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Lombardy

Lombardy is one of the 20 regions of Italy. The region is located in the northwestern part of the country and it’s one of Italy’s biggest cultural hubs. Lombardy is home to a large section of the Alps as well as numerous nature parks and reserves with amazing recreational facilities. There are 3489 named mountains in Lombardy, the highest of which is La Spedla (4,020 m / 13,188 ft) and the most prominent of which is Pizzo di Coca (3,050 m / 10,006 ft).

Lombardy, Italy

Naming of the Region

The name of the region of Lombard comes from the Latin word Longobardus. According to popular accounts, the word Longobardus itself translated into English means “long beard.” This is what the region’s inhabitants called the Germanic peoples who came to the area from the Elbe River Valley in northern Germany and the historic province of Scania in southern Sweden.

The Lombards invaded what is now Italy when it was mostly controlled by the Byzantine Empire. By about 568, the Lombards ruled over almost all of what is now Italy with the exception of Rome, Venice, and some southern territories throughout the early Middle Ages. The Lombards effectively lost control over much of their territory by 774.

As is the case throughout most of Italy, modern Lombards primarily call themselves Lombards, not Italians. This means they identify themselves primarily with their native region and even its individual provinces, rather than with the whole country. This is perhaps an understandable tradition, because the modern state of Italy first appeared on political maps very recently in 1861.

Do note that the Italian name of the region is Lombardia, with emphasis on the last syllable. This is also the name of the region in the Lombard dialect, which is spoken throughout parts of northern Italy and southern Switzerland.

Lombardy, Italy

Geography

The region of Lombardy is located in the geographical center of the northern part of Italy. It is bordered by Piedmont in the west, Trentino-Alto Adige / Südtirol (Trento and Bolzano) and Veneto in the east, and Emilia-Romagna (Bologna) in the south. The northern border of the region runs exactly along the border between Italy and Switzerland in the Alps.

Lombardy is the fourth largest (23.864 sq km / 9.213 sq mi) region in Italy after Sicily, Piedmont and Sardinia. It is the largest in the whole country in terms of population as it has a population of nearly 10 million people (2021). In fact, Lombardy has as many people as Lazio and Campania combined.

The region of Lombardy is made up of 12 provinces, 6 of which are mountainous areas. These highly mountainous provinces are Varese, Como, Lecco, Bergamo, Sondrio, and Brescia in the north and Pavia in the south.

Piz Bernina, Lombardy, Italy

Piz Bernina

Getting to & Around Lombardy

The accessibility of regional transportation is one of the distinct advantages of the region of Lombardy.

Since Lombardy is one of the most developed regions in the country, it is easily and quickly accessible from anywhere in Italy, from neighboring countries, or even from the most remote corners of the world.

Lombardy's main transportation hub is in Milan. The city is home to the region’s two main airports: Milan Malpensa and Milan Bergamo Airport also known as Il Caravaggio Orio al Serio International Airport.

Interestingly, Bergamo Airport is the third busiest in the country after Rome and Milan and one of the top 50 busiest in Europe. This is because of the many budget airlines that fly here from England and other European countries.

Lombardy, Italy

From these airports, you can travel around Lombardy by car or by public transport. The two main train companies in the region are the regional operator Trenord and the national operator Trenitalia. Buses operate in the region, too, but they’re difficult to navigate—even for locals.

Finally, there are two other ways to travel around the region: by water and by bicycle.

All five major lakes in the region are accessible via various ferries. However, these ferries are almost non-existent in winter. To find schedules for operating ferries, use the website Navigazionelaghi.it.

Lombardy, on the other hand, has a huge number of bicycle paths in each town and between them. You can find the routes on Italian maps by looking for the words pista ciclabile.

For example, one such road located in Lombardy leads from the city of Bergamo along one of the main mountain valleys in the region, Brembana. This path is called Ciclovia Valle Brembana and it is about 40 km (24.8 mil) long one way with an elevation gain of about 300 m (984 ft). This and other cycle paths are a great way to get around the region in a healthy and environmentally friendly way.

