LOMBARDY

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One of Italy’s largest regions, Lombardia (Lombardy) lies in the north of the country, sharing a border with Switzerland. Stretching from the Alps to the lowlands of the Po Valley, it is home to a wide range of landscapes, including the breathtaking mountain chain that boasts the Valchiavenna, Valtellina and the Camonica Valley.

Early summer and early fall are the best times to see Lombardy. The throngs of people that descend on the lakes in July and August, particularly on weekends, make reservations absolutely necessary, especially at Lake Como, the quintessential Italian lake resort.

Milan is known as one of the fashion capitals of the world. Lombardy has a sixth of Italy’s population and about a
fifth of Italy’s GDP. It is the most populous and wealthiest region in the country, as well as one of the richest in all of Europe. The Lombardy region is a harmonious mixture of nature, history, art, and culture with innovation, technology, fashion, entertainment, and a contemporary outlook.

Milan

Milan

TOURS AND ACTIVITIES

Bicycle Tours: What could be better than riding a bike around the Garda, Iseo, or Como lake with a picnic ready for the sunset? There are many sorts of cycling paths for all bike enthusiasts, whether they ride traditional bicycles, mountain bikes, or powerful motorcycles.

Horseback Riding Tours: Gallop through the hills of Lake Garda, or trot through the winding paths of the Mantuan Hills. In the province of Varese there are a number of riding stables surrounded by breathtakingly beautiful countryside.

Sailing, Windsurfing, and Water Sports:  Lake Garda, just like Lakes Como and Iseo, offer a plethora of opportunities for the nautically inclined. With the chance to sail, windsurf, water ski, canoe, boat, raft, and take excursions to the surrounding areas, there are plenty of water sports for all ability levels.

Mountain Sports: The mountains, plains, and grand lakes of Lombardy form the perfect backdrop for a vacation filled with nature, athletics, rest, and routes for discovering the territory. In the winter months, the mountain peaks welcome ski and snowboard enthusiasts to world-famous ski resorts, like the Camonica Valley and Valtellina, with their popular resorts of Livigno, Bormio, Aprica, and hundreds of miles of slopes to match every skill level. While in the summertime, at the hilt of Bassa Valtellina, there is the opportunity for cannyoning that is like no other.

Golf: And if you are a golf enthusiast, this is the region for you, given that Lombardy happens to possess about one quarter of all the golf courses found in Italy, figuring out which course to start with is the hardest decision to make.

PLACES TO VISIT

Milan: The economic hub of all of Italy, Milan is an innovative city with a modern culture living in the now, and looking to the future. The city is a capitaly of fashion in Italy, so there is no shortage of shops to choose from. Whether you’re looking for the ultra chic haute couture, or more affordable, but still fashionable, shops, Milan’s arcade, La Galleria, has them all.  Though it’s a city with modernity at its core of everyday life, like the rest of Italy, it too has historical sites to see. The most notable site is located just outside Milan’s main shopping arcade, the Duomo. An outstanding example of Gothic-Lombard architecture dating back to the 14th-century, the Duomo is home to over 3,500 statues, most notably the Madonnina. The statue of the Virgin Mary, the Madonnina, is covered in 3900 pieces of gold leaf. Climbing to the top of the church has an unbelievable view of the city from its many-spired roof, and offers the perfect picture opportunities.

Cremona: Anyone who has a deep understanding and appreciation of classical music will know Cremona. Home to best string instruments in the world, Cremona is a trove of music-related sites to be seen. A visit to Cremona would not be complete without seeing both the museum dedicated to the work of the Stradivarius family, or more commonly known as the Strad, as well as the view of the town and the surrounding mountains from the top of the Torrazzo, Italy’s tallest bell tower.

Bergamo: Bergamo and its Province are ideal destinations for those who love art, culture, and/or sports. On one side Bergamo is an artistic province, rich in architectural masterpieces like Piazza Vecchia, the old basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, or Colleoni Chapel, in the Upper town. On the other side is a modern and dynamic town that has masterfully combined man’s ingenuity and nature to create a beautiful town that is sure to impress.

Como: Located on the Swiss – Italian border, Como is the main metropolitan area of the Lake Como district.  This is a town not short on architectural sites to see. Perfect for any architecture enthusiast, the most famous landmark include the Duomo at the Piazza Cavour with its Gothic facade and Renaissance dome.  In the walled Old Town, there are many 400-year-old buildings, and two more magnificent basilicas to be admired.

For a wonderful view of Lake Como, you can climb the Baradello Tower. If you walk along the lake, you will see the Tempio Voltiano, a shrine to Alessandro Volta, the inventor of the first reliable battery and name-giver of the term volt.

Lake Como

Lake Como

FOOD SPECIALTIES

Risotto alla Milanese: A dish that is sure to satisfy just as well as any pasta dish, Risotto alla Milanese is a creamy combination of braised short-grain rice blended with meat stock, saffron and cheese.

Cotoletta alla Milanese. Fillet of veal fried in egg and breadcrumbs with cheese.

Ossobuco: Being a heartier dish, this traditional main course consists of a knuckle of veal with the marrowbone intact and braised with rosemary and sage.

Gorgonzola: A creamy and rich blue cheese excellent when paired with simple homemade breads or polenta, it is also used in the preparation of sauces and other recipes.

Panettone: Panettone is a sweet-bread similar to Fruitcake that was once only enjoyed at Christmas and New Years, but has now reached global distribution and popularity for any time of year.

SPECIAL EVENTS

Frog Festival: If your gastronomic tastes are inclined towards the exotic, this is the event for you. Held on the first Sunday of each September in Sartirana Lomellina, this festival is dedicated to dishes made of frog. Some dishes include:stewed frog, browned frog, rice with frog liver, and polenta with frog.

Rice Harvest Festival: A festival held in June in Villimpenta, with roots back to times when Mantova province was known for its rice route, where rice was grown and exported, this festival celebrates the many Italian rice dishes, including the famous Risotto.

Festa del Naviglio: The first ten days of June in Milan come alive as a folklore entertainment center. Centered on the Naviglio canal, witness the streets come alive with nightly concerts, torchlight processions, and fairs. This event is a true Italian experience— artists displaying their wares, street performers, and wonderful wine and food.

The Golden Pizzocchero: Pizzoccheri are a type of tagliatelle pasta made with buckwheat flour and usually served with butter and cheese. Originating in Teglio, enjoying this pasta during the Golden Pizzochero Festival is easy. September marks the start of this annual food and wine festival. This event includes several initiatives, including: craft stands in the Teglio square, and guided visits to the cultivated fields, the ancient nucleus of Teglio, and to honey farms.