamism, ingenuity that brought the most intimate and subdued ancient Milan to the world stage.

Bergamo - a city of ancient atmospheres, Bergamo Alta from its refuge on a hill overlooks the new modern city which is spreading like wildfire. Modernity hasn't hurt the ancient city, it hasn't offended it; she kept away from it with deferential respect. And this is why it can proudly show the tourist, almost like in a painting, the image of its wonderfully intact ancient heart on the hill where the city was born.

Brescia - vast and modern, the Lioness, the second city of the Region, climbs with some districts on the first hills, and expands more and more into the plain. In its ancient part, however, it retains many traces of Roman Brixia, of the Longobards who made it the capital of a prosperous and vast Duchy as well as of the more than three hundred years of Venetian rule, during which it was a quiet and flourishing city on the Mainland. The museum complexes of Santa Giulia are of great importance.

Como — The city enjoys the beautiful view of the looming mountains and the opening of the waters of the lake to which it gives its name. The square overlooking the lake often receives its waters in times of flood, as if to emulate the more famous Venice. Even the beautiful patrician villas that alternate along the banks of the Lario, where the city extends towards the northwest, could almost be compared to the Venetian villas, even if Como was always in the Milanese orbit. City of silk, it thrives on a solid and peaceful economy, which has generated a non-irreverent development towards the monuments of the past.
Cremona - it has a monumental historic center among the most famous in Lombardy. It was a Roman city overlooking the river Po (the longest in Italy). It was powerful at the time of the Communes and rivaled Milan, which finally subdued it. His violins (Stradivarius and Amati), his Torrazzo and even more his nougat, are known all over the world.

Lecco - On Lake Como, Lecco stands on the south-facing branch, to which it gives its name. Its horizon is drawn by the lake and the profile of the Resegone. Leaving behind the peasant world of Manzoni's memory, the city has developed a solid metallurgical activity that has determined its development.

Lodi — Fanfulla da Lodi made its name known, but the ancient Laus Nova, rebuilt by Barbarossa after Laus Pompeia (now Lodi Vecchio, with the Basilica of San Bassiano) had been destroyed during the struggles between the Communes and the Empire, was already in ancient times of solid fame. Its monumental center is remarkable.

Mantua - the acknowledgment seals the prestige and charm of the Gonzaga capital, who made it one of the most refined courts in Renaissance Europe. The ducal palace (actually a cluster of buildings from various eras) is one of the largest royal palaces.

Monza — Royalty has always gone hand in hand with Monza, which was a place of rest from the Ostrogothic kings to the Longobard Theodelinda and the more recent Savoy. The particular attention that many sovereigns have dedicated to it owes the urban royalty of its historic center which includes famous monuments. Industrious and populous, it is the third largest city in the Region in terms of inhabitants. Known more for its racetrack than for its architectural beauties, Monza pays for the cumbersome proximity of Milan which seems to almost want to engulf it by absorbing it into its rampant immense conurbation.

Pavia - The reddish ocher color of the bricks from which its monuments have admirably taken shape - the castle, the churches, the covered bridge, the palaces - is the tone that dominates its beautiful historic centre. It is the same tint from which the enchanting white of the marbles of the facade of the Certosa di Pavia, its by far best known art jewel, set in the emerald green of its countryside, is released.
Sondrio - In the long Valtellina crossed by the Adda Sondrio seems to belong only to itself and to its own fascinating mountains, far from the big cities and the noisy and polluting industrial districts of the plain. Main administrative center of the Lombard Alps, it still betrays a vague Swiss scent that has left it the domination of over two and a half centuries by the Swiss Graubünden. .
Varese - It boasts villas and gardens scattered in the greenery that extends down to the valley from the Sacro Monte and Monte Tre Croci, and has its own lake to which it gives its name. It was a destination for elite tourism of the Lombard nobility since the eighteenth century. Also a destination for religious tourism at the nearby Sacro Monte, the city is today the center of lively industrial activity.