Geology and Landscape

The landscape of Lombardy is extremely diverse and includes two main zones: the plain and the mountains.

Piz Roseg, Lombardy, Italy

Piz Roseg

Po River Plain

Most of the territory of the region (about 47 percent) is a vast plain, which, in turn, is commonly divided into upper (Alta) and lower (Bassa). This plain is formed by the River Po, the longest in Italy (652 km / 405 mi), and it occupies the entire territory of northern Italy, not just Lombardy. The Po River plain is also known as the Padan Plain or Padan Valley from its Latin name.

The valley is characterized by various types of fertile soils, which were formed by alluvial deposits. Alluvial sediment is usually created when flowing waters reach a level or gently sloping area, causing sediments to fall out of suspension.

This wide gently sloping region is evident in Lombardy, where the Po is located in a large valley between two mountain ranges: the Alps and the Apennines.

That said, the Po River is the main, but not the only river in the region. In addition to it, there are other rivers such as Olona, Lambro, Adda, Oglio, Mincio, Brembo, and Imagna, among others.

Piz Roseg, Lombardy, Italy

The Alps and the Prealps

The Alps and Prealps occupy about 41 percent of the region of Lombardy.

The two most famous hilly areas in the region can be found around Bergamo and Brescia. These regions are home to two important nature parks: Parco dei Colli di Bergamo and Parco delle Colline di Brescia.

The region’s hills and the lower slopes of its mountains up to about 2,000 meters (6,561 ft) in elevation are covered with beech, birch, spruce, pine, and mixed forests. You can also find a lot of cypresses, olive and citrus trees, thanks to the region’s special Mediterranean microclimate.

The geology of the mountainous part of Lombardy includes about a dozen different geological layers.

In particular, the Bergamo Alps, the largest mountain group in Lombardy, formed during the Miocene about 20 million years ago. The rocks that form this mountain range are a mix of gneiss, mica, phyllite, sandstone, dolomite, and limestone.

Tuff and porphyry are also found in some mountainous areas of the region. These were formed here by the eruption of volcanoes in the southern part of the Po Valley.

Piz Roseg, Lombardy, Italy

The Apennines

Lombardy is so big that it extends all the way to the Apennines, the major mountain range that runs down the spine of the boot of the Italian Peninsula.

To the south of the Po River, there is also a small subregion known as Oltrepo Pavese. This subregion is located in the province of Pavia in the foothills of the Apennines. It is famous because of its vineyards, which are known for producing excellent pinot noir (pinot nero). The region is sometimes called the “Tuscany of Northern Italy.”

Lakes

The famous Lake District of Italy, which includes the large lakes Maggiore, Lugano, Como, Iseo, and Garda, formed between 250 and 26 million years ago. It was sculpted by the glaciers that once covered much of Europe.

In fact, all of these lakes are of glacial origin, which accounts for their elongated shape and small width, and yet great depth. The largest of the lakes is Garda, and the deepest is Como, with depths of up to 400 meters (1,312 feet).

In addition, there are many other smaller lakes in the region such as Idro, Varese, Comabbio, Piano, Moro, Gemelli, Nero, Annone, Alserio, Mezzola, Pisiano, and Endine, among others. Some of these lakes are high-elevation glacial lakes that are accessible only to hikers, or, in some cases, with the help of cable cars.

Monte Legnone, Como Lake, Lombardy, Italy

Como Lake

Mountain Passes

Mountain Lombardy also has several dozen famous mountain passes that attract fans of all kinds of sports, mainly hiking, skiing, cycling.

As a cyclist myself, it’s my duty to mention three passes that are particularly important: Spluga Pass, Stelvio Pass, and Ganda Pass (1,100 m / 3,608 ft). If you’re traveling through Lombardy, these passes are well worth a visit.

Valleys

Last but not least, the Lombardy region, according to the official tourist website, has at least 112 mountain valleys. The largest ones are: Val Seriana, Val Cavallina, Val Brembana, Val Camonica and Valtellina. In my opinion, these valleys are quite urbanized and noisy, so for a more relaxed trip, I recommend choosing smaller valleys, they will be less touristy.

