Lombardy is a composite picture, featuring a number of different sets with Milan that discloses its old icons through its new futurist shapes. You can start from the Cathedral (Duomo) then go to the Sforzesco Castle, after visiting the refectory of the Convent o f the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie that contains “The Last Supper” by Leonardo da Vinci, one of the main Renaissance paintings.

A few people know it: Milano was built on water and an opencast example is Naviglio Grande, one of the greatest engineering works in the Middle Ages in Italy. Nowadays it is the bohèmien corner of the town and features art shops, workshops, exhibitions and street markets. Lake Como is an international area, the jet set from the United States like buying their houses there: it is an aristocratic place, rich in environmental and cultural fascination and also in literary, historical and artistic echoes, it is spread with wonderful villas with roof gardens. There is also a huge green area in the Royal Residence of Monza, a group of neo-classical buildings that were designed by Giuseppe Piermarini. The cathedral contains the Iron Crown of Lombardy, a triumph of gold and precious stones, said to be beaten out of one of the nails used at the crucifixion.

Bergamo is divided into two parts, the upper town – a hilltop medieval town surrounded by huge defensive walls – and the lower city that features a cathedral started by Filarete in 1459. And the music is strictly related to Cremona, a town that developed after the very old tradition of luthiers, wanted by Andrea Amati who invented the violin in 1530. Mantua (Mantova) is crowned by the poetic laurel of the poet Virgilio and by the pomp  of the Gonzaga family that find their best expressions in the Palazzo Te: it is one of the best examples of Italian Mannerism and many important art exhibitions are held there. The Museum of the Monastery of Santa Giulia in Brescia isn’t less, it is the passport for a journey through the history, the art and spirituality of this town since the prehistory up to modern time and it is also a good chance to see a number of high profile exhibitions. From the art to the nature of Franciacorta (Brescia), an area full of hills and vineyards where you can taste different types of wine, among the best in Italy.

 Even the wines from Oltrepò Pavese (Pavia) are the soldiers of Bacchus; it is a landscape featured by a number of routes dedicated to the wine and to the Faith, the Certosa di Pavia is a Carthusian monastery built in the late-gothic period. Pavia must be visited calmly, as well as Varese with its valleys and its lakes. There are plenty of lakes in Lombardy: consider the Lombardy shore of Lake Maggiore – with jewels like Angera and its fortress – or the Lombardy shore of Lake Garda that features places like Sirmione and its archaeological area of Catullus Grotto. And water again at Lake Iseo – in the province of Brescia with  Monte Isola (Montisola) in the middle, the biggest  lake Island in Italy.

From water to mountains, for example the ones that surround Sondrio and Valtellina or the sacred mountain of Rosario near Varese and the sacred mount of Ossuccio, under the aegis of Unesco. There are also plenty of rivers in Lombardy and in the Lomellina area – among the  rivers Po, Sesia and Ticino – wide rice-fields  are spaced by rows of poplars while Vigevano exhibits a Renaissance masterpiece by Bramante: the ducal square. The province of Lodi is interesting too, the town keeps the Civil Temple of Incoronata, among the most important remains of the Renaissance in Lombardy.

Luciana Francesca Rebonato

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