Corner Spas — In Val di Scalve, in the Valcamonica area, its spas have sulphate-bicarbonate-alkaline-earthy waters.
Boario Terme - Its thermal baths, in the area that gravitates around the Valcamonica, were already used in the sixteenth century; they had a great sponsor in Alessandro Manzoni who praised them, thus making them famous far beyond the local borders. .
Bormio - Its thermal springs are numerous in its vicinity; the Baths take advantage of the conspicuous summer and winter tourist attendance of the city. Bormio is also a famous ski resort in the Alta Valtellina, to be visited even in one day. In this locality Braulio is produced, a bitter based on herbs. An excursion to recommend is a visit to the Stelvio Pass, about 20/22 km away and 30/35 minutes away, which is a destination for cyclists and motorcyclists. This pass is the highest in Italy, given that the altitude is 2758 m a.s.l.
Salice Terme — It is almost conurbated with Rivanazzano, although it is part of the municipal territory of Godiasco. The curative qualities of its thermal waters were well known to the Romans, who already used them. Its thermal baths are more famous than those of nearby Rivanazzano.
San Pellegrino Terme — In the Upper Bergamasco area, the San Pellegrino Baths were consecrated between the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, when its development as a place of spa treatment led to a significant urban transformation.
Sirmione — The Baths of the city of Catullo were already known and frequented by the Romans, and are still a cornerstone of tourism in this center of precious beauty on Lake Garda.
Trescore Balneario - In the Bergamo area, its thermal baths between Bergamo, Valcamonica and Lake Iseo were already known in the Middle Ages.
Vallio Terme - In the Brescia area towards Val Trompia, its thermal establishment began its activity in recent times, in the mid-twentieth century.


Other destinations

Certosa di Pavia
Sirmione Castle


Getting here

By plane
Lombardy is served by the large intercontinental hub of Milan Malpensa (IATA: MXP), located in the province of Varese and connected to the center of Milan with the Malpensa Express train service and various bus lines. The airport is divided into two terminals: from terminal 1, the most modern, flights of the main national airlines depart, while from terminal 2 mainly low-cost flights of the Easyjet company depart.

Milan Linate Airport (IATA: LIN), on the other hand, which only hosts national, European and low-cost traffic, is located east of Milan.

In Bergamo then there is the Bergamo-Orio al Serio Airport (IATA: BGY), which is mainly used for low-cost, charter and cargo flights. The main airline operating at Orio al Serio airport is Ryanair with flights to all major European cities such as Paris (Beauvais), London (Stansed), Dublin, Madrid, Brussels (Charleroi), Berlin (Schoenefeld) and Athens.

Finally, in Brescia, there is the Montichiari Airport (IATA: VBS), dedicated almost exclusively to cargo traffic and charter flights only.

Overall, the four airports handle traffic exceeding 30 million passengers every year and represent the most important airport system in Italy (the majority of Italian air traffic is concentrated in the Lombardy area).

By car
Lombardy is served by many motorways and ring roads:
A1: Connects Milan with Naples via Bologna, Florence, Rome.
A4: Connects Turin with Trieste via Milan, Bergamo and Brescia.
A7: Connects Milan to Genoa via Pavia and Voghera.
A8: It leaves from Milan with four lanes and in Lainate it continues with three lanes for Varese.
A9: Starts from Lainate and continues in two lanes for Ponte Chiasso and Switzerland, passing through Como.
A21: Connects Turin with Brescia via Voghera, Piacenza and Cremona.
A22: Connects Modena with the Brenner pass via Mantova.
A35 : Connects Milan with Brescia.
A50 : Connects the A8 from the Terrazzano barrier and the A1 at the Milano Sud barrier.
A52 : Connects Monza with the A4.

On the train
The Suburban Railway Service ("S"), made up of a total of 10 suburban lines, connects a large part of the Milanese metropolitan area (Greater Milan), and other important nearby cities (Saronno, Varese, Novara, etc.). The service is managed by Trenord and, for the S5 only, by ATI between Trenord and ATM.

The 10 S lines guarantee a train every half hour from 06:00 to 00:30, every day of the year for a service similar to the Metro (corresponds to the Parisian RER and the German S-Bahn). The trains always pass at the same minute of each hour (regular timetable) and make all the stops along the route.

In Milan you travel with an urban fare ticket. The Regional Railway Service ("R"), on the other hand, connects all the main cities of Lombardy and connects the region with the national railway network. The different transport networks are clearly distinct and can be recognized outside the stations and the various stops thanks to specific luminous signs indicating S or R, thus considerably facilitating the interchange between the systems.


Getting around

By car
Since the A4 motorway crosses Lombardy, with the road network radiating from its junctions, it is also possible to get around by car. The A4 is often congested and traffic jams can be long, especially around Milan, exactly between Pero and Agrate Brianza, where there can be traffic jams that last even one or two hours for about 20 km.

