Lombardy, the region that is hosting Expo 2015 with its varied territory: 12 provinces distributed over 24,000 square kilometers, with half of that being plain, including the Po Valley, and the rest is divided between the mountainous zones of the Lombard Alps, the Valtellina and the zones of the lakes. Among the most important of which are Lake Como, Lake Maggiore, Lake Garda, and Lake Iseo.

Lombardy is the birthplace of an ancient history dating back to Neolithic times, and there is still evidence in Val Camonica with Camunian petroglyphs that over the years have seen and lived through the passing of ages, rulers and foreign influences. Thanks to its past and its territorial structure, Lombardy Region offers fantastic incentives to its visitors, breathtaking panoramic views, outdoor activites, cultural tours to soak in the splendour of the past and a touch of modernity with the link to design and shopping in the city, Milano at its finest.

Here a list of the 10 “wonderful” reasons to visit Lombardy.

wonderful Lombardy

1. ART AND CULTURE, HISTORY AND FUTURE INNOVATION: art lovers will find Lombardy to be an incredibly rich cultural hotbed. Discover the masterpieces of the Pinacoteca di Brera and the genius of Leonardo da Vinci. Let yourself be taken by the cathedrals and the cities of arts, well spread all across the Region, such as Mantova and its majestic Palazzo Te or Bergamo towered by the Old City (or Città Alta). Breathe in the unique atmosphere that characterizes the antique villages and discover surprising museums, like the one dedicated to the Stradivarius violin in Cremona and enter the temple of Italian Opera located in Milan, la Scala. Never to be forgotten, Lombardy boasts nine UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

2. A NOD TO NATURE: from the rolling hills to the mountain trails, the great lakes to the river landscapes, Lombardy is the ideal destination to plan a vacation immersed in green, suitable even for the little ones. Today, Lombardy claims a national park, 24 regional parks and 16 sanctuaries managed by the WWF. But that’s still not enough to fully communicate the beauty to be found in one of the many botanical gardens, city parks, or by simply pedaling among the vineyards of Franciacorta or navigating on the Po or Mincio.

3. THE REGION OF THE LAKES, TO EACH HIS OWN: romanticism and glamour transform the lakes of Lombardy into some of the top destinations just minutes from the Expo 2015. Celebrated by Hollywood films, adored by artists and writers, the lakes Maggiore, Garda, Como and Iseo manage to combine the fairytale landscapes with an impeccable range of accommodation. Here you’ll find luxury hotels, elegant mansions surrounded by Italian gardens and typical restaurants. To top it all off, you can organize a boat outing and enjoy some water sports….What else?

4. MOUNTAINS FOR EVERY SEASON: a holiday at high altitudes? In Lombardy the mountain is alive year round. Iftrekking and cyclotourism through the Adamello and Stelvio Parks are perfect for enjoying the fresh summer air and clear skies, the Alps are king when winter rolls around and winter-sports lovers cover the mountains. From cross-country skiing to ice climbing, snowboarding to dog-sledding and free fall skiing to be experienced in places like Valchiavenna, Valmalenco, Madesimo, and Aprica in the Province of Sondrio or feel the Mountain in Val Brembana and Val Seriana, destinations easy reachable from Bergamo city. In a few words, just choose what suits your style for a vacation in the snow!

5. ACTIVE VACATIONS: if the Alps call out to the winter sports lovers, the rest of Lombardy responds with a vast gamut of outdoor activities. Head out canoeing or try your hand at windsurfing, kitesurfing, or wakeboardingon the lakes of Como, Garda, and Iseo. Or go down under and experience the thrill of scuba diving. If you’re searching for contact with nature and extraordinary landscapes, polish the nine iron and practice your swing on the most beautiful greens of Lombardia in Brianza or on the hills surrounding the lakes. Adventure along the path dedicated to cyclists and trekkers that flanks the Lambro and Mincio, crossing Oglio Park and the Monte Barro Natural Park. Let your adrenaline run wild.

6. MADE IN ITALY, THE AVANT-GARDE AND STYLE: explore the elegance and quality of the Italian style by dedicating yourself to a bit of shopping. If Milan is the undisputed capital of fashion and design, as is evident from the shops in the city center, from the ateliers of Brera to the sparkling window displays of the Quadrilatero della Moda, other locations in the region offer the opportunity to find one of a kind artisan products: just take Como for example, with its celebrated silk, or Vigevano, where high quality footwear is born.

7. INDULGE YOURSELF: relax and take a moment for yourself. Not everyone knows that Lombardy hides some amazing oases dedicated to wellness. In Valcamonica, for example where you’ll find the thermal baths of Boario, with famous accommodations dating from the 19th century, inside the Parco delle Fonti. Or get over to Garda, where the thermal baths of Sirmione, where you can relax on the lakeside, or the thermal bath of Salice, in the heart of Oltrepò Pavese. Finally, don’t miss out the picturesque thermal baths of Bormio, San Pellegrino and Milano, boasting numerous spas and wellness centers. Spoil yourself with personalized treatments and enjoy the high quality hospitality that these places pride themselves on: you’ll leave refreshed in body and spirit.

8. GOURMET EXPERIENCE: foodies beware. At the table, Lombardy offers a perfect blend between respect for gastronomic traditions and culinary innovations. Cheers with a glass of wine from Valtellina, Oltrepo orFranciacorte and indulge the palette with typical products like cheeses such as Grana Padano, Gorgonzola, the prized lemons and olive oil of Garda, the aromatic cold cuts from Valtellina, the torrone of Cremona, mustardand caviar. Make yourself at home in a bistro or a starred restaurant. Experience a holiday… with taste!

9. MAJOR INTERNATIONAL EVENTS: Lombardy is home to a great deal of internationally relevant events, from art and culture, fashion and furnishing, tourism and handicraft. Between the Formula 1, Milan Fashion Week, Milan Design Week, world championships of ski in Bormio and the Mille Miglia of Brescia, Milan Film Festival and the Literature Festival of Mantova, if you’re looking for an event not to miss? The universal Expo of 2015 in Milan, obviously!

10. MILAN, NOT ONLY THE CAPITAL OF FASHION: antique buildings, futuristic architecture in Porta Garibaldi, classical music and wild night life, traditional plates and starred restaurants, artisan and haute couture. Milan is a meeting point between past and future, traditional Italy and intercultural, where you’ll lost yourself among the streets of fashion of the Quadrilatero della Moda and the art spaces of Brera only to find yourself a citizen of the world at the fairs and international events. Definitely to be discovered!

Without forgetting Milan that has always been a gateway between Italy and the world. Milan is a fascinating city buzzing with energy and dynamism. It has always been on the cutting edge in many sectors, from economy to urban development, new technologies and even culture.

As you stroll through the elegant historical centre, visit the basilicas and churches such as the Duomo and Last Supper, explore the museums and ancient waterways, enjoy a drink in the Navigli, in Corso Como, at the Arco della Pace or in Brera, you really get a feel for the atmosphere of Milan and can get up close to a city that has an immense wealth of history, art and culture.

One of the most striking things about Milan is its innovative character and its huge creativity, which is fully expressed at exhibition spaces like the Triennale, Hangar Bicocca, Fabbrica del Vapore and Rotonda di Via Besana.