Other famous valleys that are worth checking out are Val Astino, Val Imagna, Val Brembilla, and Val Taleggio.

Piz Bernina, Lombardy, Italy

Human History

The region of Lombardy has a human history that goes back thousands of years. To describe it completely would require a separate guide, so here are the most important bits of Lombard history that you ought to know.

Early Settlement of Lombardy

The first people settled in this territory as early as the Bronze and Iron Ages (3300–332 BCE). This is evidenced by the more than 300,000 rock drawings left by the Camuni people, the ancient inhabitants of the Camonica Valley.

One of these drawings, a representation of some flower similar to the rose, Rosa camuna (Camunian Rose), is the official logo of the region. These rock drawings in Valcamonica are a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Lake Iseo, Italy, Monte Isola, Lombardy, Italy

Roman Empire

Like the other peoples of the Alps, the Camunians fell to the Romans when the Roman Empire expanded northward. The geography and climate of what is now Lombardy made the region one of the most developed and populated areas in the Empire. But it was conquered by Germanic tribes after the fall of the Western Roman Empire by the year 476 CE.

Middle Ages in Lombardy

After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, the region went through a long series of political transformations in which it changed its name, borders, kings, and so on.

Consecutively, it was a part of the Kingdom of the Lombards (568–774), the Holy Roman Empire (800/962—1806), the Cisalpine Republic in the Napoleonic Kingdom of Italy (1805–1814), and the Kingdom of Lombardy-Venetia (1815–1866).

It also should be noted separately that from 1395 to 1447 and then from 1450 to 1796, the current capital of the region, Milan, was, in fact, a separate state under the name of the Duchy of Milan. It was created by the noble Italian Visconti family and included 26 towns.

medieval castle of Brescia city, Lombardy, Italy

Medieval castle of Brescia city

Late Modern & Contemporary Lombardy

After joining the new version of the Kingdom of Italy (1861–1946), Lombardy took on its modern territorial shape by also incorporating the Oltrepo Pavese subregion into the province of Pavia. Lombardy subsequently became part of the Republic of Italy at the time of its formation in 1946.

Ranges and Summits

Within the two major mountain ranges of Lombardy (the Alps and Apennines), there are six major mountain sub-ranges and about a dozen smaller mountain groups.

In the Alps and Prealps, these mountain groups include:

Punta Cassana, Livigno, Lombardy, Italy

Punta Cassana

In the Apennines, the primary mountain group in Lombardy is the Ligurian Apennines.

Major Summits

Among the most interesting peaks of the region, there are 8 mountains that are particularly noteworthy:

  • Piz Bernina (4,048 m / 13,283 ft) is the highest peak in the Bernina Range, the Rhaetian Alps, and all of the Eastern Alps. It is located close to the famous St. Moritz Ski Resort. The mountain is also one of the most prominent peaks (2,231 m / 7,319 ft) in the Alps.
  • La Spedla / Punta Perrucchetti (4,020 m / 13,188 ft) is part of the Italian section of the Piz Bernina massif. It is the highest peak in Lombardy, though it is located on the border with Switzerland. It is also one of the 50 highest peaks in the Alps.
  • Pizzo di Coca (3,050 m / 10,006 ft) is the most prominent mountain in the region (1,878 m / 6,161 ft) and the highest in the Bergamo Alps and Prealps. It is also one of the three ultra-prominent mountains in the region with a prominence of 1,500 m (4,921 f).
  • Presolana Occidentale (2,521 m / 8,270 ft) is one of the major peaks in the eastern Bergamo Alps. It is also known as “The Queen of Orobie Alps” for its size and beauty. The mountain attracts hikers and climbers because of the difficult conditions that one must face to reach the summit.
  • Grigna Settentrionale (2,410 m / 7,906 ft) is the third most prominent mountain (1,683 m / 5,521 ft) in Lombardy. The mountain is located near the city of Lecco, and it is incredibly popular among its residents and Milanese people.
  • Monte Resegone (1,875 m / 6,165 ft) is another city symbol of Lecco. It is a very long mountain with a huge number of sharp peaks, all of which look like a huge wall defending Lecco from the north.
  • Cardinello (2,520 m / 8,267 ft) is one of the highest peaks of the Lepontine Alps of Italy. It is located right on the border with Switzerland and is the most recognizable dominant feature along the northern part of Lake Como. The summit can be seen well beyond the town of Mandello del Lario.
  • Monte Misma (1,161 m / 3,809 ft) is a relatively small mountain that’s located half an hour from Bergamo between the Seriana and Cavallina valleys. However, it offers one of the best views, not only of the city's surroundings and two valleys, but also of the entire Bergamo Alps, which from the mountain appears as a single, continuous wall. From here, you can see all its main peaks, as well as the other mountain groups of Lombardy and the neighboring regions.
  • Monte Lesima (1,724 m / 5,656 ft) is the highest peak in the southern part of the province of Lombardy in the Oltrepo Pavese region. It is part of the Apennines. The mountain is not notable for its shape, but it is known for its summit radar, which predicts rainfall in real-time with surprising accuracy.

