Italian Lombardy is one of the richest regions in Italy. It stretches from the Alps to the Po plain, from Lake Garda to Milan and Lake Maggiore. On my Lombardy round trip I visited the facets of this exciting region in Italy.
In addition to the numerous lakes that spread throughout the region, Lombardy also has a large number of art and cultural cities worth exploring.
Then let’s discover some parts of this beautiful region on my Lombardy round trip.
The stops on my round trip to Lombardy
My first stop in Brescia is often underestimated because of its industrial belt. Brescia lies between the lakes Lago d‘ Idro, Lago d‘ Ideo and Lago di Garda. But it is not only the proximity to these lakes that makes a trip to Brescia worthwhile. The second largest city of Lombardy has a lot to offer in terms of culture and art history.
I chose this city as the first stop on my tour of Lombardy because the historical centre of Brescia has many cultural monuments.
The Piazza della Loggia – the oldest square in the city – with the adjacent Palazzo della Loggia is the starting point of my city walk through Brescia. Directly opposite the Palazzo is the Torre dell‘ orologio with astronomical clock.
Only a few minutes‘ walk from Piazza della Loggia, in Piazza Paolo VI, you will find the old and the new Cathedral. The Cattedrale di Santa Maria Assunta (new cathedral) is very impressive from the outside.
The new Cathedral – Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta
Inside, the new Cathedral of Brescia offers you a wealth of works of art. Of course, the new cathedral is not that new. Construction work began in the early 17th century and ended with the completion of the large dome in 1825.
The new cathedral has the third largest dome in Italy after St. Peter’s Basilica and the Cathedral of Florence. In addition to the impressive dome, the Cattedrale di Santa Maria Assunta offers numerous works and art treasures of interest.
Der old Cathderal – Concattedrale Invernale di Santa Maria Assunta
The Concattedrale Invernale di Santa Maria Assunta (old cathedral) is located right next to the new cathedral. The outer, inconspicuous impression is deceptive. Inside, the old cathedral also impresses with its rich furnishings.
The Castello di Brescia
Now it goes uphill. The Castello di Brescia is located 15 minutes from the two cathedrals above the town. A nice walk along green footpaths to the entrance gate. The fort is one of the largest fortifications in Italy with an area of 75,000 m2.
At the top I explore the old fortifications of the fort. A beautiful place far away from the Old Town Troubles. The fortress is also known as „Falcone d‘ Italia“ (Italy’s Falcon) because of its high altitude. From here you have a beautiful view over the old town of Brescia and the region.
My Lombardy round trip goes on… uh, wait a minute….
Ok, after this small obstacle, which can be overcome very easily in today’s time, we continue with a stopover at Lago d‘ Iseo.
After this short stopover – unfortunately a bit rainy – we continue to Bergamo.
Bergamo has two faces. The one face is in the plain – the Città bassa. The newer part of the city is located here, but it also offers beautiful views. You can also spend an afternoon shopping here.
The upper part of the city looks very different. The Città alta. It is located on a mountain ridge and has a medieval character. Narrow, winding lanes run through the old town.
You will inevitably reach via Gombito, which together with via Bartolomeo Colleoni is the central artery through the city centre. If you walk from one end to the other, you will pass all the important sights in the Città alta. Finally you arrive at Piazza Vecchia.
Walk towards the cathedral and you will eventually find yourself in the centre of the city. In Piazza Duomo you will see the small battistero, the Cappella Colleoni, the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore and finally the Duomo di Bergamo.
The best view of this ensemble of buildings is from the Campanone Torre Civica, where you can walk or take an elevator to the viewing platform. From here you have a 360° view over the Città alta. But also the Città Bassa, the hilly countryside, can be seen from up here.
I spend the night here in one of the old buildings to see the Città alta also in the evening, when the day tourists have left the old town.
My next destination on the round trip to Lombardy is Cremona – famous for making violins. Amati, Guarneri and Stradivari were located here.
However, Cremona also offers a great view of the city. Especially the Cattedrale di Cremona with Battistero and the Torrazzo (bell tower) are worth a visit.
The interior of the church is richly painted. It is also the big difference that strikes me in relation to many other churches. The interior of this church is incredibly dark.
No sign of white pillars carrying the ceiling. Everything is here in a grey-black. A depressing atmosphere, which I have never felt before in any church.
But also in this church there are bright areas, as you can find in other churches. I find the three-dimensionality suggested by the floor particularly exciting.
After visiting the inside of the Cathedral of Cremona, I am happy to be out in the open air again, although it is rainy there. A short look at the Palazzo Comunale and then my journey should continue.
Mantua is a wonderful Renaissance town, beautifully situated on the river Mincio. It widens at this point and surrounds the city from three sides. The Gonzaga dynasty became one of the most important dynasties in the Renaissance. This is why Mantua today has Renaissance monuments and a large number of historical buildings and squares.
Unfortunately, Mantua is only a stopover on this day, so I couldn’t see the Palazzo Ducale. He was closed at the time of my visit. Unfortunately, I was also unable to visit the Palazzo di Te, which is said to be beautiful.
There are several reasons to visit Mantua again. What had to go fast in Mantua was lunch. And where do you go when you have to go fast? McDonald’s. By the way, it was my only visit to a McDonald’s in Italy so far. But here too I made a small discovery.
At the end of my Lombardy round trip I visit Sirmione. A dreamlike place on Lake Garda.
Sirmione – Pearl on Lake Garda
Sirmione is perhaps the most beautiful place on Lake Garda. Located in the south of Lake Garda, on a peninsula, the village extends far into the lake. The way to the peninsula is impressive. The old Scaliger castle with a ring of walls closes the village from the mainland.
Behind Castello Scaligero there is the small village of Sirmione. Here you can walk through the narrow and winding lanes and take a walk along the lake. Just beautiful of this spot of earth.
Conclusion of my Lombardy round trip
In Sirmione also ends my tour of Lombardy. This region, which is one of the few provinces in Italy that is not situated by the sea, has its own unique charm. On the return trip I drive through the foothills of the Alps and pass numerous lakes.
Impressive cities with many cultural treasures await you on your journey through Lombardy. And then there is Milan, which I didn’t visit during my tour through Lombardy. Lombardy is also the region with the most UNESCO World Heritage sites in Italy. I didn’t know that before I went there either.
Finally, there is Lake Garda. Almost the entire western shore is located in this region and runs from Sirmione in the south via Desenzano and Salò to Limone in the northwest. Dream destinations for every holidaymaker in Italy. Lombardy, I’ll be back.