Located to the south of Switzerland, Lombardy is a unique and stunning region of varying landscapes, from the beautiful Alpine area to the renowned Lakes region. Settled originally in 2000 BC, the area was ruled by the Romans to great success, growing to one of the most prosperous regions in Italy. After the fall of the Western Empire, Lombardy deteriorated under the strain of numerous invasions but recovered through increased trade and agricultural development through the 13th century. Though internal strife negatively affected the area in the 14th century, Lombardy joined the Kingdom of Italy in the 1800’s and has become the most developed and prosperous region in Italy. Milan, the capital and economic center of Lombardy, is one of the world’s cultural touchstones and is a leader in the arts and in the fields of architecture and fashion.
Of the twenty regions in Italy, Lombardy is perhaps the most diverse in its landscape as well as the wide range of cultural experiences available, from the chic streets of Milan to the famous ski resorts of the Dolomites to the peaceful beauty of Lake Como. Perhaps the most famous of Lombardy’s sites is located in the convent of the Santa Maria delle Grazie church in Milan: Leonardo da Vinci’s painting “The Last Supper” has drawn millions to marvel at the mural. For those who are seeking an outdoor experience, Lombardy has 133 protected parks, reserves and sites that showcase waterfalls, glaciers and woodland areas.