Grigna Settentrionale, Lombardy, Italy

Grigna Settentrionale

Best Hikes in Lombardy

Thanks to its mountains, the region of Lombardy is a great place for hiking. It has everything that usually interests a hiker, climber, or mountaineer, such as nature parks and long hiking trails.

Here are some of the best places to check out during a visit to Lombardy.

Hiking Areas

In all, there are more than a hundred different natural areas in the region of Lombardy. These can be divided into three large groups: national parks, regional nature parks, and nature reserves.

National Parks

Stelvio National Park is Lombardy’s only national park. It is located in the north of the region on the border with Switzerland in the Ortler Alps. It is the fourth largest park in Italy (1.307 sq km / 504 sq mi), and its highest peak, Cima Ortler (3,905 m / 12,812 ft), is listed as one of the 50 highest in the Alps.

The park is also famous for the Passo dello Stelvio (2,757 m / 9,045 ft), which features many twists and turns. Almost every year the main Italian bicycle race, the Giro d'Italia, rides down the Passo dello Stelvio.

Regional Nature Parks

There are at least 24 major regional nature parks in Lombardy. Some of the most interesting nature parks in the region include:

Parco della Grigna Settentrionale, Lombardy, Italy

Parco della Grigna Settentrionale

Nature Reserves

Various nature reserves are also located throughout the region of Lombardy. There are more than 65 in total according to the official Italian parks website, Parks.it.

As a rule, these reserves are small in area but of great importance in terms of nature conservation. Access to these reserves may occasionally be limited, but most are open to hiking.

For example, on my recent hike up Monte Misma, I discovered a small and interesting reserve at its foot in the Valpredina Valley called Riserva Naturale Oasi WWF ZSC Valpredina-Misma. It is a wildlife refuge that helps to treat sick and injured animals before releasing them back into nature.

waterfall, Lombardy, Italy

Long Hiking Trails

Lombardy region has a huge variety of hiking trails. According to its official tourist website, there are at least 6,700 km (4,163 mi) of marked hiking trails in the region. Here are some of the longest trails in Lombardy that are suitable for multi-day trekking trips:

