Have you taken your picture in front of the “Duomo”, the magnificent Cathedral of Milan? Ok, now close your eyes, forget about the gold-plated statue of the “Madonnina” that soars above you, surveying her city, forget the Gothic gargoyles … and take a deep breath. Let yourself be invigorated by the crisp, clean air of the Alps, and when you open your eyes you will find yourself in the tiny borgo of Carnello del Tasso, far from the chaos and traffic of Milan. Carnello del Tasso is a tiny village built in the rocky cliffs, perched over the waters of the Brembo river. To reach this extraordinary place, you need to leave your car behind and set out on foot up the historic mule trail that leads to the town. But no worries, you will be more than amply rewarded for your efforts by the breathtaking panoramas and the delicious dish of “Casonei” that awaits you: fresh homemade ravioli pasta, a local delicacy to be savored slowly!
The parts of Lombardy region that merit discovery are not the industrial tangle of cities on the Padania Plain, but rather, the collage of hidden places living in the shadows of the large cities, which has allowed them to preserve their traditional characteristics and conserve their unique, authentic beauty.
There is an exception to every rule, and in Lombardy, it is Mantova, birthplace of Virgil, the acclaimed poet of Ancient Rome, a large town that has conserved all its authentic historical magic and charm. During the Middle Ages, the long and fortunate reign of the Gonzaga dynasty transformed Mantova into the most beautiful city of the region, a precious gem of Italian Renaissance art and architecture. The historical center is surrounded by three bodies of water, and its magnificent palaces and glorious piazzas have made it a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Lombardy is considered the industrial center of Italy, but it is nonetheless a land of vast natural riches. The majestic Alps that reign over the Swiss border are custodians of some of the most beautiful lakes in the world: the enchanting Lake Garda, and its Scaligero Castle, surrounded by water; Lake Iseo and the breathtakingly beautiful Lake Como, the setting for one of Italy’s most famous literary works, “I Promessi Sposi”, The Promised Bride. Como is a place of fairy tale landscapes, framed by lush woods and luxurious historical villas, some of them high over the lake, set on the peaks of the steep hills like glimmering jewels on the horizon of Paradise. Many of the magnificent noble residences are directly on the water, like the sumptuous home of one of Renaissance Italy’s important ruling dynasties, Villa d’Este, and the exquisite Villa Babbianello, which can be reached only by boat. And while you are in the area, be sure not to miss an unforgettable opportunity: a day of pure relaxation and regeneration at the world famous thermal springs of Bornio. You can choose to immerse yourself in the steaming, purifying waters of the springs, set in natural rock formations and free to all, or you can let yourself be pampered by one of the excellent private spas in the city, which offer a full range of world-class beauty and health treatments. And while you relax, why not enjoy a glass of Franciacorte, Lombardy’s premium sparkling wine? The production of Franciacorte changed the entire landscape of these foothills: where there were once dense forests there are now immense stretches of vineyards and wineries, all waiting to be visited.
And speaking of wine, it’s almost dinner time! Out of all of the marvelous cities of Lombardy, a dining experience in Milan is not to be missed, a chance to savor the traditional Milanese favorites: the classic Risotto Milanese with Osso Buco, and Cotoletta alla Milanese, a breaded veal cutlet, crunchy and golden brown on the outside, tender and flavorful within. The Lombard capital, like all of this splendid region, hides rare pearls of priceless beauty, like Leonardo da Vinci’s “Last Supper”, a short walk from the magnificent Castello Sforzesco with its frescos, museums and marvelous park. You can explore the Museum of Science and Technology and in the area of Porta Venezia you can discover the hidden gems of the Palazzi Liberty, poetically beautiful buildings constructed at the turn of the last century by the rising bourgeoisie in a style similar to Art Nouveau. It is a magical corner of the world, with arched doorways full of carvings and mythological details, an architectural symphony of sweeping sinuous lines graced by intricate wrought iron balconies, colored tiles and mosaic floors.
Have we convinced you? Lombardy is a region to discover and explore, a treasure chest of surprises, delights and much, much more. Enjoy!