Biella is the largest town (population of over 40,000) and capital of the province of Biella in Piedmont, in northern Italy.
Fly to Biella
The closest airports are:
- Milan Malpensa 60–70 minutes drive via SS roads or highway (directions)
- Milan Linate 70-80 drive via highway (directions)
- Turin’s Caselle about 60–70 minutes drive via highway (directions)
There is also a little airport at Verrone, in Biella province.
Travel to Biella by car
- SS n. 135 Vercellese
- A4 highway Turin – Milan (Santhià or Carisio exits)
- A5 highway Turin – Aosta (Viverone or Ivrea exits)
- A26 highway Genoa – Gravellona Toce (Romagnano Sesia exit)
Travel by train to Biella
Biella town is connected with the stations of Santhià and Novara on the Turin – Milan line.
Trains are run by Trenitalia, with one train every hour. The trip takes about 1hr 30min.
The town is not large, and most of the sights can be seen comfortably on foot. Getting to Biella Piazzo (the upper town) can be quite tiring on foot, but there is a funicolare (a kind of tram) linking the two parts of the town.
There are bus lines running through the city and connecting Biella to nearby towns and cities.
- Trip planner
- Interactive map of bus lines
For information about specific lines and timetables:
- Biella city area
- Funicular service
- Suburban lines
Sightseeing in Biella
Biella has a great and important heritage in architectural, artistic and archaeological fields. From the findings of the Roman era preserved in the Museo del Territorio (Museum of the Biellese Territory), to the Romanesque architecture, to the splendid Baptistery and by the bell tower St. Stephan, Biella offers many interesting historical sites.
The medieval village of Piazzo, built at the top of a hill, differs from the rest of the city because of its very old buildings, arcades and paved streets. You can still view the ancient doors once used to close the village off.
Piazzo is host to a small but beautifully restored synagogue, at the top of a medieval house in the historic Jewish quarter. In rare occasions, it is open to visit to the public.
Below Piazzo lies the rest of Biella. Here one can explore some good examples of Renaissance architecture: the Basilica and the cloister of St. Sebastian (the latter is a magnificent example of the Renaissance architecture, richly frescoed inside) the Baroque church of the Holy Trinity (facing the busy pedestrian street) and not very far from the Baptistery. Along the Cervo river are some imposing structures, evidence of the 1800s industrial era starting Biella’s fabric industry.
The recently opened Museum of the Territory of Biella represents an ideal starting point to discover what this area is all about. Here you can visit various collections of local interest. One archaeological site worth noting is a goldmine of the Roman era in the Bessa Natural Reserve.
The territory surrounding Biella is home to Sanctuaries devoted to the Virgin Mary: they are among the most beautiful and well known of the Piedmont region. The most famous, Oropa, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is in a picturesque valley and is devoted to the Black Madonna (Black Virgin of Oropa). According to popular tradition, it is thought that St. Eusebius, bishop of Vercelli in the 4th century AD, started this Christian site, and carried the wooden statue of the Black Virgin, made by St. Luke, from Jerusalem to Oropa. From a single building, the devotional complex now has a cloister with the Old Basilica, a new Basilica and its side buildings, where more than 300 rooms host pilgrims and tourists alike. The sanctuary is part of the CoEur devotional path. The Library and Historical Archives are open to the public upon request. While at the Sanctuary, one can also visit The Museum of the Treasures and the Royal Apartments, or walk through the botanical garden.
Along with Oropa, other Sanctuaries surround the city of Biella: the Sanctuary of Graglia started in 1616 as the ‘New Jerusalem’ for pilgrims coming back from Palestine. Most of the chapels that were built are now part of a bigger basilica. On top of the hill near the Sanctuary, the valley produces an echo that repeats words up to eleven syllables.
The Sanctuary of Andorno is a hospice-sanctuary set up between 1602 and 1606 and devoted to St. John the Baptist. It is not a crowded place: solitude and silence allow visitors to enjoy the beech forest and the grey-stone church.