  • Via Verde Varesina (The Varesian Green Way) is a whole system of trails of varying degrees of difficulty in the vicinity of Varese to the northwest of Milan.I recommend the section along the shore of the lake between Luino and Maccagnio if you only have one day to hike. The total length of the system is around 100 km (62.1 mi).
  • Sentiero del Viandante (The Wayfarer's Trail) is the route along the entire eastern shore of Como Lake between beautiful Italian towns. The route consists of four stages of 10 km (6.2 mi) each. I’ve done all the stages of the route and they are all absolutely worth hiking. But in the north of the lake, you’ll see many more snow-covered mountains in winter than in the south. The length of the route is 45 km (27.9 mi).
  • Antica Strada Valeriana (The Ancient Valeriana Road) is a route that follows along the whole eastern shore of Iseo Lake. Before the highway along the lake was built, it was the only road that connected the inhabitants of lowland Italy and Brescia in particular to the Camonica Valley. I recommend hiking the Marone—Pisogne section in two days rather than one via Corna Trentapassi (1,244 m / 4,081 ft). Although it is not located on the official route, it offers a spectacular view of the lake. The total distance of the Strada Valeriana along the lake is 25 km (15.5 mi).
  • Sentiero dei Giganti (The Giant's Trail) is a route around the Imagna Valley. It is one of the most non-touristy routes in the province of Bergamo. It offers you a chance to see a world of old Alpine architecture and the natural beauty around it. The route is 30 km (18.6 mi) long.
  • Sentiero delle Orobie (The Bergamo Alps Trail) is probably the most popular long trekking route in Lombardy. It takes you around the central and northern parts of the Bergamasque Alps and Prealps. It’s so big that the creators of the route from the local office of Club Alpino Italiano Bergamo had to split it into two parts: Western (Sentiero delle Orobie Occidentali—7 days) and Eastern (Sentiero delle Orobie Orientali—8 days). The total length is 160 km (99.4 mil).
  • Alta Via della Valtellina (The Valtellina High Route) is an even longer route that consists of 25 stages of about 10–20 km (6.2–12.4 miles) each. It goes around the entire Valtellina Valley, the largest in the region, on the border with Switzerland. The name Alta Via refers to the two most famous routes in the Dolomites—Alta Via 1 and Alta Via 2—and suggests that it runs at an elevation of about 2,000 m (3,280 ft) or more. The total length is 530 km (329.3 mi).

Val Ghilarda and Lago d'Arno, Lombardy, Italy

Val Ghilarda and Lago d'Arno

Points of Interest

In Lombardy, there are also numerous points of interest, which include, for example, different natural monuments of regional, national, European, and even global importance.

An example of such a point of interest is the Monumento Naturale della Valle del Brunone in Imagna The monument is characterized by the presence of ancient sulfur springs near a small waterfall and important paleontological artifacts from the Upper Triassic.

Another great point of interest to check out is the collection of rock carvings in the Camonica Valley, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Ski Resorts

Ski and snowboard enthusiasts will find more than 30 ski resorts in Lombardy. The region can be seen as a great alternative to the neighboring ski areas of Dolomiti Superski and Skirama Dolomiti Adamello Brenta.

The largest resort in Lombardy is the Livigno Ski Area, which is located in the north of the province in the Livigno Alps at an elevation of 1,816 m (5,958 ft). The resort offers 70 slopes (6 black, 29 red, and 35 blue) with a total distance of 115 km (71.4 mi), as well as 30 km (18.6 mi) of cross country skiing trails. There are 32 different ski lifts (6 cableways, 14 chairlifts, and 10 ski lifts).

The list of other resorts include such famous ski areas as Alpe Teglio, Bormio, Brembo Ski, Cima Piazzi, PontediLegno-Tonale, Piani di Bobbio near Lecco, and others.

The highest lift and ski trail in Livigno Ski Resort is “Carosello 3000,” which has starting and finishing points at 2,225 m (7,299 ft) and 2,761 m (9,058 ft), respectively. The lift and slope operating hours are 8 am to 4:40 pm daily.

You can check out real-time information about the resort using the Winter Mode feature in PeakVisor.

Resort Livigno, Lombardy, Italy

Resort Livigno, Lombardy

Lombardy Ski Resorts COVID-19 Updates

Most of the ski resorts in Lombardy are open again after two years of disruption due to COVID-19. However, there may still be some restrictions on access to the slopes, hotels, and restaurants at the region’s resorts.

Note that you will generally be required to follow basic social distancing and mask wearing rules whenever you’re indoors or in an enclosed lift. You will likely need a valid Green Pass (Italian Health Certificate), too. Check for up-to-date information about the resort at its official site before your trip.

