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Lombardy Travel Guide

Monastery of Santa Caterina, Lago Maggiore, Lombardy (© ROBERTO CAUCINO - iStockphoto.com)
Monastery of Santa Caterina, Lago Maggiore, Lombardy.

Introduction

Land of mountains, lakes and fine gastronomy, Lombardy (Lombardia in Italian) was named after the Lombards, a Germanic tribe that settled in North Italy in the 6th century and rule Italy for the next 200 years.

Lombardy is the most populous of the 20 Italian regions, with nearly 10 million inhabitants, a sixth of the Italian population (approximately as much as Sweden, Portugal or the Czech Republic). If it was an independent country, Lombardy would be the most densely populated in Europe (420 inhabitants per km², slightly more than the Netherlands).

Lombardy's largest city, Milano is the country's financial and fashion capital, two sectors that have contributed in making it the wealthiest Italian region in terms of GDP per capita, and one of the richest in Europe.

Approximately 36% of the population speaks the local Lombard language (a Romance language unrelated to the ancient Germanic tribe of the same name), including 9% who do not speak any other language.

Famous people from Lombardy include (chronologically): the Roman philosopher Pliny the Elder, the painter Caravaggio, the luthier Antonio Stradivari, the physicist Alessandro Volta (inventor of the battery), the novelist Alessandro Manzoni, the playwright Dario Fo (Nobel Prize), the conductor Claudio Abbado, the media tycoon and former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, the fashion designer Gianfranco Ferré, the fashion designer Mario Prada, and the Prime Minister Mario Monti.

Cuisine

Lombardy is one of Italy's culinary hub, famous for its risotto, osso bucco, polenta, scaloppina milanese and minestrone. The Gorgonzola cheese also comes from the region, as does the panettone, a sweet bread loaf eaten around Christmas and New Year.

Milan is the city that boasts the highest number of Michelin stars in Italy (along with Rome) and the 9th highest of any European city. Bergamo and the Lago di Garda area also rank among the best places to wine and dine in Italy.

San Pellegrino, Italy's most famous brand of sparkling water, is bottled in the Alps of Lombardy.

Attractions

Attractions are listed geographically, from west to east (left to right) and north to south (top to bottom).

West

Lake Como
Lake Como (© RUBEN GUTIERREZ - iStockphoto.com)
outstanding Lake Como is the most beautiful and spectacular of the Italian lakes. Constrained on all sides by steep mountains flanks, Lake Como is shaped like an inverted Y, with the romantic...Read more
Monza
Royal Villa of Monza
outstanding Famous around the world for hosting the Italian Formula One Grand Prix, Monza is also a historic town with some first-rate tourist attractions...Read more
Milan (Milano) ※
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, Milan, Lombardy (© Ivan Floriani - Fotolia.com)
must-see Milan.
Vigevano
Vigevano (© Michele Berini - Fotolia.com)
very good Vigevano.
Certosa di Pavia
Certosa di Pavia (© Lsantilli - Fotolia.com)
outstanding The Certosa di Pavia, or Charterhouse of Pavia, is a monastery complex situated near a small town of the same name, 8 km north of Pavia...Read more
Pavia
Pavia (©  paolo maria airenti - Fotolia.com)
outstanding Pavia.

Other attractions

very good Alps around Chiavenna
very good Busto Arsizio
very good Lake Lugano
outstanding Lake Maggiore very good Lake Varese
outstanding Montevecchia & Curone Valley Park
very good Tornavento

Central

Val Camonica
Tonale pass and Presena mount, Valcamonica (© antonio scarpi - Fotolia.com)
outstanding The Camonica Valley is one of the largest valleys of the central Alps. It is home to the greatest complex of rock drawings in Europe, with approximately 300,000 petroglyphs, dated from...Read more
Monte Isola
Monte Isola, Lake Iseo (© Illimity - Fotolia.com)
very good Monte Isola on Lake Iseo.
Bergamo
Bergamo (© byfogli - Fotolia.com)
outstanding Bergamo.
Brescia
Brescia (© RobertoC - Fotolia.com)
very good Brescia.
Crespi d'Adda
Crespi d'Adda (photo by Luigi Chiesa - Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license)
very good The village of Crespi d'Adda, just outside in Capriate San Gervasio, is an outstanding example of the 19th and early 20th-century "company towns" built by enlightened industrialists to...Read more
Cremona
Trecchi Palace, Cremona (© Claudio Giovanni Colombo - iStockphoto.com)
very good Cremona.

Other attractions

outstanding Alps around Livigno
very good Lake Iseo
good San Pellegrino
very good Soncino
very good Tirano

East

Stelvio National Park
Stelvio National Park (© antonio scarpi - Fotolia.com)
outstanding Extending over an area of 1,307 km² (505 sq mi), Stelvio National Park is the largest national park in Northern Italy. It was founded in 1935, making it one of the oldest in the country...Read more



Limone sul Garda
Limone sul Garda, Lake Garda (© David Mitchell - iStockphoto.com)
outstanding Limone sul Garda.
Sirmione
Sirmione Castle, Lake Garda (© Andreas Bouloubassis - Fotolia.com)
outstanding Sirmione.
Mantua (Mantova) ※
Mantua (© Eupedia.com)
outstanding Mantua.
Sabbioneta ※
Ducal Palace, Sabbioneta (photo by Davide Papalini - Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license)
very good Sabbioneta.

Other attractions

very good Bormio
very good Lake Garda
    good Desenzano del Garda
    very good Gardone Riviera
    very good Salò
very good Lake Idro
good Montichiari

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Eupedia's Rating System

Cities, towns, villages & historic buildings

  • : Moderately interesting - nice for a quick stop
  • : Recommended - to visit if you have time
  • : Outstanding place - really deserves to be seen
  • : Best of the country - shouldn't be missed
  • : Best of Europe

Natural attractions

  • : Moderately interesting
  • : Recommended
  • : Highly recommended
  • : World-class natural attraction
  • ※ : UNESCO World Heritage site


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