- Museo del Territorio, Via Quintino Sella, 54-56 , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Collection of art and historical artifacts of the Biellese region.
- Palazzo La Marmora, Corso del Piazzo, 19. Private home opened to the public as part of the Museum Network of Biella. Visit the website for more information on opening hours.
- Biella Synagogue, Vicolo del Bellone, 3. Collection of art and historical artifacts of the Biellese region.
- Ricetto di Candelo. Medieval fortified village where the population used to retreat in case of attacks. The ricetto now hosts shops with local artisans and restaurants.
- Church of San Giacomo. The oldest medieval building in the historical Piazzo neighborhood.
- Bessa Natural Reserve, Via Crosa 1 – 13882 Cerrione. A former Roman gold mine, now being taken back by nature.
- Sanctuary of Oropa, Via Santuario di Oropa, 480 , ✉ email@example.com. A stunning monastery embedded in nature.
- Sanctuary of Graglia, Via Campiglie, 1, Graglia (BI) , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. A renown monastery overlooking the valley.
- Sanctuary of Andorno, frazione San Giovanni 8, Campiglia Cervo (BI) , ✉ email@example.com. A quiet retreat in the Cervo Valley.
What to do in Biella
- Trekking itineraries
- Other outdoor activities
- Free climbing and trekking
- Cross Country at Bocchetto Sessera
- Ski at Bielmonte
- Bessa Natural Reserve
- Zegna Oasis
- Burcina Natural Reserve
- Baragge Orientated Reserve
- Oropa Botanical garden
- The Wine Routes – The itinerary through the lands and wines of the Biella district departs from Lake Viverone, a popular resort surrounded by the slopes producing the Doc wines of Canavese and Erbaluce. In addition to the water sports offered by the resort, the lake’s natural environment is perfect for pleasant rambles on foot, bicycle or horseback. Roppolo Castle, headquarters of the Enoteca Regionale della Serra, is nearby where all the region’s wines can be tasted and purchased. From there, Biella is within easy reach by road, where it is possible to visit the town’s medieval centre, Piazzo, try Canestrelli, the town’s delicious traditional sweet, or Ratafià, a characteristic liqueur produced in nearby Andorno, before visiting Europe’s third largest Sanctuary at Oropa, a monumental place of pilgrimage. This is also an obligatory culinary pause to enjoy the Sanctuary’s famous hot chocolate, or a plate of polenta concia (maize porridge with fondue cheese) in one of the numerous nearby restaurants. From Biella town you can visit the small town of Candelo, known for its beautifully preserved late medieval fortification, the Ricetto. Spread over 13,000 square metres, the Ricetto (the Italian name means “refuge”) is listed as one of the best conserved in Europe. Candelo itself is surrounded by one of the district’s nature reserves, the Riserva Naturale della Baraggia, a wild and evocative apparently flat plain linking Biella with the Po valley. From Candelo, the itinerary proceeds toward the east of the district, along the modern highway between Biella and Cossato, to visit the district’s other Doc wine producing areas, Lessona, Bramaterra and Coste del Sesia. This is the green heart of the district stretching from Masserano, where a visit to the medieval centre is a must-do, to Sostegno, an enchanting little village immersed in the green hills. Well known among mushrooms hunters, the area is also the ideal place for rambles through its beautiful vineyards in any seasons, along the footpaths that lead to the Valsessera, a mountainous area between Biella and the Sesia valley. This wonderfully uncontaminated environment is still home to chamois, deer and marmot. Naturally, the area has a good number of restaurants offering the district’s traditional dishes, accompanied by the wines these splendid sun-kissed hills produce each year.
- Via Italia – a characteristic Northern Italian main street with historical building winding through the old town, lined with shops and cafes.
- Mosca butcher shop – Wonderful selection of cheeses, meats, local products, and prepared meals (Via S. Filippo, 16).