Info Points and Tourist Information

Before or during your trip, be sure to check out the website of the Official Tourism Board of the Lombardy Region, In-lombardia.it. Here, you will find more information about the region.

When you’re in Lombardy, make sure to visit one of the info points, which are located in all of the region’s major cities and resorts, including the central one in the heart of Milan:

Ufficio Turismo del Comune di Milano

Piazza Duomo, 14, Milano, Lombardy, Italy

+390288455555

infotourist@comune.milano.it

In-lombardia.it

Accommodation Options in Lombardy

For overnight stays in the mountains of Lombardy, you can choose one of the basic types of accommodation that other regions have, namely mountain huts, bivouacs, campsites, hotels, and B&Bs, and tent camping.

Azzoni refuge, Lombardy, Italy

Mountains Huts

In total, there are about 150–200 major mountain huts in the region. In Lombardy, these rifugios can be found literally at each mountain or on each pass, so they are easy enough to find on any trip.

Of all these rifugios, three are worth mentioning: rifugio Azzoni on Mount Resegone overlooking Lecco, rifugio Laghi Gemelli (1,968 m / 6,456 ft) by the lakes of the same name in Bergamasque Alps Nature Park, and rifugio Lupi on the pass near Pizzo Cerro (1,285 m / 4,215 ft) between Brembilla and Brembana valleys.

Bivouacs

The most famous bivouac of the region is definitely bivacco Spaziale (2,184 m / 7,165 ft) on Grigna Meridionale / Monte Grignetta (2,184 m / 7,165 ft).

It is located above the town of Lecco, and it looks like a small spaceship from a Steven Spielberg or James Cameron movie that happened to land in Lombardy. (Perhaps it did, all the “space” stuff was removed from it, and it was camouflaged as a bivacco for hikers and climbers. Or maybe not.)

Campsites

There are campsites located along all of the major lakes in Lombardy. In particular, check out Dervio on Como Lake, but be sure to book your sites well in advance to avoid disappointment.

Hotels and B&Bs

Lombardy has many hotels and B&Bs to cater to any budget. Number one on my list is the hotel Conca Verde surrounded by greenery in the village of Zone on the Antica Strada Valeriana on Iseo Lake.

I also liked the B&B and residence Abbazia di Piona on Como Lake, which offers the best view of the lake. There’s also the real family Alpine hotel Corona in the village of Branzi in the Brembana Valley and the trendy hotel Da Giorgio in the village of Ardesio in the Seriana Valley.

Abbazia di Piona, Lombardy, Italy

Agriturismos

Agriturismos, which are hotels on farms (or vice versa), are also very popular in the region. One such example in the Imagna Valley is Agriturismo Scuderia della Valle, which features a huge zoo with dozens of animals.

Wild Camping

Finally, you can pitch a tent in the Alps if you come prepared with the right equipment.

Technically, wild camping is officially forbidden in the Italian Alps. But there is a loophole that says that you can camp legally if you accidentally get benighted on the trail. It’s generally best to avoid getting caught out in the mountains after nightfall, but you can camp if need be.

Cities and Resorts

Navigating Italy’s most populous region can be difficult even for its residents, let alone first-time visitors.

Here’s some information about the largest towns and resorts in Lombardy that you should look for when planning your adventures in the region. Since the north of the region is the most interesting for outdoor enthusiasts, we’ll focus primarily on communities in that part of Lombardy.

Greater Milan

Your journey to Lombardy will probably start with Milan, the capital of the region, which today has 1.3 million inhabitants. It is so big that it even has several dozen skyscrapers.

The city of Milan is surrounded by many smaller cities, which, however, are also quite large compared to the villages and resorts in the mountain valleys of Lombardy. Some popular cities include Monza, Treviglio, Busto Arsizio, and Varese, among others.

Milan, Lombardy, Italy

Cities and Resorts on the Lakes

It often makes more sense to choose one of the cities located on the famous lakes as your travel base.

