Lombardia, as it is pronounced in Italian, in one of the twenty administrative regions if Italy. Situated to the northwest this region offers, like the other regions of Italy, a wonderful variety of activities and sights to enjoy.
The capital of Lombardy is Milan, Italy’s second largest city and largest metropolitan area. The intrigue of Milan alone is enough to completely exhaust all but the longest vacations and even then, one is simply never bored in Milan. The undisputed fashion capital of the world is always teeming with creative energy and zest and the visitor can tap into this energy in a variety of ways. Milan is home to two of the great modern club footballing teams, AC Milan and FC Inter. They share the Giuseppe Meazza Stadium, commonly known as the San Siro Stadium, which is a must see stop for any football enthusiast.
Lombardy is bordered to the east west and south by other Italian regions such ad Piedmont, Emilia Romagna and Veneto and bordered to the north by Switzerland. The Alps run partially through the region, and the winter vacation activities in this region are unrivaled.
The region boasts no less than eight UNESCO World Heritage sites, so any visitor coming to Lombardy has quite a bit to see on their trip. While the region is landlocked, so does not offer the seaside activities of other regions, Lombardy is home to several great lakes, such as Lake Como storied and beautiful, where all manner of lakeside activities are available.
General Information on the Region
Lombardy is made up of eleven provinces and the metropolitan City of Milan. Lombardy is the fourth largest region of Italy at twenty three thousand eight hundred and sixty one square kilometers.
When looking at the geography of the region, three distinct zones can be discerned, the mountainous regions, hilly regions and plains, which are further divided into high plains or Alta and low plains, Bassa.
The climate can vary in the region, due the presence of the great lakes, and typically winters tend to be very cold (2.5°C/36°F) and summers very hot (24°C/75°F). Fog tends to cover the plains areas for periods during the months of October and February.
Lombardy is also home to fully one sixth of the entire Italian population. Ten million people reside in the region, concentrated in and around the city of Milan. The primary religion of the region is Catholic, with significant minorities also present. The economy of the region is strong, with a GDP in excess of thirty million Euros. This figure accounts for roughly twenty percent of the GDP of Italy. A strong services sector based in and around Milan, especially in finance, as well as being the main industrial area of the country.
Lombardy is in fact one of four regions which have signed a memorandum pledging to assist each other in the furtherance of industry and growth of economy known as the Four Motors for Europe. Lombardy has a rich and diverse sense of cultural identity. Examples exist throughout the region and popular destinations are the historically rich Bergamo district, Brescia, Como and Mantua.
History of Lombardy
Artifacts and other evidence such as rock carvings tell historians that Lombardy was settled as early as the second millennium BC. Notable peoples to have settled the region: the Etruscans spread the use of writing to the region and the Celtic and Gallic tribes arrived in around the fifth century BC and conquered most of the northern region. The Roman Empire halted the expansion of these tribes and after much strife in around the second century BC the Romans conquered the region and Lombardy became an essential part of The Empire. After the Empire split, the region was invaded by the Germanic Lombards, from whom the naming of the region is derived. Lombardy then saw a series of rulers, including foreign powers such as France and Spain, before finally becoming part of Italy for good in 1859.
Round and About Lombardy
Lombardy boasts a diverse array of activities, from winter sport to glorious lakeside delights. The region has eight UNESCO World Heritage sites, which mean eight must see areas when visiting. The plains, the hills and mountains all offer differing types of holiday enjoyment for the visitor. After all of these options, comes the city of Milan. Milan in itself is an experience and a whole itinerary of activity. The fashion capital of the world is always abuzz with some new and wonderful feat of creativity, the food is absolutely fabulous and the Milanese wines are excellent vintages.
UNESCO World Heritage Sites
The region boasts eight unique UNESCO World Heritage sites, a must see for any visitor to the region. These areas have historical, cultural and aesthetic value seldom found anywhere else in the world. Seven of the sites are listed as cultural heritage with one listed as natural heritage.
