Whilst Garda, Como and Maggiore continue to seduce, the wider region of Lombardy offers so much more beyond its great lakes. Palaces and fortresses drape the rolling hills of the region, peaceful Lake Iseo offers a sense of tranquillity, and characterful towns nurture medieval cores. These provincial masterpieces boast extravagant architecture and spectacular artworks, yet somehow they remain free of crowds. Wonderful regional wines are produced thanks to the rich, fertile plains and beyond these, mountain valleys are occupied by stunning cities such as Bergamo and Brescia. These treasure troves of history and culture are endlessly fascinating and impossibly graceful, showing off art and artefacts at every turn, inside and out.
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The bustling city of Bergamo is a majestic medieval masterpiece with history, culture and music at its heart. The historic core of the city sits atop a hill and is divided from the lower city by Venetian walls, which afford spectacular views of the surrounding Lombardy region. Explore the charming cobbled streets, take in the lovely architecture from different eras and visit the city’s fascinating churches, picturesque piazzas and outstanding museums and galleries.
Housed inside a natural cave located in a mountain overlooking the Imagna Valley, this sanctuary has been adapted into a functioning place of worship over hundreds of years. Today a place of meditation and peace, it is a popular destination for pilgrimages as it has ties to the late Pope John XXIII.
Beautiful Brescia is an artistic and archaeological delight. With no less than four grand, historic squares, it boasts Roman remains dating back to the 1st century, an 8th century monastic complex, two cathedrals, Venetian architecture and a fascinating astronomical clock. A fascinating selection of museums accompany this living history. Brescia is also in the heart of a European Region of Gastronomy, meaning that the food is a delight at almost every turn.
Tucked unobtrusively between the larger lakes Garda and Como, this hidden gem is nevertheless the fourth largest lake in northern Italy. Loaded with the charm and beauty of its more famous neighbours, it sees just a fraction of the visitors. Idyllic Iseo, romantic Lovere, splendid Tavernola Bergamasca or charming Sarnico are the perfect towns for soaking up atmospheric alleyways, elaborate churches, collections of fine art and impossibly beautiful vistas.
Once an Etruscan village, Mantua (Mantova) was transformed during the Renaissance period by the powerful House of Gonzaga. Today, the grandeur of this family remains to be seen in the town’s architecture, which includes the grand Palazzo Ducale and the wonderful Palazzo Te. The interiors of these spectacular palaces are adorned with incredible frescoes.
4 minute read
As Italy’s second city, Milan’s reputation as an economic powerhouse and a hub for fashion and design is inescapable. Heavily developed during the post-war period, the city is associated with modernity and rationalist architecture. Its status as a centre for business and finance is reiterated by the fast pace of...
By Jo Blair
16th Sept 2019
Hand picked destinations
A rural jewel set between the sparkling Lakes Como and Iseo, Italy's Imagna Valley is a lush green oasis that remains relatively untouched by tourism.
Loaded with the charm and beauty of its more famous neighbours, Lake Iseo sees just a fraction of the visitors, therefore making it the perfect place to soak up atmospheric alleyways, elaborate churches and impossibly beautiful vistas of northern Italy.
Glittering like a sapphire amongst the vibrant green hills and craggy mountains, Lake Garda is a destination that has it all. Italy’s largest lake has been inspirational for centuries, with its crystalline waters, characterful towns and picturesque vineyards.
Peaceful and serene, Lake Maggiore straddles both Italy and Switzerland, and basks elegantly against the snowy backdrop of the Swiss Alps. Surfacing from the crystalline blue waters, the Borromean Islands are the jewels of the lake.