On the train
Two integrated networks connect the region.
The national Trenitalia network, which mainly manages the east-west route (Modane-Turin-Trieste-Villa Opicina) and the north-south routes (Domodossola-Milan-Rome-Palermo and Chiasso-Milan-Genoa).
The Trenord regional network, in the Milan and Brescia branches.

By bus
The region has a capillary system of suburban bus lines. Generally the lines are operated on a provincial basis, so if you have to move from one province to another you will probably have to make a change.

By bike
Mincio cycle path, connects Mantua to Peschiera del Garda (43.5 km)
Mantua-Sabbioneta cycle path, connects Mantua to Sabbioneta (46 km)
Mantua-Grazie cycle path, connects Mantua to Grazie di Curtatone (8 km)
Lakes cycle path, route around the lakes of Mantua (14 km)
cycle path Oglio cycle path, a path that runs along the course of the Oglio river, from Ponte di Legno to Ponte di Barche Torre d'Oglio, where the river flows into the Po, passing through Valle Camonica, Lake Iseo and Franciacorta (280km).
Read more about getting around by bike on this site.

Here you will find the complete map of the cycle paths.


What to see

Although Lombardy is often identified as a region with a strictly economic vocation, it has an artistic heritage of exceptional value. The many testimonies range from prehistory to the present day, passing through the Roman era but above all to the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, when Lombardy was first one of the areas of maximum flowering of medieval municipalities, then a fundamental center of the Renaissance. The many monuments are concentrated above all in the numerous cities of art which mostly correspond to the most important medieval municipalities and Renaissance cities and have become, with some exceptions, the current provincial capitals. In Lombardy, however, there are numerous smaller towns that present significant evidence of the past, in particular for the numerous castles and sacred buildings scattered throughout the region. As evidence of the value of the regional artistic heritage, Lombardy is, with nine sites, the Italian region that hosts the largest number of World Heritage Sites protected by UNESCO, and hosts the first Italian site to be included in the list, the petroglyphs of Val Camonica.

In addition to the UNESCO sites, Lombardy is home to many other treasures such as the Piazza Ducale in Vigevano, considered one of the most beautiful squares in Italy, upper Bergamo, with its narrow streets and palaces enclosed in walls to guard ancient beauties and the Cathedral of Cremona .


UNESCO sites

The sites recognized by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites are:
Monte San Giorgio, a pyramid-shaped wooded mountain near Lake Lugano, is considered as the best collection of marine life fossils from the Triassic period (245-230 million years ago). These finds are evidence of life in a tropical lagoon environment, sheltered and partially separated from the open sea by an offshore coral reef. Various forms of marine life flourished within this lagoon, including reptiles, fish, bivalves, ammonites, echinoderms and crustaceans. As the lagoon was close to the mainland, terrestrial fossils of reptiles, insects and plants are also found among the remains, resulting in a very rich source of fossils.
Cenacolo Vinciano, in the refectory of the Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan, on the north wall is the Last Supper, the unparalleled masterpiece painted between 1495 and 1497 by Leonardo da Vinci, whose job it was to herald a new it was in the history of art.
Crespi d'Adda: an exceptional example of a 19th/20th century "company town" built in Europe and North America by enlightened industrialists to meet the needs of workers. The site is still remarkably intact and partly used for industrial purposes, although changing economic and social conditions today are a threat to its survival.
Rock engravings of Val Camonica. Val Camonica, located in the Lombard Alps, has one of the largest collections of prehistoric petroglyphs in the world; more than 140,000 symbols and figures carved into rock over a period of 8,000 years and depicting themes related to agriculture, navigation, warfare and magic. Among the sculpted symbols, to remember is the Rosa Camuna, used as a symbol of the Lombardy Region.
Bernina Railway: a mountain railway line that connects the city of Tirano, in Italy, with the Swiss Sankt Moritz. Built between 1906 and 1910 for tourism purposes, the line reaches a maximum altitude of 2,253 m with daring railway engineering works, and is therefore the highest natural adhesion railway in the Alps, as well as one of the steepest in the world.
Sacri Monti di Varese and Ossuccio: the Sacri Monti are groups of chapels and other architectural elements created in the late 16th and 17th centuries and dedicated to different aspects of the Christian faith. In addition to their spiritual and symbolic significance, these are of great beauty by virtue of the skill with which they have been integrated into the surrounding natural landscape of hills, woods and lakes.
Mantua and Sabbioneta, in the lower part of the Po of Lombardy, represent two aspects of Renaissance town planning: Mantua shows the renewal and expansion of an existing city, while 30 km away, Sabbioneta represents the implementation of the theories of the period on the planning of ideal city. Typically, Mantua's layout is irregular with regular parts showing different stages of its growth from the Roman period, and includes many medieval buildings including an 11th-century rotunda and a Baroque theatre. Sabbioneta, built in the second half of the 16th century under the rule of a single person, Vespasiano Gonzaga Colonna, can be described as a single period town and has a right angled grid pattern. The ideals of the Renaissance, favored by the Gonzaga family, are present in the morphology and architecture of the cities.
Brescia and Castelseprio fall into the category of places of power of the Longobards to which other Italian centers such as Benevento and Cividale del Friuli belong. In Brescia, the Capitoline Temple, from the Roman era, and the monastery of Santa Giulia where the Cross of Desiderio is kept are recognized as World Heritage Sites.
Prehistoric pile-dwelling sites around the Alps: a series of 111 archaeological pile-dwelling sites located in the Alps or in the immediate vicinity, some of these are located in Lombardy such as Lavagnone, Lugana Vecchia, Lucone di Polpenazze and San Sivino near Lake Garda.