- Monte San Giorgio – located on the Swiss border near Ticino and south of Lake Lugano exist a variety of marine Triassic fossils. Fossils of fish, reptiles, insects and crustaceans have been discovered in what was a tropical lagoon some two hundred and forty million years ago.
- Valcamonica – here archeologists discovered rock drawings dating back to a period determined to be between eight thousand BC and one thousand BC. Depicted is a whole range of prehistoric life, from agriculture to war.
- Prehistoric Pile Dwellings – These are dwellings which exist in some one hundred and eleven sites around Europe, scattered over the Alps. Ten of these exist in the region of Lombardy and consist of remnants of buildings or river, lake and wetland dwelling peoples. These dwellings are built were wooden piles between five thousand and five hundred BC.
- Longbards – This is another multi centered site, seven found around different regions of Italy. At these sites the history of the Lombards, from which the name of the region is derived, is depicted and preserved. Two of these sites are located in Lombardy, the church of Santa Maria and the Torba Tower at Castelseprio. Also found in Brescia is the monastic complex of San Salvatore-Santa Giulia.
- Brescia – In addition the Longobards site, Brescia is also home to the best preserved Roman Forum in northern Italy.
- Milan – Here we find the Church and Dominican Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie, home of the famed “Last Supper” by none other than Leonardo Da Vinci. Any visitor is immediately whisked back to the renaissance period of Italy, with the architectural designs and painting styles.
In addition to these UNESCO World Heritage sites, these are also over three hundred and thirty museums in Lombardy. The rich history of the region can be examined in varying aspects and from differing focal points. Some famous ones are the National Museum of Science and Technology “Leonardo Da Vinci” in Milan, The Accademia Carrara in Bergamo and the Mille Miglia in Brescia.
Winter Wonders, Lake Shore Delights
The terrain of Lombardy makes for an exciting vacation, filled with fun filled activity across a range of areas and types. Visitors can choose from an action packed vacation, to one that is restful and serene.
- The Mountains – North of the region, along the border with Switzerland lie the Alps. These mountains are home to several internationally renowned ski resorts and spas. The Camonica Valley is well known for its resorts and slopes matching every ability level. Summertime fun can also be had in the mountains with rock climbing, hiking and cycling added to the mix. Rafting is also a popular summertime mountain activity. The mountains are also home to thermal water spas such as the Boario and Bormio spas. Come relax and leave all of your problems behind in complete luxury.
- The Lakes – Lombardy boasts some fabulous Great Lakes, such as Lake Como, Lake Garda and Lake Iseo. These offer visitors water based options such as skiing, canoeing, rafting swimming and boat excursions. Rich mansions and old castles adorn several of the lakeshores, such as Villa Olmo on Lake Como and historical tours are routinely conducted.
Food and Beverage
The region is also rich in gustatory delights, with both food and wine delights that will enchant every palette. Ranging from cheeses and desserts to cured pork, the culinary experience found is Lombardy is not to be missed.
- Cheeses – some famous, must try cheeses from districts of the region are Gorgonzola, Mascarpone, Robiola and Bel paese. Cheese lovers will find themselves in heaven when visiting Lombardy.
- Dishes – Lombardy is famous for several savory dishes such as grilled lake whitefish, cured salami of Varzi, bread crumbed cutlet cotoletta alla Milanese. There is also Milanese risotto to be sampled, famous the world over.
- Sweets – the renounced Milan panettone is known worldwide as is the almond flavored Amaretto, a favorite of ladies everywhere. Amaretto is from Saronno.
- Wines- Important wines such as Inferno, Grumello and Sassella come out of the Valtellina district of Lombardy and a wine enthusiast will have a treat following the various wine trails of the region.
Milan is the fashion capital of the world, undisputed since 2009. Ahead of other fashion heavy weights such as Paris, Rome and New York, Milan is home to some of the biggest names in fashion. Headquartered in Milan are trendy names such as Versace, Valentino, Prada, Armani and Dolce and Gabbana. Milan fashion shows are the most important for every season and much of the world waits on what the Milan fashionistas will do next.
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