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 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
Among the many places to visit here are the towns of Chiavenna, Bormio (at the end of the Stelvio Pass), Sondrio and Tirano (famous for the Red Train through the mountains to Saint-Moritz).
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:
First stop here will almost certainly be the attractive town of Milan which has many places of interest, and perhaps a visit to the nearby cathedral at Monza.
South of Milan you can enjoy the historical highlights of Pavia - especially the famous monastery at Certosa di Pavia - while the town of Voghera (south of Pavia) also merits a visit.
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