Shopping in Biella
Biella is internationally known for its production of high quality wools and yarns, so business is taken very seriously here. Well equipped hotels and top quality conference centers are widely available for meetings and conventions that are set in a historical-environmental context of great importance.
More than 50 outlet stores are found alongside Europe’s most prestigious textile companies. Here quality and good prices come hand in hand; what could be a better souvenir from Biella than a cashmere coat or a beautiful piece of fabric purchased at cost?
- 1 Ottaviano Parfums et Beautè, Via San Filippo 8/E , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Beautifully curated selection of the world’s most exclusive lines of perfumes, home scents, and beauty products to rival those found in top international style capitals.
- 2 Piacenza Cashmere Factory Store, Via Italia, 32. Beautiful selection, 100% made in Italy, cashmere wools house-labeled designs at 30-40% below retail.
- 3 Storica Enoteca del Centro, Via Antonio Gramsci, 11 a. Wine and spirits store with a fine selection of Italian wines and spirits from around the world. Not to be missed an exclusive selection of rare wines in the cellar.
- 4 Barbera S e Figli. Beautiful hand-made shoes and sneakers, family-run store.
Where to eat in Biella
Maccagno cheese, typical of the area
- Cheeses – The Biellese is rich in cheeses, one of the best known of which is toma, a hard cheese made of cows’ milk that has a long tradition across Alps. It is produced using full-cream (Maccagno) or partially skimmed milk, and also the cheeses of the Biellese valleys are protected by a D.O.C. warranty mark of the Piedmont Region. Beddu, a cheese made of skimmed milk that is as wide as toma but only two fingers high, is typical of the area around Pralungo: it is eaten fresh or after being matured on straw. The fresh cheeses are characterized by their quality and variety (sordevolo, ricotta, tumin), and this is also true of the goat cheeses, be they fresh, mature or variously flavoured.
Cooked and sliced paletta di Coggiola
- Salamis – The most widespread are salam ‘d l’ula, (i.e. preserved in fat), which are prepared using pork, salt, pepper and, sometimes, red wine: equally characteristic are salam ‘d vaca (beef), salam d’asu (donkey), and those made from goat’s meat. More localized examples include salam ‘d patata (which includes boiled potatoes and little blood) and paletta di Coggiola, a shoulder of ham flavoured with salt and pepper, that is then packed into bladder skins and left to dry in the air. Cheeses and salamis can be found in specialist shops, and during weekly markets and village fairs.
- Sweets – Torcetti (sugar-coated biscuits made of a crispy and buttery pastry), paste ‘d melia (made of cornflour) and turcetùn (large torcetti made using a less rich pastry) are still produced according to traditional recipes by some confectioners (particularly in Andorno, Pollone and Biella). The confectioners of Biella and Cossato make canestrelli (fragrant wafers made of chocolate and hazelnuts). At Crevacuore, it is possible to find home-made canestrej, which are chocolate wafers cooked between the plates of a red-hot grill and prepared according to a recipe that dates back to the 17th century. In Mongrando, palpiton is a typical bread and apple cake, often prepared for the town celebrations.
Paste ‘d melia
- Honey and fruits mustards – The large variety of blossoms in the area make it possible to choose from among a wide range of honeys, the most common of which are acacia, chestnut, linden, rhododendron, dandelion and mountain flower. In the Biellese, as well as being used as a sweetener, honey is traditionally served with polenta. During the course of village markets and festivals, it is still possible to find apple and grape mustards, which are prepared by slowly boiling the fruit (sometimes for more than 12 hours) in order to create a thick, dark syrup to accompany boiled meats, fresh cheese, polenta and paletta.
