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Italy's richest and most developed region, Lombardy, lies between the Alps and the River Po. Although Lombardy is known for its industrial development, many tourists have found themselves pleasantly surprised to find the region full of extraordinary cultural, artistic and natural heritage.

Lombardy stretches out from the Alps to the lakes of Garda, Maggiore, Iseo and Como and is home to historic towns such as Mantova, Bergamo, and Cremona; and Italy's financial and cultural capital, Milan.

About half an hour from Milan is the beautiful Lake Como. At Lake Como, one can take boat trip to several aristocratic villas and gardens, or to the picturesque villages of Bellagio, Verenna and Tremezzo. Como is the cradle of Romanesque art in Lombardy.

A few miles down the River Po lies the town of Cremona, known as the home of the Stradivarius violins. Another town of note is Bergamo, which houses Mantova's Ducal Palace which has frescoes made by Mantegna.

Brescia, an ancient Longobard dukedom with a cultural heritage that dates back to the Roman times, is also located within the Lombardy Region. Pavia is known for the Charterhouse, a monastery with a rococo façade of wildly extravagant decorations. Vigevano, owes its charm to the creativity and style of Bramante.

Because of Lombardy's terrain and natural resources, its beautiful landscape of mountains and rivers are ideal for walking or cycling tours, whereas those who prefer to ski favor the slopes of Bormio, Madesimo, Aprica and Ponte di Legno. Lombardy also has 133 protected parks and reserves that include the Stelvio National Park and Adamello Park, which are homes to endangered animals such as the ibex and brown bear.

Traditional Lombard cuisine uses a lot of rice, vegetables and cheese and is known for having long cooking times. Although Lombardy's most famous dish is the "Risotto alla Milanese", another famous meat dish is the Milanese Fillet. Lombardy's most symbolic dish, however, is the Casöla, a rich stew with cabbage and pork.

The Lombard region is also known for the high quality of cheese and wine. The famous Italian cheese, Gorgonzola, comes from this region, with some of the country's best-loved wines made in Lombardy's three main wine regions of Franciacorta, Oltrepò Pavese, and Valtellina.

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