Notable museums

Lombardy has a large number of museums (over 330) of various types: ethnographic, historical, technical-scientific, artistic and naturalistic, which bear witness to the historical-cultural and artistic evolution of the region.

Among the most famous we can mention:
the National Museum of Science and Technology "Leonardo da Vinci", the Brera Art Gallery, the Diocesan Museum, the Ambrosiana Art Gallery, the Poldi Pezzoli Museum, the Sforzesco Castle Museums, the Civic Museum of Natural History and the Museo del Novecento in Milan;
the Carrara Academy in Bergamo;
the Museum of Santa Giulia, the National Museum of Photography and the Museum of the Risorgimento of Brescia;
the Palazzo Ducale Museum in Mantua;
the Volta Temple in Como;
the Malaspina Art Gallery in Pavia;
the Stradivari Museum of Cremona;
the Museums of Sacred Art and the Cribs of the Basilica of Santa Maria Assunta in Gandino (Bergamo).
There are also numerous institutions that host relevant exhibitions and temporary exhibitions of the most important national and international artists, as the main exhibition centers of the region we can mention the Royal Palace and the Triennale in Milan, Palazzo Te in Mantua and the aforementioned complex of Santa Giulia in Brescia.


What to do

Lombard exhibition centers
Milan Rho Fair.
Bergamo New Fair.
Brescia-Brixia Expo Fair.
Gonzaga Millennial Fair.
Lario Fiere.
Cremona Fairs.
Villa Erba Fair Cernobbio.
Garda Montichiari Exhibition Centre.

Nature tourism
Given the conformation of the region, tourism linked to natural beauties is mainly concentrated in the Alps and in the lakeside resorts. There is also a limited tourist flow linked to the protected areas in the plains, in particular in the river parks of Ticino and Mincio.

Alpine tourism
The Lombard Alps include several mountain massifs well known to mountaineering and mountain hiking practitioners, among the best known Pizzo Badile, Pizzo Cengalo, Monte Disgrazia, the Bernina massif, the Adamello and the Ortles- Cevedale. The Stelvio National Park extends around the latter, the only national park in Lombardy on its western side. In the winter season there are numerous ski resorts, mainly distributed in the provinces of Sondrio, Bergamo and Brescia. The main summer and winter mountain tourist resorts include:
Aprica, Chiesa in Valmalenco and Val Masino in the Sondrio Valtellina.
Bormio, Livigno and Santa Caterina Valfurva in Alta Valtellina.
Madesimo in Chiavennasco.
Edolo, Ponte di Legno and Borno in Val Camonica.
Castione della Presolana, Colere, Foppolo and Selvino in the Upper Bergamo area.

Even the Lombard Pre-Alps, despite their lower altitude, are an important attraction thanks to the easy access from the plain and the remarkable panoramas (to the north you can admire a large part of the Alpine chain while to the south the view extends over the Po Valley). The best-known massifs of the Lombard Pre-Alps are the Grigne Group and the Presolana.

