According to handbagpicks, the Lombardy region is located in northern Italy. Italians themselves refer to Lombardia when they talk about this fourth largest Italian region. Lombardy is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Italy. The diversity of landscapes, the beauty of the cities and the presence of numerous picturesque villages explain a large part of the success of Lombardy. With cities such as Milan, Brescia and Pavia, Lombardy has a number of beautiful city break destinations within the region’s borders. Lombardy is perhaps even more famous for its beautiful lakes. Lake Garda, Lake Como and Lake Maggiore are among the most beautiful lakes in all of Europe.
Millions of tourists go on holiday to Lombardy every year. There is a lot to see, do and experience. We have put together a top 10 sights from all the beauty that Lombardy has to offer.
Lombardy ‘s Top 10 Things to Do
#1. The lakes
We call them lakes, the Italians talk about lagos. They are all beautiful places where water, nature and beautiful places seem to melt together in a perfect way. Lake Garda, which is part of Lombardy, is the largest and most famous lake in all of Italy. This makes it very touristy. Nevertheless, mass tourism cannot disguise the beauty of Lake Garda. Our tips on Lake Garda: Salò and Limone sul Garda.
Lake Maggiore is Italy’s second largest lake, although it must be said in fairness that this lake is partly located in Switzerland. If you are visiting Lake Maggiore, a boat trip to the Boromeus Islands is well worth it.
Lake Como is the third lake in Lombardy. This lake is a natural beauty due to its glacial origin. Picturesque towns and villages accentuate the beautiful aura of Lake Como. Places worth seeing are Como, Varenna, Bellano and Bellagio.
Lombardy still has a number of beautiful lakes that are perhaps less known to the general public, but perhaps that makes it all the more interesting. Think of gems such as Lago d’Iseo, Lago d’Idro and Lago di Lugano, which is partly located in Switzerland.
#2. Milan Cathedral
The Duomo Santa Maria Nascente is considered one of the most beautiful Gothic cathedrals in the world. In addition, this central building of faith in Milan is one of the largest churches in the world. Anyone who sees a photo of the Milan Cathedral will immediately recognize the building. It is an icon of the Milan. The more than two thousand statues on the facade and the approximately 135 pinnacles contribute to the recognizability of this impressive medieval building.
The Duomo of Milan can be visited. Nowadays this is only possible for a fee. Only if you attend a service, you don’t have to buy a ticket. You have different types of tickets. With the standard ticket you can only visit the cathedral. There is also the possibility to visit the roof of the Milan Cathedral. You can then view the many decorations up close and you have a fantastic view over Milan. The best-selling combination ticket allows you to visit both the interior and the roof of the Milan Cathedral.
#3. Rocco of Angera
The Rocca di Angera is one of the few fortified medieval buildings that have survived in its entirety. Located on a limestone spur high above Lake Maggiore, the castle was an important strategic point in the Middle Ages, both for military reasons and for trade. The castle has an architectural style from the 12th and 14th centuries, and includes parts that were built in different periods. Notable among the halls of the Rocca di Angera is the beautiful Courtroom with several frescoes painted in the 12th century by the anonymous “Master of Angera”. These murals depict events from the life of Archbishop Ottone Visconti. The Rocca di Angera also houses a beautiful collection of historical dolls.
Pavia is a beautiful city on the Po Valley. Pavia is located south of Milan and is a lot smaller. About eighty thousand inhabitants live here. The rich history of Pavia has left behind many beautiful sights. The Ponte Coperto (also called Ponte Vecchio) located across the Ticino is a fine example of characteristic architecture. The bridge you see now is a reconstruction of the old bridge that was destroyed by bombing during the Second World War.
The Roman Catholic traditions have ensured that there are several beautiful churches in the center of Pavia. The twelfth-century Basilica of San Michele Maggiore is one of the most striking examples of the Lombard-Romanesque style. The cathedral of Pavia, built in the shape of a Greek cross, is a bit younger: it was built at the beginning of the fifteenth century, but this impressive building was not completed until the end of the nineteenth century.