- Primi piatti – Together with dairy products, the real protagonists of this originally genuinely rustic cuisine are its soups, broths and polenta, a type of corn-meal mush. One of the traditional dishes of the Oropa valley (but whose fame haas now spread beyond the borders of Biellese) is “pulenta cunscia”, a soft and creamy corn mush cooked for a long time in a special copper pot called “paiolo”, in which a large quantity of local cheese is melted and mixed with tasty dairy butter; and the same condiments are used to flavour “ris an cagnùn”, a dish of boiled rice mixed with toma and lightly fried butter. Both of these simple and ancient preparations bring together the resources of the Alps and the plain. Rice is also a fundamental ingredient of “mactabe”, a thick soup that made up the evening meal for many generations of the people in the Biellese, “ris e riundele” (rice and malva), and “minestra marià” (rice with beets or wild spinach), to name just some of the primi piatti which, depending on the season and the valley, contribute towards the gastronomic repertoire of the province. The bread-based soups also have a wide variety of flavours, and include the excellent “supa mitunà” which, in the spring, is enriched with the unpredictable – sometimes sweet, sometimes bitterish, sometimes very marked – taste of wild herbs and, in the winter, is completely transformed by the use of leeks and savoy cabbage.
- Secondi Piatti – Meat, which was once only rarely and triumphantly presented (stuffed hen, rabbit in “scivé” and stuffed “sacoccia” were reserved for special occasions) now enters as a timid ingredient, together with eggs, vegetables and garden herbs, in roulades of “capunet” – wrapped in beet or cabbage leaves – squash flowers and onions. There are many different types of salami (one of the most common being “salam ‘d l’ula”: i.e. preserved in fat), which are also used in the preparation of such traditional dishes as “frità rugnusa” (a type of salami omelette) or “verzata” (a rich soup of savoy cabbage and salami that is almost a meal in itself). The trout of the mountain streams and the whitefish of the Lake Viverone are justly famous for their delicacy.
- Specialties – Although every village has its own particular sweet, one that is typical of the Biellese as a whole is “l’arsumà”, a soft mousse of egg and sugar diluted with milk or wine, which should be eaten with torcetti and biscuits fresh from the oven, or with the thin cornflour wafers called “miasce”. The mineral waters of the Biellese are famous for their exceptional lightness (the water Lauretana, low in mineral content, today is the heir of an ancient hydrotherapeutic tradition), but there is also no lack of wine, including some well-known D.O.C.; Biella is also the home of Menabrea, one of the best lagers in the world. Finally, particular mention should be made of Ratafià di Andorno, a drink made of wild cherries steeped in alcohol according to a 500-year-old recipe.
Restaurants in town:
- La Pace, Via Garibaldi, 6, Biella , ✉ email@example.com. A family-run pizzeria, ideal for dinner with family, friends, or a night out to taste authentic pizzas and pastas near the town center. They offer gluten free pizzas, with a separate oven used for gluten intolerant customers.
- Acqua e Farina, Viale Cesare Battisti, 2/c, Biella. A small pizzeria with a modern approach to pizza toppings. Great also for pizzas to go.
- Ristorante Due Cuori, Piazza della Cisterna, 11, Biella. A typical Italian trattoria in the characteristic medieval borgo of Piazzo.
- Ristorante Pizzeria la Lucciola, Piazza S. Paolo 12, Biella. A southern Italian pizzeria-restaurant close to the main station of Biella.
- Trattoria il Cicciocchio, Via Santuario d’Oropa, 8, Biella. Italian trattoria with simple but delicious and inexpensive pastas.
- Binario Zero, Via Santuario d’Oropa, 8, Biella. Juicy burgers just outside of the main train station in Biella.
- Ristorante La Lira Biella , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. World-class fine dining. Menu based on local fresh ingredients.
- Il Talucco, Via Raffaello Sanzio, 31, Valdengo (BI) , ✉ email@example.com. Excellent buffet.
- Glamour, Via Gustavo di Valdengo, 2, Biella , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Very good casual restaurant and lounge, in the central part of town.
Restaurants at the Sanctuary of Oropa:
- Hotel Ristorante Croce Bianca, Via Santuario d’Oropa 480 , ✉ email@example.com. Simple traditional food in a wonderful setting.
