Situated in the Northwest of Italy and bordering Switzerland, the region of Lombardy may have the reputation for being one of the more industrial areas of the country, but it is in fact still filled with beautiful countryside. The landscape ranges from rolling hills populated with vineyards to flat rice producing plains, the alpine scenery of Valchiavenna and Valtellina to the wistful and romantic lakes Maggiore, Como, Garda and the calmer Lake Iseo, which have been popular holiday destinations for many years. Fun fact: olive oil that is made on the shores of Lake Iseo and Lake Garda is particularly prized in Italy!
Also contrasting its industrialism, Lombardy is home to many artisanal, family owned food and wine producers, many of which can be found in the Oltrepò Pavese area, its name deriving from its location south of the River Po. It’s the largest wine producing area in Lombardy, and of the Pinot Nero grape in particular. If you’re travelling to the area for a wine experience, we recommend staying at Prime Alture, a hotel located on its very own vineyard, where you taste their amazing produce every night. It is also in close proximity to discover some of the delicious artisanal, local products of the region. Make your way to the Caseificio F.lli Cavanna shop in Rivanazzano Terme, to shop like a local and try their array of cheeses, such as stafforella, which is their trademark product. They also sell products by other family businesses, and a must try is Magrotti salami (their premium product being the salame di Varzi), which is cured in old-fashioned cellars, and produced under very strict regulations that enable it to be certified by the European PDO stamp, meaning it is upheld as a local delicacy.
Other delicacies the region is famous for include risotto rice which is grown on the vast, flat plains of the area, and is used to make one of Lombardy’s signature dishes, Risotto Milanese, which has a distinct, vivid yellow colour due to the inclusion of saffron. We’re sure you can get your chops on one such dish in one of Lombardy’s top restaurants, after all, they do have the highest concentration of Michelin starred eateries in Italy. Many of these will of course be in the metropolitan epicentre of Milan – where Prime Alture supply their wine to all but two of the Michelin restaurants in the city – which is the perfect spot to immerse yourself in history and of course fashion, being known as one of the world’s most important fashion capitals. But make sure you also visit other notable cities including Cremona, famous for its violin making heritage and links to Stardivarius, Bergamo and Mantova, which hosts a renowned annual literary festival each September. And of course, who could forget picture perfect Pavia, with its amazing architecture, prestigious university
(with alumni including Christopher Colombus!) and the Certosa di Pavia, the Gothic/Renaissance style monastery complex housing many important paintings and frescoes.