Come to Lombardy to experience a diversity that makes Lombardy very special. With two international airports it is easy to arrive here, then you can visit Milan for its fast pace, glorious shopping, fashion and dining, then head out to the lakes of Como and Garda and see some of best scenery in Italy. There is also Lake Maggiore and the lesser-known Lake Iseo with the Franciacorta wine region which are gems waiting to be discovered.
From the larger Milan - Malpensa airport, you can reach the centre of Milan by train, and from there have a number of options to reach other towns in the region including the lake towns by train. You can for example be in the town of Como on the shores of lake Como by train in approx. 35 minutes from Milan centre, or in Desenzano del Garda and Sirmione in just over an hour. It's that easy. For the most flexibility though, we recommend renting a car.
Milan is the region's main city and best known as one of the world's foremost fashion cities. Within haute couture names like Valentino, Armani, Laura Bigiotti and Gucci all being based here. It is also well known for its opera house La Scala as well as for being the financial centre of Italy and home of the stock exchange. You will be in your shopping element here if that is your thing. Culture offers a rich helping also with it impressive cathedral and many historic churches. Football fans are also drawn here from far and wide, since Milan is the home to the two big teams AC Milan and Inter.
Starting in the north of Lombardy, the landscape is dominated by the impressive Alps mountain range and the large lakes of Como and Garda, Maggiore, part of Lake Lugano and the smaller Lake Iseo. The scenery is superb both in summer and in winter with its ever-changing colours and choice of outdoor activities depending on the season. A long list of fascinating towns hug the shores of the lakes and make for most inviting locations for your holiday in nature, with or without activity, as you choose.
Other interesting towns in Lombardy include Pavia, Piacenza, Como, Mantova, Bergamo, Brescia, Lecco and Cremona, which all have many monuments and sites of interests.
Staying in Lombardy will mean access to many exciting historic venues for those who are interested. The region has many medieval remains and during the Middle Ages the region was also of great importance to this part of Europe. The Lombards and the Milanese, in particular, were often “prisoners" in the power struggles between the popes in Rome and the changing German-Roman emperors. In fact Milan was completely destroyed several times during the bloody battles of the Middle Ages.
If you want to swim in Lombardy, you will find many wonderful lakes with beaches around all the afore mentioned lakes. Around Lake Garda, Desenzano, Sirmione and Lazise for example all have nice lake beaches. On Como's shores you will find many more lake beaches in the interesting little towns with lake promenades and much charm. Here you can combine a lake-beach holiday with exciting trips to different towns in the region as well as visiting the neighbouring regions of Piedmont, the Veneto or Emilia Romagna, obviously depending on where you are staying.
Large parts of Lombardy are characterized by the flat plains of the Po Delta Valley covered by expanses of water and rice paddies. However, towards the north and northeast, the countless mountains and the great lakes of Como and Garda will provide you with plenty of opportunity to celebrate nature with a long hike, a bike ride, or paddle along a lake in a kayak, go white water rafting, sailing, climbing, horse riding and more. You will find a great terrain worth exploring also in the area of Franciacorta with rolling hills and many vineyards.
The Lombard cuisine is probably best known for being on the heavy side with strong tasting and substantial dishes. Butter is often used and ingredients normally associated with French cooking such as frogs' legs, snails and goose are often found on the menu.
Fish and seafood: Freshwater fish is popular in Lombardy. Eel is also quite common and in some places it is possible to feast on crayfish.
Sausages and ham: - Lombardy is the region where a whole range of sausages are produced, not just from pork but also from goose, horse, goat and deer. Because goose is so popular in Lombardy, production of special sausages made from this tasty bird is a natural progression. So a kind of goose crackling is made as well as a special goose ham (prosciutto d'oca). The sausage Petto d'oca is produced from the breast meat of the goose. In addition two other kinds of good sausages can be found: Salame d'oca di Mortara and Salame d'oca ecumenico.
Violino di capra della Valchiavenna is a very special ham made from goat meat. It has to be cut in a special way similar to playing a violin, hence the name Violino. Slinzega di cervo is produced around Lake Como. It is similar to bresaola but made from deer. You can also get bresaola made of horsemeat. The small Cacciatorini sausages are also made from horsemeat. Apart from these exotic specialities a whole range of better-known sausages are produced from pork. Salame Milano is probably known by most people, but Salame Mantovano is also very enjoyable.
Cheese: Bagòss di Bagolino is a cheese made from cow's milk, which enjoys a long maturing process. The cheese does not begin to show its true worth until it has matured for nearly 12 months.
Tombea is a cheese produced in the Alps around Lake Garda. The cheese is made from cow's milk and a little saffron is added during production. The cheese is in danger of disappearing because only very few producers still make it in spite of the cheese having won various cheese competitions. Tombea is best when well matured.
Sweets: Panettone is probably one of the most popular cakes in Lombardy. But like many other places in Italy, most of the towns will naturally have a selection of delightful homemade ice creams.
Wine and vineyards: Lombardy is best known for its excellent sparkling wines, which should not be called champagne. Spumante and now also Brut are the Italian names for the same product, and the Lombards are in fact very good at producing these lovely bubbles.
Some of the best are called Franciacorta, and these can easily measure up to the most outstanding of the French champagnes. One of the best producers in the region, and possibly the world, is Cá del Bosco. But the standard is very high and there are many other excellent producers. Otherwise Lombardy is best known for producing white wines on international grape varieties like Chardonnay.
You can choose from our collection of handpicked holiday accommodation including villas and self-catering apartments, vacation rentals, B & B and hotels in Lombardy by using the search machine at the top of the page. Why not ask our experienced travel experts with over 15 years experience of travel in Italy for free advice by emailing us using the Contact link at the top of the page, by using the chat box to the left of the page, or call us using the number to the right of the page. We look forward to making your holiday in Lombardy a dream come true.