Finally, there is the Certosa di Pavia. This Carthusian monastery is located about eight kilometers north of Pavia. It is one of the largest monasteries in Italy and is still inhabited by Cistercian monks. The exuberant Gothic and Renaissance architecture is remarkable. The church and monastery are free to visit, but not on Mondays.
#5. The last Supper
In the refectory of the Milan-based Santa Maria delle Grazie monastery, you will find one of the most extraordinary works of art in all of Italy. It is a huge secco (and not a fresco) that is applied to one of the walls. The artwork measures 460 by 880 centimeters. It depicts the biblical scene of the Last Supper of Jesus Christ. Its creator is Leonardo da Vinci, who is also known as the painter of the Mona Lisa and can be considered a genius centipede.
Due to the fragility of ‘ The Last Supper ‘, only a limited number of visitors are allowed into the cloister’s refectory at a time. Just walking in is not an option. If you’re lucky, you’ll be among the chosen few who managed to get a ticket weeks or months in advance.
#6. Villa Melzi
On Lake Como, in Bellagio, stands the iconic Villa Melzi. This white neo-classical villa was built at the beginning of the nineteenth century. It was intended as a summer residence for Francesco Melzi d’Eril. This Francesco Melzi d’Eril, who served as Vice President of the Napoleonic Italian Republic (1802-1805). He was a consistent supporter of the Italian unification ideals that would lead to the Italian Risorgimento shortly after his death. On the Duke’s death in 1816, the estate passed to Lodovico, eldest son of Giovanni Francesco, nephew and adopted son of Francesco Melzi d’Eril. Today Villa Melzi serves as a museum. It is especially the garden of the villa that evokes much admiration. In the English garden you will find water features, a chapel, an orangery and some beautiful statues. You can visit Villa Melzi daily during the summer season.
#7. Torrazzo van Cremona
The Torrazzo is the bell tower of the Cathedral of Cremona. At 112.54 meters high, the Torrazzo is the third tallest brick bell tower in the world. According to legend, construction of the tower started in 754. In reality, it was built in four phases: a first from the 1230s, up to the third stalactite, a second, between 1250 and 1267, up to the stalactite under the crossing tower, a third about 1284, and the completion of the marble spire in 1309.
On the fourth floor of the Torrazzo is the largest astronomical clock in the world. The dial has a diameter of 8.20 meters. The main function of the hands of the clock is to display astronomical phenomena, such as moon phases, solstices, equinoxes and eclipses.
#8. Paul VI Square
Brescia is one of the most beautiful cities in Lombardy. It is the second largest city in the region after Milan. Its location near the popular Lake Garda ensures that more and more day-trippers visit Brescia. They end up in an atmospheric authentic city that will certainly not disappoint its visitors.
Piazza Paolo VI, or Piazza del Duomo, is one of Brescia’s main squares. This central part of the historic center and of old Brescia was known as Piazza del Duomo. This was because of the presence of the city’s two cathedrals: the Duomo Vecchio and the Duomo Nuovo. FThe name was changed to Piazza Paolo VI, after Pope Paul VI after his death. Next to the two churches is the Torre del Pegol. This tower is part of the Palazzo Broletto.
#9. Stelvio National Park
The north side of Lombardy consists largely of mountainous landscapes. Within this area is the Stelvio National Park. It is one of the oldest and largest national parks in all of Europe. The Stelvio National Park was established in 1936 and covers an area of over 134 square kilometers. The untouched nature is very popular among mountain hikers. There are many short and longer hiking trails within the Stelvio National Park. These walks take you over impressive passes and past beautiful lakes, such as the reservoirs of San Giacomo and Cancano that show an intense blue color.
We could fill a complete top 10 with the most beautiful cities in Lombardy. Mantua, situated on Lago Inferiore, would certainly have a place in this. Mantua – which is locally called Mantova – was founded about 4000 years ago. Few traces of the first millennia have been left behind. From the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, there are many squares, streets and buildings that now ensure that Mantua should definitely be on your ‘to visit’ list when you are on holiday in Lombardy.
The Basilica di Sant’Andrea is Mantua’s most famous building. The construction of this Renaissance Roman Catholic church started at the end of the fifteenth century. In this basilica there is an important relic: a vial that according to the faithful is said to contain the Holy Blood.