Tourism on the lakes
The Lombardy territory includes, wholly or in part, all the major pre-Alpine lakes. On their shores numerous localities are destinations for lake tourism, which combines natural and landscape beauties, historical-artistic tourism and, limited to certain areas, bathing activities (mainly on Lake Garda).

Among the main tourist resorts on the lakes of Lombardy are:

Desenzano del Garda, Gardone Riviera, Limone sul Garda, Sirmione, Salò, Toscolano Maderno on the Brescia side of Lake Garda.
Bellagio, Como, Menaggio, Tremezzo, Varenna, Cernobbio, Moltrasio, Ossuccio, Tremezzo, Griante, Rezzonico, Lenno, Argegno, Colico, Oliveto Lario, Mandello del Lario, Abbadia Lariana and Lecco on Lake Como.
Campione d'Italia and Porto Ceresio in the Italian portion of Lake Lugano.
Luino, Angera, Ispra, Laveno-Mombello on the Lombard shore of Lake Maggiore.
Iseo, Pisogne, Lovere, Sarnico and Monte Isola on Lake Iseo.



For more information, see Lombard cuisine, Milanese cuisine, Mantuan cuisine, Lodi cuisine, Bergamo cuisine.

Lombardy has quite different culinary traditions, from simple and common dishes such as the breaded cutlet or risotto with saffron, from Milan, to the more refined ones such as the Mantegna pavone, from Mantua, from the strong ones like the Cassoeula, to the delicate ones like pumpkin tortelli.

First courses or unique dishes
Risotto alla Milanese: rice (usually vialone) stewed with broth and marrow, with the addition of saffron
Cassoeula: plate of pork ribs, sausages and cabbage
Polenta: in the Bergamo version, coarsely ground cornmeal boiled in water and salt, then seasoned
Polenta taragna: the Valtellina version, a blend of buckwheat flour and corn
Pizzoccheri valtellinesi: boiled buckwheat pasta with cabbage, potatoes, ribs and seasoned with butter, casera cheese and bitto cheese
White Pizzoccheri from Valchiavenna
Mariconda: meat broth soup with bread, topped with egg, nutmeg, grated cheese
Casoncelli: puff pastry ravioli with seasoned meat
Pavia soup
Marubini (or marobini): stuffed pasta anolini with a mixture of minced meat, cheese, breadcrumbs, eggs, spices; it is a dish common to the whole area along the Po, with variants for minced meat which can be boiled, overcooked, or with the addition of a part of minced sausage in the eastern area, and the use or not of spices.
Bigoli at the press
Pumpkin tortelli, typical of Mantuan cuisine
Castel Goffredo bitter tortello

Osso bucco: stewed beef rear leg cut, often combined with Milanese risotto
Cotoletta alla Milanese: slice of veal breaded and fried in butter
Baked tench with polenta in Clusane
Missoltit: salted and washed shad fish, cooked with polenta
Mantegna style peacock
Frogs and bose
Donkey stew
Lake sardines (also called aole)
Escaped birds: veal or pork rolls

Bresaola: dried beef fillet, also in the variant
Slinzega: beef leg bresaola
Goose salami: in the normal variants, with pork fat, and ecumenical, with goose fat

Panettone: Toni's pan, relaunched by Angelo Motta. Baked cake based on sweet bread with eggs, seasoned with butter, raisins, candied fruit
Torta sbrisolona: hard and crumbly cake, made with flour, starch and almonds
Pan meìn / Pan de mèj: Sponge cake made with wheat and corn flour (formerly with millet flour (mej)
Bossolà: A flour and potato starch cake
Polenta e Osei: a typical dessert from Bergamo similar to real polenta

Valtellina: Bitto, Casera,
Valsassina: Taleggio, Robiola
Pavese: Stracchino
Plain: Gorgonzola, Grana padano, Quartirolo

You come
Lombardy has the following DOCG wines:
Moscato di Scanzo
Sforzato (Sfursat) of Valtellina
Upper Valtellina

In addition to the previous ones, it has a fair number of DOC wines: Bonarda dell'Oltrepò Pavese, Botticino, Buttafuoco dell'Oltrepò Pavese, Capriano del Colle, Casteggio, Cellatica, Curtefranca, Garda, Garda Colli Mantovani, Lambrusco Mantovano, Lugana, Oltrepò Pavese, Oltrepò Pavese Pinot Grigio, Pinot Noir from Oltrepò Pavese, Riviera del Garda Classico, San Colombano al Lambro, San Martino della Battaglia, Sangue di Giuda from Oltrepò Pavese, Terre del Colleoni, Valcalepio and Valtellina Rosso.

