What is there to see in Lombardy? To start, there are rolling plains and green mountains, villages where time seems to stand still and enchanting cities of art. Lombardy, in north-central Italy, welcomes visitors with its natural beauty and immense historical and cultural heritage.
If you are undecided about the places to see in this magnificent region, we at SIXT offer a selection of Lombard locations that are worth a visit: from pleasant villages nestled on the shores of lakes to charming towns with a past rich in history.
WHAT TO SEE IN LOMBARDY: NATURE
THE HEATHLAND OF GAGGIO
In Lonate Pozzolo, in the province of Varese, lies a natural oasis of more than 2,471 acres: the Gaggio Heath.
Located in Ticino Park, just a stone’s throw from major centers such as Busto Arsizio and Gallarate, this magical place will captivate you with its unique colors. In late May, in fact, the heath turns yellow, while in late summer the heather cloaks it in purple.
Let yourself also be enchanted by the wooded moor, populated by lodgepole pine and white-barked birch.
THE LAVENDER FIELDS OF GODIASCO SALICE TERME
In the heart of Lombard Oltrepò lies a corner of Provence: The lavender fields of Godiasco Salice Terme.
At the end of June, during the flowering period, visitors can admire a breathtaking view and immerse themselves in a landscape full of unique scents and colors. Lavender essential oil, soaps and other handicrafts can be purchased year-round at local farms.
THE OASIS OF SANT’ALESSIO
If you love animals, you will be fascinated by the Sant’Alessio Oasis, located in Sant’Alessio con Vialone, in the province of Pavia. This protected natural area is home to dozens of animal species, including birds and mammals.
The park is managed sustainably through numerous breeding projects and reintroduction of endangered species into the wild. The oasis’ work has allowed the white stork to return to Lombardy. In the spring and summer months, the park holds falconry shows with demonstrations of falcon, owl and eagle flights that enchant young and old alike.
WHAT TO SEE IN LOMBARDY: LAKES
Among the great pre-Alpine lakes, Lake Iseo is rich in magnificent natural vistas and historic villages. The town of Iseo, from which the lake takes its name, captivates visitors with its ancient churches and old four-towered castle.
On the southern shore of the lake lies the Sebino peat bog nature reserve, the largest wetland in the province of Brescia.
In this natural paradise you can come across wonderful bird species such as the red heron and the marsh harrier.
Described as “voluptuous” by the French writer Stendhal, Lake Como has fascinated visitors from all over the world for centuries, attracted by its flowering parks, dense forests and the pleasant villages that dot its shores.
You will be enchanted by the magnificent villas and lush gardens. If you love flowers, plan a visit to the Villa Carlotta botanical garden, which in the spring months welcomes visitors with its azalea and rhododendron blooms, while in summer it wins them over with the color of hydrangeas and the scent of roses.
If you enjoy walking, treat yourself to a relaxing stroll on the Greenway that connects Colonno to Cadenabbia.
With its charming villages and unspoiled landscapes, Lake Idro, in the province of Brescia, is the ideal location for a rejuvenating vacation of sports and relaxation.
You can relax on the pebble and stone beaches and enjoy a variety of sports such as sailing, windsurfing, cycling, trekking and climbing in the Little Brescian Dolomites.
The villages overlooking the lake are definitely worth a visit; among them Idro, a charming village divided into the six hamlets of Pieve Vecchia, Lemprato, Crone, Vesta, Vantone and Tre Capitelli.
WHAT TO SEE IN LOMBARDY: CITIES OF ART
Nestled on the banks of the Ticino River, Pavia is a marvelous city of art that captivates visitors with its many churches, ancient university, Visconti Castle and narrow streets with medieval charm, in which to get lost discovering hidden treasures.
From the Ponte Coperto there is a breathtaking view of Borgo Ticino, a picturesque neighborhood characterized by low, colorful houses. From here reach the statue of the Washerwoman, overlooking the Ticino River, and admire a spectacular view of the historic center with the imposing dome of Pavia’s recently renovated cathedral towering over it.
Corso Strada Nuova, the main street of the historic center, will captivate you with its stores selling artisinal goods, and typical Italian restaurants. Don’t miss a stop at Vigoni’s to taste the real torta paradiso, created right in this ancient Pavia pastry shop.
With its workshops of master violin makers and renowned violin museum, Cremona is a small music capital. You will be fascinated by the sound of violins echoing through the city streets.
Also of great charm is the Piazza del Comune on which stands the Torrazzo, the tallest brick bell tower in Europe.
If you are an art lover, you will be captivated by the frescoes in the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, called the Sistine Chapel of the Po Valley.
Frescoes created by Italy’s greatest artists, imposing palaces and enchanted forests: welcome to Mantua, a magical city where time seems to stand still. Everything here bears witness to the glorious past of the ancient Gonzaga family. Visit the Ducal Palace, enriched by a fresco by the painter Andrea Mantegna, or Palazzo Te, built by the great architect Giulio Romano and located just outside the gate.
Between visits to Renaissance masterpieces and theatrical performances, enjoy a relaxing bike ride on the Peschiera – Mantua bike path, which runs along the Mincio River in a pleasant landscape characterized by hills and wetlands.
Finally, don’t leave town before tasting the famous pumpkin tortelli, characterized by a filling of amaretto and mostarda.
WHAT TO SEE IN LOMBARDY: HIDDEN VILLAGES
Located in the Staffora Valley, in the heart of the Oltrepò pavese, Varzi is a small village with eight centuries of history behind it. Admire the ancient Via del Mercato, lined with a double row of arcades dating from the 14th and 16th centuries, the Via della Maiolica and the Vicolo Dietro le Mura.
The wooden doors, wall forms and porch windows transport visitors to the medieval period. The Witches’ Tower, built in the 12th century, will captivate you with its mysterious history related to the Inquisition period.
Treat yourself to a stop at the centrally located Piazza della Fiera and stop at local restaurants to taste the world-famous Varzi D.O.P. salami.
TREMOSINE SUL GARDA
Tremosine sul Garda, in the province of Brescia, is a wonderful village located in the Alto Garda Bresciano Regional Park, where Alpine and Mediterranean atmospheres blend in perfect balance.
Admire the houses of Pieve, capital of the other 17 hamlets that make up the municipality of Tremosine, which can be reached via the steep Forra road, carved by the Brasa stream.
In the hamlet of Campione you can observe dozens of sails plying the waves of Lake Garda all year round. Between hikes on the many mule tracks, taste Tremosine formagella, a typical product made from fresh alpine milk.
Famous for its festivals that attract thousands of tourists, Castiglione Olona is a village located halfway between Lake Como and Lake Varese, just an hour from Milan.
The historic center every first Sunday of the month is enlivened by the Cardinal’s Fair, while in July it hosts the Palio dei Castelli.
Enjoy a relaxing stroll along the Olona River and admire the village’s rich artistic heritage. You will be won over by the Collegiate Church complex, especially the Baptistery, which houses Masolino da Panicale’s 15th-century frescoes.
Rent with SIXT in Lombardy
Enjoy Lombardy to the fullest with a premium car rental from SIXT. Pick up an SUV in Bergamo before going on a hiking adventure in the mountains, or choose a luxury sedan in Milan and have plenty of room to fit shopping bags in the trunk. Our locations throughout the region make it easy to take an Italian road trip.