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PROVINCIAL CAPITALS: Bergamo, Brescia, Como, Cremona, Lecco, Lodi, Mantova, Pavia, Sondrio, Varese
OTHER INTERESTING PLACES: the lakes: Lago Maggiore, Lago d’Orta, Lago di Como, Lago di Garda, Lago d’Iseo.

This region occupies the central portion of the Po valley and the Alps. Lombardy is divided into 3 natural areas: mountains, plains and hills. Beyond the financial metropolis of Milan the region is peppered with affluent towns that preserve a distinct character anherited from the times of the city-states.

Milano: the cathedral in Piazza del Duomo; Palazzo Reale; Palazzo Arcivescovile; Museo Civico d’Arte Contemporanea; Museo del Duomo; Galleria Vittorio Emanuele III; Pinacoteca Ambrosiana; Chiesa di San Sepolcro; La Scala Theatre; Castello Sforzesco; Museo d’Arte Antica; Parco Sempione; Pinacoteca di Brera; Cenacolo Vinciano in the Chiesa di Santa Maria delle Grazie; Basilica di Sant’Ambrogio; Chiesa di San Babila; the Navigli.
Pavia: Castello Visconteo; the medieval towers; Piazza Duomo; the Certosa di Pavia.
Bergamo: Piazza Vecchia; Palazzo Nuovo; Palazzo della Ragione; Torre del Campanone; Chiesa di Santa Maria Maggiore; the Citadel:the upper city’s western tip; Torre del Gomito; La Rocca (a fortress set in a park); the funicular for spectacular views; the Giardino Botanico; Pinacoteca dell’Accademia Carrara.
Brescia: the Castle on Colle Cidneo, which holds the Museo delle Armi Antiche and the Museo Civico del Rinascimento; the Old Cathedral; the New Cathedral; Il Broletto: a medieval town hall with an 11th century tower,the Torre dell’Orologio; the remains of the Tempio Capitolino and the Roman Theatre.
Mantova: Reggia dei Gonzaga; Castello di San Giorgio; Basilica di Sant’Andrea; Rotonda di San Lorenzo; Palazzo della Ragione; Palazzo Broletto; Torre della Gabbia; casa di Rigoletto; Palazzo del Te includine the Camera dei Giganti,one of the most fantastic and frightening creations of the Reinassance.
Related articles: guide to lake iseo

In this region you can often eat rice, traditionally scented with saffron(it’s called risotto alla milanese), polenta,which is a cornmeal porridge similar to american grits; excellent butter,cream and cheese(such as gorgonzola, taleggio and stracchino); cotoletta alla milanese: a fillet of veal fried in bread crumbs;busecca, sliced tripe boiled with beans; polenta e osei, little polenta cakes filled with jam and topped with yellow icing and chocolate birds; casonsei, ravioli stuffed with meat; cotechino , boiled pork sausage with polenta and panettone, Italy’s Christmas cake.

A story tells how in 1676 the citizens of Bellano sent some representatives to Como to protest against the new weight system imposed by the Spanish. Every year on 5th January in Bellano the Pesa Vecchia reevokes the moment when the representatives came back in town showing a parchment that authorized their request. At the question pesa vecchia o pesa nuova? (old weight or new weight?) the representatives answer pesa nuova! And so begins a parade of boys dragging along the lake coast some tin cans representing the abolished mesures.
On 7th December in Milan it is celebrated the Festa di Sant’Ambrogio: the feast takes place at the Fiera di Milano,the trade, conference and exhibition centre of the city. The first 10 days of June are devoted to the Festa del Naviglio, a smorgasbord of parades , music and other performances.

Lombardy, Italy - map