10 reasons to visit Lombardy
The Cathedral of Milan is a superb example of Gothic architecture, admirable in its splendor. Its verandas, lined with special marble from the quarries near Lake Maggiore, totaling 8 square kilometers, require constant maintenance. To get to the top of it, you have to climb 201 steps. From here you can see Milan from above, surrounded by arcbutans, friezes, 135 towers and more than 180 statues of the Cathedral. The famous gilded statue of the Madonna, patron saint of the city, is also a short walk away.
2. Go to La Scala Opera House
One of the most famous theaters in the world, La Scala is often referred to as “the temple of opera”. The theater got its modern look at the end of the XVIII century, when on the site of the burnt-out theater a new building in neoclassical style, designed by Giuseppe Piermarini, a talented court architect of the Habsburg dynasty. Today the theater’s program includes opera, ballet, and classical music concerts. The season usually opens on December 7, the day of St. Ambrose.
3. Admire Leonardo’s “Last Supper”
Leonardo da Vinci’s “Last Supper” fresco is in the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie, in the heart of Milan. It is perhaps one of the most famous works of art in the world. Together with the church and the Dominican monastery of which it is a part, it has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The painting of the wall was made in the fifteenth century, but in the twentieth century, due to air strikes during World War II, it was almost destroyed. Only a few walls survived, including, fortunately, the wall with the famous painting. To avoid its collapse, it was surrounded by sandbags. Today, thousands of tourists from around the world come here to admire it. The fresco is impressive in size (460×880 cm), and is located in the refectory of the church, protected by alternately opening and closing glass doors. If you too would like to see the “Last Supper,” it is worth buying tickets in advance from a travel agency or on the official website. Guided tours take place in small groups, and it is necessary to book a visit a long time in advance. The church itself is open daily and admission is free.
4. Learn all the secrets of the violin in Cremona.
The Violin Museum symbolizes the city of Cremona’s deep connection to the art of making bowed instruments and is also a research center. The museum also includes the Auditorium, an elegant wooden concert hall with seating for 500.
The violin museum combines modern technology with traditions of the art of craftsmanship. It is worth checking out the antique violin hall and attending a concert in the Auditorium, or at least listening to the sound of the violin in the museum’s demonstration hall. To feel the spirit of music better, you can touch the soundboard and other violin parts, take violinmaker’s instruments in your hands and smell the varnish. The multimedia exposition of the Violin Museum is interesting for all, regardless of age and level of knowledge, and directly influences the feelings and emotions of its guests.
5. Skiing in Valtellina
Valtellina is the largest alpine resort in Lombardy, on the border with Switzerland. The towns of Livigno, Bormio, Santa Caterina Valfurva, Madesimo, Chiesa Valmalenco, Aprica and many others offer hundreds of kilometers of perfectly groomed slopes. For the snowboarders there are snow parks, for the cross-country skiers there are more than 200 km of slopes. Skiing in Valtellin is possible all year round. In the summer the wonderful slopes of Stalvio, where from May to November, professional athletes and amateurs who don’t want to give up their hobbies even in summer, practice. It is also worthy of special praise the ski elevators, which in recent years have been heavily invested in modernizing.
6. Admire the natural elegance of Lake Como
Lake Como, an idyllic spot just north of Milan, is one of the favorite summer destinations of all those who do not want to get far from the city. To admire the beauty of its shores and its luxurious villas, the easiest way to get around is to take a boat, a river streetcar or a ferry. They go on a convenient schedule, stopping at the major towns on the shores of the lake.
It is impossible not to visit the town of Como, after which the entire lake is named. Stone city walls, buildings and churches create an indescribable charm of antiquity. From the sights we note above all the city’s cathedral and the basilica of Sant’Abbondio. Como is one of the most beautiful cities in northern Italy and it is no coincidence that many artists, writers and musicians have drawn their inspiration here. Verdi, Byron and Stendhal could not resist the charm of the panoramic hills, the foothills of the Alps and the villas surrounded by forests.
7. Visit Mantua, UNESCO World Heritage City
Mantua is one of Italy’s UNESCO World Heritage Cities. There are many reasons for this and it is undoubtedly a good reason to come here for one or more days to experience the cultural and artistic treasures of Italy. The main attraction is the magnificent Palazzo Ducale, once the official residence of the Bonacolci and later Gonzaga dynasties. It is a true architectural masterpiece, whose interiors display priceless works by Andrea Mantegna, Pisanello, Raphael, Giulio Romano and Rubens.
