Lombardy, Italy

Designer boutiques, Gothic cathedrals and medieval fortresses: Milan has culture and tissue-paper-lined carrier bags in abundance. By night, performers in the Teatro alla Scala belt out arias and pirouette past lavish sets; by day, take a scented stroll through the bloom-packed botanical gardens, and window-gaze at the well-heeled shops of Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, one of the world’s oldest shopping malls. Lake Como lies just outside the city; have lunch at a waterside café and try to (slyly) spot celebs roaming their villas on the banks. Swish down the slopes in charming Livigno, or visit the region’s charming, lesser-known towns dotted with honey-hued basilicas and cobbled squares. The region has a romantic literary legacy too – Shakespeare put the ‘bard’ in Lombardy (well, sort of) when he set scenes from Romeo and Juliet in Mantua’s Unesco-recognised old town.

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Areas in Lombardy

When to go

Lombardy’s climate is typically Italian: pushing 30 degrees celsius in summer, and plummeting to single digits in winter. Unless you’re heading to the mountains for snowy pursuits, visit between March and October.

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Getting there

  • Planes

    Budget airlines EasyJet and Ryanair run regular flights from London to Milan-Malpensa Airport.
  • Trains

    Milan’s Centrale train station is a convenient hub, with trains frequently arriving from Florence, Rome, Venice and other Italian cities. It’s also easy to get to from Switzerland, if you’ve got time to spare: the train from Zurich takes around eight hours.
  • Automobiles

    If you’re up to braving Italy’s busy streets and honking mopeds, rent a motor from one of the many car-hire booths at the airport.