- Ristorante Croce Rossa, Via Santuario d’Oropa 480 , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Simple traditional food in a wonderful setting.
- Bramaterra – Born from the fortunate combination of the Nebbiolo vine and the particular nature of the terrain of this region, which provides its natural habitat, it is a formidable wine, full of flavour, velvety, with a characteristic garnet red colour and a pleasantly bitterish undertone. Its production area lies between Masserano, Brusnengo, Curino, Villa del Bosco and Sostegno. An ideal companion for: game and red meats in general. Grape: Nebbiolo (Spanna) 50/70%, Croatina 20/30%, Bonarda and Vespolina, alone or together, up to 20%. Minimum alcohol content: 12%. Ageing: obligatory 2 years, of which at least 18 months in wooden barrels.
- Canavese – Most recent addition to Piedmont’s D.O.C. wines. The appellation “Canavese” is divided into “Red”, “Rosè”, “White”, “Nebbiolo” and “Barbera”. Production area: Cavaglià, Dorzano, Roppolo, Salussola, Viverone, Zimone.
- Coste della Sesia – Very recently approved according to D.O.C. regulations, the wines of this appellation are divided into: “Red”, “Rosè”, “White”, “Nebbiolo”, or “Spanna”, “Bonarda” or “Uva rara”, “Croatina” and “Vespolina”. Production area: Lessona, Masserano, Brusnengo, Curino, Villa del Bosco, Sostegno, Cossato, Mottalciata, Candelo, Quaregna, Cerreto Castello, Valdengo and Vigliano Biellese.
- Lessona – A rare and precious wine, this is produced in the hilly area from which it takes its name, a few kilometres from Biella. A garnet red colour with hints of orange as it ages; intense bouquet, fine and delicate, reminiscent of violet; dry, pleasantly tannic flavour, agreeable, with great character and a persistent after taste. An ideal companion for: game and red meat in general. Grape: Nebbiolo (Spanna), Vespolina and Bonarda may also be present up to 25%. Minimum alcohol content: 12%. Ageing: obligatory 2 years, one of which in wooden barrels.
- Erbaluce – One of the Region’s few white wines. Production area: the province of Turin, with Caluso as its epicentre, extending up to the Canavese and Biella districts. In the province of Biella it can be found in Viverone, Roppolo and Zimone, where the terrain is of glacial origin and ideally exposed.
- Erbaluce di Caluso – Intense straw-yellow with hints of gold; subtle, delicate bouquet, reminiscent of flowers of the field; dry, agreeably acidic persistent taste. An ideal companion for: appetizer and fish. Grape: Erbaluce 100%. Minimum alcohol content: 11%. Ageing: not contemplated.
- Caluso Passito – A brilliant yellowy-gold colour with a hint of shadow; characteristic ethereal, delicate bouquet; its flavour is sweet, harmonious, full-bodied and velvety, the result of a long process which demands that the grapes are hand-borne to the press to avoid damage by lying them on straw lined gratings. Before pressing, the grapes are left to “appassire” (a kind of drying process) for a few months (hence the name “passito”). Grape: Erbaluce, sometimes with local Bonarda (5%). The grapes must be naturally dried to give a sugar content no lower than 30%. Minimum alcohol content: 13,5%. Ageing: obligatory for 5 years, blending with wines from other vintages is allowed in this time.
- Erbaluce Spumante Brut (sparkling) – Most recent addition to the Erbaluce family, this wine is slightly sparkling with a pale straw colour; light evanescent froth and fine, persistent perlage; characteristic delicate bouquet and dry, fresh, fruity flavour. Grape: Erbaluce 100%. Minimum alcohol content: 11.5%. Ageing: none.
- 13900 Cocktail Bar & Restaurant, +39 015 21298. Cocktail bar and restaurant with exclusive drinks and baristas of the highest level.
- Bar Odeon, Via Torino, 67. Great coffee bar with the added bonus of a fine selection of French champagne, imported by the owner.
