The Lombardy region of central-northern Italy reaches high into the mountains in its northern regions. Best known for the impressive scenery of the Lombardy Lakes, the region also has a good number of fascinating historical towns and villages to explore and some stunning mountain scenery
Lombardy - a guide and places to visit
For a summary of the most popular sights in the region see also Lombardy places to visit.
Lombardy includes several of the most visited highlights in Italy, such as Milan and the very popular lakes such as Lake Como, Lake Maggiore, Lake Iseo and Lake Garda. We discuss the highlights below by dividing the region into (1) the north, (2) the lakes across the centre of Lombardy, and then (3) highlights to the south. Of course, you can visit the lakes and venture into the mountains...
The Valtellina area is to the north of Lombardy, on the border with Switzerland and north of Lakes Como and Maggiore.
Most of the highlights here are natural with beautiful river valleys and vineyards, mountains and orchards to enjoy as well as small traditional villages.
Year round mountain and outdoor activities are popular, with several ski resorts to be found in High Valtellina during the winter and popular cycle routes along the river valleys
Central Lombardy Lakes
Each of the lakes has its own particular charm and attraction - you could just about see all the lakes in a very busy two week visit or spend all your time at just one of them, depending how active you want to be! Travelling from west to east across central Lombardy the principal lakes are:
Lake Maggiore (on the border with the Piedmont region), with towns including Arona, Stresa, Verbania and Cannobio and the lovely Borromean Islands in the middle of the lake. To the south-east of Lake Maggiore the town of Varese has some grand 19th century villas to see. See Lake Maggiore guide.
Lake Como: with Varenna, Menaggio, Tremezzo (with Villa Carlotta) and Bellagio among the lakeside towns in the middle of the lake, Gravedona to the north and Como, Cernobbio and Lecco to the south there are also many other pretty small resorts around the shores of Lake Como, connected by frequent ferries. See Lake Como guide.
Lake Garda (on the border with the Veneto region) includes the popular lakeside resorts of Gardone and Salo to the west; Sirmione, Desenzano and Peschiera del Garda in the south; and Malcesine and Riva del Garda at the north of the lake (outside the Lombardy region). See Lake Garda guide.
West of Pavia you can see a different aspect of Italy if you explore the Lomellina region, an area of paddy fields around Vigevano, Lomella and Mortera. See Vigevano for tourist information.
The medieval town of Lodi to the south-east of Milan is also very attractive, as is Crema to the east of Lodi, where many important art works can be seen. North of here, Bergamo is also a pretty town, visited most for the old town (Citta Alta), and there is an impressive medieval castle at Soncino.
The south-east of the Lombardy region contains the interesting city of Brescia, and a little further south the towns of Cremona, Sabbioneta and Mantua each have their own charm and interest for the visitor - Mantua in particular is a very attractive city.
The important Benedictine abbey complex of Polirone Abbey is to the south of Mantua at San Benedetto Po.
Lombardy highlights - a photo gallery
Beautiful Villages in Lombardy
The following Italian towns and villages in Lombardy are listed among the 'most beautiful villages in Italy': Bienno / Castellaro Lagusello* / Cornello dei Tasso / Fortunago / Gradella / Gromo / Lovere* / Mazzo di Valtellina / Monte Isola / Oramala / Porana / San Benedetto Po* / Soncino* / Tremezzo* / Tremosine* / Zavattarello
Orange Flag Tourism towns in Lombardy
The following Italian towns and villages in Lombardy are listed among the 'Orange flag towns in Italy'(a national tourist award):
Bienno / Castellaro Lagusello / Chiavenna / Clusone / Gromo / Menaggio / Sabbioneta / Tignale / Torno