Lombardy is one of the world’s most surprising regions. World renown for its food, culture, fashion, joy for life and of course its football! You must visit Lombardy and the Oltrepò Pavese area at least once in your life. Then see if you can stay away.
Lombardy is the fourth largest of Italy’s twenty regions and is one of the most varied scenically. It lies in the center of northern Italy, and is replete with its own natural beauty which makes it unique and incomparable. The region is punctuated by the great lakes of northern Italy, which have a combined area of about 1000 square kilometers. They are said to be the most famous, most attractive and amongst the biggest in Western Europe. The Alps form a natural barrier to the north. Southwards, past the foothills of the Alps, stretches the misty plains where the Po River runs.
Milan, the capital of Lombardy, and Italy’s commercial and industrial hub, lies in the upper plain, slightly west of the centre of the region. Milan has a population fast approaching one quarter of the region’s total of 9 million people. Milan is recognized as one of the world’s principal design and fashion centres, with elegant and expensive shops which rival any in Paris, London or Berlin.
Further south lies rich agricultural land from which crop yields are the greatest in all of Italy. Known as the Po Valley, it is flat and fertile and dotted with historic towns and villages. Apart from the lakes, the Po valley is undoubtedly the best-known natural feature of Lombardy, with the river itself forming the region’s southern boundary for much of its length. In the heart of the Po Valley lies the city of Pavia, a city of class and prestige that was once the capital of the region and is also the site of one of Europe’s oldest universities and a magnificent Carthusian monastery – The Certosa di Pavia. Varzi, the town that is the base for a couple of our tours, and which was also Jim’s father’s home town, is in the southern most part of the Oltrepo Pavese, as marked on this map.