- Vineria L’Avvelenata, Via Amedeo Avogadro, 6. Fantastic wine bar in the beautiful setting of Piazzo.
- Menabrea, Via Ramella Germanin Eriberto n.4 – Biella. One of the best European beers, made in limited volumes in the artisan way.
- Microbirrificio Birra Elvo, Via San Filippo 12 – Biella. Award winning microbrewery.
- Ratafià Rapa. One of the oldest and important Piedmontese liquor, from Andorno Micca.
- Torrefazione Bugella, Via Maestri del Lavoro, 12 , ✉ email@example.com. Coffee roaster, the most flavorful local coffee blend.
- Pasticceria Bar Confetteria Ferrua, Via Italia, 43. Typical coffee bar where to sip a cappuccino with a pastry inside their historical venue or outside looking on Via Italia
- Canterino, Via Fratelli Rosselli, 102. lively coffee bar with an award winning Italia breakfast
- Bar Odeon, Via Torino, 67. Great coffee bar with the added bonus of a fine selection of French champagne, imported by the owner.
- Few people know that Biella is home to one of the lightest waters in Europe. Lauretana, the mineral water company, bottles it at the source and distributes it around the world.
Where to stay in Biella
- Hotel Michelangelo, Piazza Adua, 5 , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Agorà Palace Hotel, Via Alfonso Lamarmora, 13A , ✉ email@example.com.
Other places of interest in the Biella area
- Oropa – one of the most important Catholic sanctuaries in Italy
- Lago di Viverone small beautiful lake in Biella province
- Valsesia Mountains, rafting, trekking
- Lake Orta Beautiful and romantic lake in Verbania province
Already eleven Corona Infections at the Pope’s Swiss Guard
In the Vatican, seven other members of the pope’s Swiss Guard tested positive for the corona virus . This increased the number of demonstrably infected guardsmen to eleven, as the Swiss Guard announced on Thursday. All infected people had been isolated, the message said. The brightly uniformed guards protect Pope Francis and his residence.
A major corona outbreak among the guards could therefore also be dangerous for the Pope, 83 years of age belongs to the risk group. The Argentinean pope had part of his right lung removed at the age of 21 due to severe pneumonia but he is considered relatively healthy for his age.
The Catholic media platform “Vatican News” reported in early October that the guardsmen had been asked to “be careful when dealing with the Pope” because of Corona. Face mask and social distancing are required, however a young man who was interviewed about his recruit swearing in (October 4th) said that Francis had already shaken his hand.
Corona measures in Italy – Italy reacts to the 2nd Wave of Covid-19
Italy introduced a nationwide facemask requirement in the open due to the increase in new infections. If you don’t wear a mask when leaving your apartment, you risk a fine of up to one thousand euros, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte recently announced. You do not need to wear a face mask when you are doing sport. The regulations do not apply in private rooms or in places where only one family is staying. Children under six years of age are also exempt from this obligation.
In view of the rising numbers, Italy’s Minister of Health Roberto Speranza also ordered mandatory tests for travelers from Great Britain, Belgium, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic.
Another measure taken by the government shows how deep the shock of the first wave of more than 30,000 deaths still sits: It passed a law that prohibits the Italian regions from adopting measures that are less restrictive than those taken by Rome. However, you have the option of setting even stricter rules. Some regions, such as Lazio and Campania, had already decided that the public must wear a facemask.
Lombardy Coronavirus Covid-19 Outbreak – Cases Quarantine Deaths Stats to Italy
Lombardy or Lombardia is a northern region of Italy, and with 10 million people is the most populous one. Producing 1/5th of Italy’s GDP, it is also the mightiest economically. Geographically, Lombardy encompasses both Alps and Prealps in the north, and relatively flat plains in the south along the river Po and its tributaries. Between them there are many scenic lakes, and the alpine backdrop makes even the low-lying cities picturesque and the air rather fresh.