Other noteworthy wines are:
Valtellina: Hell, Sassella
Oltrepò Pavese: Barbera



Paths of Lombardy — 12 itineraries to discover art, nature and history.
Via Carolingia — European itinerary that crosses the places traveled by the court of Charlemagne between the eighth and ninth centuries to go from Aachen to Rome, where Pope Leo III crowned the Carolingian sovereign emperor of the Holy Roman Empire on Christmas night in the 1800s .
Foliage in Lombardy — In autumn, in search of the dazzling and spectacular phenomenon of "foliage".
Lombardy waterfalls
Refuges of Lombardy



Lombardy is a safe region and the forces of order carry out a good control service. Clearly, common sense should never be abandoned, especially in Milan which, being a very populated metropolis, can be less recommendable in some areas.



The name derives from the medieval term Longobardia, used in Byzantine Italy to designate the part of the peninsula dominated by the Longobards, as opposed to the remainder, then called Romania.

After 888, during the Carolingian era, the term Longobardia was instead used as the toponym of the brand of the Holy Roman Empire founded by Charlemagne, including Milan, which had much wider borders than modern Lombardy. Only since the constitution of the Kingdom of Italy has the toponym referred to the current administrative subdivision.

The name "Lombardia", which is found in the 1553 essay Descrizionione di tutto Italia by F. Leandro Alberti with the subdivision into "Lombardia di qua dal Po" and "Lombardia di là dal Po", therefore still with a meaning that went beyond to the current borders of the region, it was brought back to modern use after the War of the Spanish Succession when the Austrian Empire, which took possession of this region in 1714, began to refer to it as "Austrian Lombardy". From this point on, the term "Lombardy" began to define a more limited territory, roughly corresponding to the modern Italian region.



In the Po Valley various objects have been found that testify to the diffusion therein as early as the 3rd millennium BC. of man, already present at least since the Pleistocene in the pre-Alpine area.

The first civilizations that developed were the Camuna (in the Neolithic) and the Golasecca culture (Bronze Age). The central-eastern Lombard area was affected by an Etruscan influence around the 5th century BC. Subsequently, in the fourth century BC, the region was invaded by various Gallic peoples, who will give life to the confederations of the Insubri, in western Lombardy where they will give rise to the foundation of Milan, and of the Cenomani, in eastern Lombardy and in the lower Garda area and the banks of the Po.

At the end of the III century B.C. the ancient Romans began the conquest of the Po Valley, clashing with the Insubri Gauls, while the Cenomani Gauls were their allies from the beginning. The province later gave birth to famous exponents of Latin culture, such as Pliny in Como and Virgil in Mantua.

In the last centuries of the Western Roman Empire, Milan (Mediolanum) greatly increased its importance as a political and religious center (with the episcopate of Sant'Ambrogio), so much so that it became one of the seats of the tetrarchs at the time of Constantine, the which in 313 AD. he issued an edict called the edict of Milan, through which all subjects were granted the freedom to profess their religion, even to Christians, until then excluded from this right.

At the fall of the Western Roman Empire (the siege of Pavia and the consequent death of Flavio Orestes were the main episodes of the fall of the Western Roman Empire) it was the barbarians who dominated the region: first the Heruli of Odoacer arrived (476-493), then the Ostrogoths of Theodoric the Great (493-553), who made Pavia one of the seats (together with Ravenna and Verona) of their kingdom. Lombardy then returned to be part of the Roman Empire (this time of the Byzantine Empire) after the Gothic War, which lasted about 20 years and which scourged the whole of Italy. After a few years of Byzantine imperial rule, in 568 the Lombards attacked and conquered a large part of Italy, and placed their capital in Pavia.

It was precisely in this period that the term Langobardia began to be called the territories occupied by the Lombards, i.e. a large part of the Po Valley and present-day Tuscany (Langobardia Maior) and the duchies of Spoleto and Benevento in central and southern Italy (Langobardia Minor). In the seventh century the term "Lombardy" began to specifically designate the Carolingian brand including Milan and Pavia, previously known as Liguria or Neustria, even if it continued for more than a millennium to designate the whole of central-northern Italy in a broad sense (see Lombardy (historical region)).