  • Maggiore Lake A potential town to visit here is Maccagno. Other potentially more interesting towns on the lake include Angera, Ispra, Laveno, and Luino, the latter of which is highly recommended.
  • Como Lake – The two largest towns are Como and Lecco. They are equally great, but, in my opinion, both are quite noisy, as the intercity roads from Milan to Switzerland run through them. Between them, at the end of the peninsula out into the lake, you will find the famous village of Bellagio. It is known for its villas and beautiful views of the central park of the lake.
  • Iseo Lake – There are no big cities on Iseo Lake, but you can stay in Sarnico, Iseo, and Marone. Above Marone, there are magnificent olive groves on the mountains and the locally famous Piramidi di Zone Nature Reserve (a series of limestone pillars near the village of Zone). You might also check out Lovere at the northern end of the lake, which is on the list of the most beautiful in Italy (Borghi più belli dell'Italia).
  • Garda Lake – On Garda Lake, the largest lake in Italy, every town is essentially a tourist center. My advice: Skip Desenzano del Garda and Limone sul Garda—they attract all the people. Take a closer look at Toscolano Maderno and Salo and Lido di Manerba. Not far from the latter there is a small nature reserve and archeological site with a museum that offers stunning views of the southern broad part of the lake.

Garda Lake, Lombardy, Italy

Garda Lake

Bergamo and Brescia Provinces

Just a short drive from Milan, you can find two other large cities, Bergamo and Brescia. I would say that they are also a kind of gateways to the mountains. Bergamo is located at the foot of the Bergamasque Prealps and Prealps and Brescia is close to the Brescia and Garda Prealps.

In addition, they are themselves very beautiful and interesting cities where you can easily spend a week or more and not get bored.

In Bergamo, for example, there is a nice area of Ponteranica-Sorisole in the Bergamo Hills Nature Park. Or check out the mountains in Sant’Omobono Terme, Brembilla or San Pellegrino Terme, which are the capitals of the three closest valleys to Bergamo: Imagna, Brembilla and Brembana.

The largest towns in the vicinity of Brescia are Lumezzane, Rezzato, and others. One good place to check out is Paderno Franciacorta, which is the center of the famous Franciacorta wine region between Brescia and Lake Iseo. It features a cycle route of the same name along 60 kilometers (37.2 miles) of vineyards.

Bergamo, Lombardy, Italy

Other Cities & Resorts

From Milan, you can also go straight to the high mountains through one of the three largest valleys in the region—Seriana, Camonica, and Valtellina. Each is home to its own communities that would take a lifetime to explore. They are also a great base for hikes, especially if your goal is mountains rather than lakes or cities.

Here’s what you need to know about each valley:

  • Seriana Valley – The largest and most important towns in the Seriana Valley are Albino, Selvino, Clusone, Ardesio, and Valbondione. The first is closest to Bergamo but the latter two are notable because they are located on Sentiero delle Orobie. Ardesio is the start of the entire Orobie Route. From Valbondione, you can start an ascent of Pizzo Coca, the highest peak of the entire province of Lombardy, and you can hike to the Serio Falls (Cascate del Serio), which are the largest in Italy.
  • Camonica Valley – The Camonica Valley, on the left side of the Adamello-Presanella Alps group, has no large towns, but there are many smaller ones that are almost unknown to tourists. These include Pisogne, Edolo, Costa Volpino, Darfo Boario Terme, and Breno. Here, you can also visit the Natural Archeological Parks of Camonica Valley, which contains the largest collection of cave paintings in the country.
  • Valtellina Valley – The Valtellina Valley is the furthest from Milan, Bergamo, Brescia, and the lakes. It separates the Bergamasque Alps and Prealps from the Val Bregaglia Range and the Bernina Range, half of which is in Switzerland. The two largest towns in the valley are Morbegno and Sondrio.

Moving further east and then northeast you reach the most remote corner of Lombardy. The main centers of tourism here are Tirano, Livigno and Ponte di Legno. They are also the largest ski resorts in the region, located on the slopes of Livigno-Alps.

Seriana Valley, Lombardy, Italy

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