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Lombardy is heavily industrialized, although most of the industry is actually not heavy, but rather mid-sized specialized machinery-building and other assembly and engineering firms, as well as consumer industries such as foodstuffs and apparel. The regional capital, Milan, is Italy’s second-largest city and the foremost centre of commerce and a global fashion capital. Smaller cities also have considerable economic might, and have had so for many centuries, hence Lombardy is the region of Italy with the most UNESCO World Heritage List sites – and simply, a lot of history and scenic views to explore and enjoy.
- Lombardian Alps and Prealps (provinces of Bergamo, Brescia and Sondrio)
- Lake Como (provinces of Como and Lecco)
- Southern Lombardy (provinces of Cremona, Lodi, Mantova and Pavia)
- Grande Milano (provinces of Milan and Monza and Brianza)
- Milan (Milano, the capital of the province) – shares with Paris the title of fashion capital of the world, and is Italy’s second city.
- Bergamo – a fairytale pastel-coloured city perched atop a hillside, and the gate to Bergamo Alps
- Brescia – a major industrial powerhouse since the Ancient Roman times, and a UNESCO World Heritage List
- Como – the city that gave the name to the popular lake
- Cremona – home of Stradivarius violins, but also a wealth of ornate romanesque architecture
- Lecco – a little and charming city situated on Como’s lake.
- Mantua (Italian: Mantova) – the Ducal Palace has a cycle of frescoes by Mantegna that no art lover should miss.
- Sondrio – the northernmost provincial capital situated amidst alpine mountain ranges
- Varese – capital of the namesake province full of lakeside resorts, just 30 minutes from Malpensa airport
- The magnificent lakes of Lake Como – take boat trips in the shadow of the Alps to the picturesque villages of Bellagio, Varenna and Tremezzo – Lake Maggiore, Lake Garda and Lake Lugano.
- The tiny village of Erbusco, home of the award-winning wines of Franciacorta and L’Albereta, the country inn of Gualtiero Marchesi, one of Italy’s premier chefs
- The peninsula of Sirmione, on the south shore of Lake Garda
- The Caves of Catullo, an archaeological site of a former Roman villa situated on the tip of the Sirmione peninsula
- The Sirmione Spa, the largest privately owned thermal treatment centre in Italy
- Val Camonica : UNESCO heritage site, medieval towns, castles, holy art in churches, roman sanctuary and theatre/amphitheatre, ski sports.
- Oltrepò Pavese : Wine region in the utmost southern part of Lombardy, 70km from Milan, part of the Pavia province, medieval towns, castles, stunning views.
The Longobardis occupied the Peninsula in the 6th century, and the territory has been named after them ever since.
Lombardy is a prosperous region with fertile soil and a temperate climate. As in Piedmont, the Po Valley is the site of much heavy industry. High mountains in the north, marking Italy’s frontier with Switzerland, provide excellent skiing and climbing.
Three of Italy’s four busiest airports are in Lombardy:
- Milan Malpensa Airport is an intercontinental airport, and Italy’s second aviation hub after Rome Fiumicino. It has multiple direct connections to Africa, Asia and North America, as well as across Europe, where it is served by both full-service and low-fare carriers.
- Milano Linate is Milan’s city airport, served by business-oriented flights to European major commercial centres, as well as a dense Italian domestic network.
- Bergamo Orio al Serio Airport is served almost exclusively by low-fare carriers, taking advantage of its proximity to both Milan and the Alps.
Despite only Linate being in the city and province of Milan, all three airports are marketed as serving the city. One can easily get to other destinations in the province from them, without necessarily changing in Milan. There is also a small airport in Brescia, which in recent years has seen next to no scheduled traffic.
Travel by train to Lombardy
Road and train links connect the region with Switzerland. As Switzerland is not part of the EU, there is a possibility that you will be delayed by checks at the border, although these are infrequent and usually not rigorous. Remember your passport.