In 774 the king of the Franks Charlemagne - who had descended into Italy the previous year, at the invitation of Pope Adrian I threatened by the Lombards - conquered Pavia, took King Desiderius prisoner to Gaul and proclaimed himself king of the Franks and the Lombards, while boasting the title of king of Italy his second son Pepin. The Frankish dominion gave rise to the feudal political structure which characterized the High Middle Ages.

With the Carolingian sovereigns, Lombardy was part of the Kingdom of Italy (800-1024), which was immediately endowed with a large autonomy and which aimed, without achieving it completely, at a centralized organization of the administrative, judicial and financial functions of the state , concentrated in the capital, Pavia.

In the Po Valley of the late Middle Ages a new political model began to spread: the medieval municipality, protagonist of a repopulation of the cities. In 1176 the Lombard League defeated the troops of Emperor Frederick Barbarossa in the battle of Legnano. The peace of Constance of 1183 sanctioned at the same time the formal obedience of the municipalities to the emperor and the substantial recognition of the municipal autonomy by the sovereign. Starting from the thirteenth century, the municipal model went into crisis and was soon supplanted by the nascent Lordships: the Gonzagas in Mantua, the Viscontis and then the Sforzas in Milan.

In the second half of the Middle Ages, in what was called Lombardy (i.e. northern Italy) the southern part (Tuscany) and the eastern part (Marca Trevigiana, Marca Veronese) began to differentiate: the term "Lombardy", from then on , began to identify only the part of the Po Valley located northwest of the Mincio river, above all the territories subject to the dominion of the Visconti first and then of the Sforza. In the fifteenth century Lombardy again became a land of conquest: first the Venetians arrived from the east, then the French claimed the remaining part of the Duchy of Milan which was then ceded, after long years of war, the culminating event of which was the battle of Pavia del 1525, to the Spaniards who remained there for a long time, formally still under the aegis of the Holy Roman Empire.

During this domination the region experienced, after an initial period of prosperity, a progressive decline, aggravated in the seventeenth century by plague epidemics. In 1714 the Duchy of Milan, following the war of the Spanish succession, passed by inheritance from the Spanish Habsburgs to the Austrian Habsburgs; finally the Austrians also obtained the Duchy of Mantua.

The eastern part of the region, annexed to the Republic of Venice during the fifteenth century, included the territories of Bergamo, Crema, Brescia and Salò, which therefore followed a different history from the rest of the region until 1797, when Lombardy again experienced, after centuries of division, political and administrative unity under the aegis of Napoleon Bonaparte.

After the experience of the Transpadana Republic, the Cisalpine Republic, the Kingdom of Italy (of which Milan was formally the capital with Napoleon Bonaparte king of Italy), all states dependent on Napoleonic France, the Restoration created the Lombardo-Veneto Kingdom again under the Austrian Habsburgs.

Lombardy was then an important center of the Risorgimento, with the Five Days of Milan in March 1848 and the subsequent plebiscite, the Ten Days of Brescia in 1849, the Martyrs of Belfiore in Mantua in the years between 1851 and 1853. The annexation of Lombardy to the Kingdom of Sardinia occurred following the second war of independence in 1859, a war during which Lombardy was the main battle scene (battles of Montebello, Palestro, Magenta, Solferino and San Martino and San Fermo). In 1861, with the proclamation of the Kingdom of Italy, Lombardy became part of the modern Italian state, with the exception of the central-eastern part of the province of Mantua which was annexed in 1866 after the third war of independence. As for the battle of Solferino, it was during this conflict that Henry Dunant took the initiative to create the Red Cross.

The Alpine front of the First World War crossed the eastern Lombard side of the Alps, and in the first post-war period Milan was the center of the Italian Combat Fasci. Milan then became the Gold Medal for Military Valor for the Resistance after its liberation from fascism during the Second World War, while the partisan resistance was spreading in the valleys and provinces.

In the years of the economic boom, Milan was one of the poles of the "industrial triangle" of northern Italy. The Years of Lead had great significance in Lombardy, with the Piazza Fontana massacre in Milan in 1969 and the Piazza della Loggia massacre in Brescia in 1974.

In the eighties of the twentieth century Milan became a symbol of the country's economic growth, and a symbol of the economic-financial rampantism of the "Milan to drink", while the Milanese socialist group of Bettino Craxi was in the national government. The city of Milan, in the early 1990s, was the origin of the series of scandals known as Tangentopoli that emerged from the judicial investigations of the Milan prosecutor's office known as Clean Hands, which then spread to the rest of the country.