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Top Places to Visit in Lombardia

Top Places to Visit in Lombardia

Expressed in a variety of landscapes, the Lombardia region includes a mix of large industrial cities and cities rich in history and art. Known as the “region of lakes,” it is home to more than 15, including Lake Garda, Lake Maggiore, Lake Como, Lake Iseo . The fourth-largest region in Italy is a mix between ancient and modern landscapes, the most advanced industry and solid agriculture, in a unique mix where you can get your fix of a city-life in the design and fashion hub of Milan all the way to relaxing vibes by one of the gorgeous lakes.

Milan

Since the discovery of Lombardy can only begin from Milan and is arguably the most popular of the Lombardia region, here’s just a quick reminder of why you should visit – or continue to explore the hidden gems of your town. For a more detailed guide, check out 48 Hours in Milan.  The main economic center of Italy and a great city of art with monuments such as the Duomo di Milan, a famous symbol of the city, and the Castello Sforzesco, built in the fifteenth century. Among its history, Milan is also an important cultural and financial hub. The city hosts the headquarters of the Stock Exchange and its center extends between the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, an architectural gem in itself filled with endless shopping, down to the streets of Corso Venezia and the Brera district. Each area is full of luxurious boutiques, theatres, cinemas and amazing museums. Among its many art finds, the city is home to the Last Supper, the famed historical painting by Leonardo Da Vinci in the convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie.

Duomo di Milano / Photo by Gil Garza

Monza

Synonymous with the Formula 1 Italian Grand Prix, Monza is a quick 10-minute train ride from Milan and stocked with much more than exciting car races. For starters, don’t miss the Royal Villa, the city’s main symbol. Fun fact: it was designed by the royal architect Giuseppe Piermarini, who also planned Milan’s La Scala Theater. After your tour through the villa, take a stroll through the gardens surrounding the villa complete with rows of flowers, lakes, and a temple. Book your visit to the villa here. Right next door to the villa is Monza Park, the city’s huge green park covering an area of over 700 hectares and surrounded by 14 km of walls. In one of Europe’s largest enclosed parks, you can find walking trails, old farmhouses, the famous F1 Monza race track and sprinkles of art throughout. Next, make your way to the city’s historic center to Piazza Trento e Trieste and venture to the Cathedral of Monza to set your eyes upon another beautiful Italian cathedral and the coveted Teodolindo Chapel. And for more history exploration, don’t skip out on the Civic Museum.

Royal Gardens, Monza / Photo by Mario Cerchiai

Bergamo

Less than an hour from Milan, you can visit this charming Bergamo city and dive deep behind the walls of the oldest part of the city, Bergamo, Citta Alta. You can take the city’s funicular (cable car) that connects the center of Bergamo with the Upper Town as you take in glorious views of the Venetian Walls, which span six kilometers long around Bergamo Alta. Built in 1561, these walls were built to keep out enemies. Or you can venture up the Santa Lucia Staircase access route that puts you right in front of the popular marble-stone San Giacomo Gates. Then you can stroll to Piazza Vecchia with several restaurants, bars and gelaterias and also home to the beautiful Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore – another must-see church in Italy. After a bite or drink, walk to Piazza della Cittadella to tour the Civic Museum of Natural Sciences and local markets. Lastly, San Vigilio Castle, a 12th century defensive fort overlooking the city is not to be missed. Explore the open areas inside of the castle that ends in a memorable 360-degree view of Bergamo

Venetial Walls, Bergamo / Photo by Isaac Maffeis

Cremona

Music lovers unite and make your way to Cremona. This city is popular for an ancient violin-making tradition that was included in the Unesco Heritage list in 2012. World-renowned violin maker Antonio Stradivari was born in Cremona, and you can still see some of his masterpieces at the Violin Museum, one of Cremona’s key attractions. After, stroll the streets to marvel in the workshops where local luthiers (a craftsperson who builds or repairs string instruments that have a neck and a sound box) still make violins completely by hand. Of course, you can’t miss the Cremona Cathedral, which has been called the nickname of “Sistine Chapel of the north” because of its incredible series of frescoes and paintings. And if you have a sweet tooth and happen to be visiting in November, don’t miss the Torrone festival, whose guest of honor is a nougat made of toasted almonds and honey. This sweet treat is not only the most popular sweet in town but a traditional Christmas treat in Italy. Slightly outside of the city center is the Monastery of San Giuseppe in San Sigismondo, which was built on the grounds of the church where Francesco Sforza married Bianca Maria Visconti in the XV century.

Cremona Cathedral / Photo from Wikimedia Commons

Lake Como

Exploring Lake Como can begin with a stop in Varenna through its very picturesque historic centre with some of its noteworthy places like Passeggiata degli Innamorati, San Giorgio Church or even Riva Grande.  Don’t forget to get lost in the beauty of the villas like Villa Cipressi or Villa Monastero. And for even more incredible views over Varenna and Lake Como, visit Castello di Vezzio. Next, when you make your way to Bellagio, known as the pearl of Lake Como, begin on the most famous street Via Guiseppe Garibaldi and then definitely get lost throughout the colorful streets. Then, pop into the small fishing village of Pescallo or the Basilica of San Giacomo. Want to take a dip in Lake Como? You can do it at the Lido di Bellagio beach. In Lake Como, your first stop should be to Piazza Duomo, where the towering Cathedral of Como and the Broletto – the old Town Hall – are located. Other famous squares in Como are Piazza San Fedele, home of the Basilica of San Fedele, Piazza Volta and Piazza Mazzini. Perhaps catch the sunset with a ride up the Brunate funicular for some more spectacular views over Como, as it is located over 700 metres high.

Varenna, Lake Como / Photo by Ziyi Zhu

Lake Garda 

Want more relaxing lakeside trips? Then, it is a requirement to spend time in Lake Garda. The largest lake in Italy with picturesque scenery, it is no wonder it has become popular with Hollywood stars and global tourists with its jaw-dropping views. Sirmione, the jewel of the southern shore, is one of the most popular Lake Garda towns. Visitors to Sirmione can step back in time to the ruins of a Roman villa. On the eastern shore, Bardolino and Garda are two of the other most beautiful places to stay on the lake. Another reason to visit besides the scenery is that Bardolino is famous for its wine festival, which is typically held in late summer or early fall. In Garda, for the more active tourists, grab your hiking boots to reach the top of Rocca di Garda which boasts panoramic views of Lake Garda

Rocca di Garda / Photo from Wikimedia Commons

Art, history, lakes, wine and sweets – whatever can go wrong? It’s obvious that no matter your preference, the region of Lombardia can satisfy anyone’s desires time and time again! 

Article by Mary Catherine for Easy Milano

Featured image by Matthias Schröder


Easy Milano

Easy Milano is the online publication for the international community of Milan. We offer practical tips, key information and essential insights about living and working in Italy. Easy Milano has been assisting English speaking expats in Milan since 1999.
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