There is a relatively dense railway network connecting cities and towns in Lombardy, although the layout is intricate and getting from one place to another may not be straightforward. You should be able to reach your destination within 1 or 2 hours by train. Otherwise, buses and minibuses link important destinations, especially those popular with tourists. Hubs are usually in regional centres, as well as near major railway stations and airports; you can try to change there if there are no direct connections. Regional train network is entirely managed by Trenord.
Regione Lombardia offers a good travel planner that lets you query the whole public transportation system.
If you plan to travel a lot, it might be worth buying a io viaggio ovunque in Lombardia pass ticket. Those tickets let you travel without limit on the entire public transport system in Lombardy, including regional trains, buses and city public transportation systems, but excluding some ferry boat lines. Although expensive, they can easily be a cheaper option than regular tickets if you travel long distances. Passes are sold at railway stations (at ticket box or automatic vending machines) and at ATM automatic vending machines. You can buy 1, 2, 3 or 7 day passes (16€, 27€, 32.5€, 43€ respectively – February 2020).
The railway company Trenord offers some good travel packages, under the Trenord Free Time name. The package usually includes a ticket to an attraction or a trip proposal and a train ticket to get to the destination. Most of them are really useful only if you depart from Milan. It’s worth to take a look at the offers as they can also suggest you some new or lesser known itinerary that you may like.
As the Autostrada A4 runs across Lombardy, with the road system radiating from its junctions, you can get around by car as well. The A4 frequently gets congested though and traffic jams can be long and excruciating, especially around Milan. Be aware that Italians drive fast and make no allowances for foreigners, so be sure you are OK with keeping up with the traffic and occasional displays of impatience from other drivers.
Milan, Bergamo and Brescia have efficient and extensive public transportation systems.
What to see in
- Milan Fashion Weeks draw crowds of fashionistas to Milan every year.
- La Scala in Milan is a mecca for opera aficionados.
- You can enjoy water sports or more relaxed boating on the lakes.
- The Alps offer opportunities for hiking or skiing.
Lombardy’s most famous culinary inventions are minestrone soup and osso buco (literally “ox knuckles”). To the west of Milan lie miles of rice fields, where the rice for risotto alla milanese is grown. Other typical dishes of the area include salumi (cold cuts) and polenta.
As in many other areas of Northern Italy, the aperitivo (pre-meal drink with appetisers, for which a small supplement might be charged) is very popular.
The wineries in Franciacorta, around Erbusco, produce many excellent wines. The region has been elevated to the status of DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita). Other remarkable zones for wine are Oltrepò Pavese (which is the zone around Pavia on the south banks of Po river) and the countrysides around Garda Lake.
Valtellina also produces excellent wines, famous for their strong taste and flavour.
As every big city in the world, Milan has also many high quality restaurants, wine bars and Enoteche (wine store) where you can find high class wines from all over the world.
Where to stay in Lombardy
Large cities, like Milan, Bergamo or Brescia, are important business centres, so they have sizeable bases of business-oriented hotels. They are local hubs with connections to destinations within their provinces, and getting between them is also reasonably quick via a variety of means of transportation (trains, express buses or cars across the A4). Do note that accommodation in Milan is generally expensive, and prices skyrocket during major events or fairs, such as the Milan Fashion Week.
Destinations along the lines of the lakes, as well as those in the Alps, are popular with tourists, so you will find a variety of accommodation options there, from luxurious resort hotels to simple B&Bs.
While Milan features many of the usual tourist traps and con acts, as well as sizeable number of pickpockets due to the number of tourists there, other destinations are generally safe, and you can feel secure and welcome there. Do note, however, that in case you need to contact the police they can have very limited English skills and also may not be able to help foreigners much.
To the east is Trentino-Alto Adige and Veneto, to the south is Emilia-Romagna and Piedmont is to the south and west. Switzerland lies to the north.
Current Covid-19 Infections in Italy, Lombardy
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Timeline of Covid-19 Infections in Italy, Lombardy
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