The castle of Castello di San Giorgio, with the famous “room of the spouses”, painted with frescoes by Andrea Mantegna, celebrating the political power of the Gonzaga family, is also of interest. It is also worth seeing the Rotunda of St. Lorenzo (XII century), the clock tower, whose dial shows the signs of the zodiac, the Basilica of St. Andrew and the palazzo Te.
8. Experience the atmosphere of Sirmione, on the Riviera of Lake Garda
Sirmione and the peninsula on which it is located is one of the most beautiful places in the Lake Garda area. It is spread with many narrow streets around the old castle, which all without exception lead to the fountain of Boiola, where are the thermae of the city.
Thermae of Sirmione for 125 years is one of the most important thermal spas in Italy. There are two therapeutic complexes, Virgilio and Catullo, as well as three hotels and a thermal spa, Centro Benessere Termale Aquaria. They are all fed by a sulfur-bromide water source with a temperature of 69°. It treats pulmonary and respiratory diseases, rheumatic diseases, and provides rehabilitation therapy.
9. Walk in the Stelvio National Park
The Stelvio National Park is located in Lombardy and Trentino-Alto Adige, including the Rethian Alps group. The highest mountain is Ortles (3935 m). It was founded in 1935 and then expanded in 1977, occupying the territory of the whole four provinces (Sondrio, Brescia, Trento and Bolzano). Now everyone can find an interesting route for themselves.
You can make excursions on your own or you can use the services of a guide. You will find dense forests, beautiful flowers and many animals: deer, roe deer, ibex, mountain goats, chamois, as well as marmots, ermines and squirrels. In the sky roar golden eagles and large bald eagles, recently reintroduced here by biologists.
10. Discover all the flavors of Franchacorta
Franchacorta is a sparkling wine and the territory of several counties in the province of Brescia. Once covered by forests, the hills are now covered by vineyards, which give the place its unique character. For the production of the famous sparkling wine the Chardonnay, Pinot Nero and Pinot Bianco varieties are used. The fermentation period takes 25 months from the harvest, with at least 18 months of secondary fermentation in the bottle. The color of the finished wine is straw yellow with green reflections, the smell is faint but perceptible aroma of yeast accompanied by delicate notes of dried fruit and spices, intensifying with long aging. Franchacorta will be the official sparkling wine of the World Expo 2015 in Milan and will be served at all official events. A series of events will take place in both Milan and Franchacorta to help guests learn more about this wine and the territory where it is produced.
Lombardy – Italy for luxury living and business
Lombardy is one of the most beautiful and prestigious regions of Italy, on the territory of which one sixth of the country’s population lives. Lombardy is first of all Milan – the business capital of Italy, where fashion lovers from all over the world are striving. This is the magnificent mountains for lovers of skiing and rest by the fireplace. This is the respectable north of the region on the famous Lakes Como, Maggiore and Garda, where the elegant luxury villas are concentrated.
High mountains, a wide strip of Alpine foothills and the fertile Po River valley are the natural borders of this densely populated and most affluent region of Italy. It is home to one sixth of Italy’s population. The area of the region is 23.8 thousand square kilometers. It borders Switzerland and Tyrol to the north, Venice to the east, Emilia to the south and Piedmont to the west.
The region of Lombardy consists of 11 provinces (or communes, as Italians say), which names are derived from the central cities: Bergamo, Brescia, Como, Cremona, Lecco, Lodi, Milan (Millano), Mantova, Pavia, Sondrio and Varese. Milan, the largest city in northern Italy, is the capital of the region. Lombardy is the most industrialized region of Italy, and not only for businessmen. Millions of visitors visit this northern province every year to experience its rich historical past depicted in masterpieces of painting and architecture. Lombardy (and Milan in particular) is recognized as one of the most fashionable tourist destinations in Europe. From the Duomo to Castello Sforzesco, from La Scala to the Pinacoteca di Brera to the Basilica di S. Ambrogio, Lombardy has a great variety of places to visit. This is much more than in the rest of Italy. Lombardy people by their appearance, mentality and style are much closer to the Russians than people in other regions of the country. So to communicate with them, even with minimal knowledge of the language, will not be a problem.
Lombardy is a leader in Italian business. Many international and Italian companies have their headquarters here. The products of the world famous brands are produced in the region: cars “Alfa Romeo”, helicopters “Augusta”, motorcycles “MV Augusta”, guns “Beretta”, liquor “Amaretto di Saronno”, the smoking pipes “Savinelli”. Here is the center of high fashion – the factories of famous fashion designers Dolce and Gabbana, Trussardi, Missoni. Gianni Versace lived and worked in Como. Many Hollywood stars and famous faces of Italy are owners of luxurious villas on the lakes of Lombardy. The famous Milan and Inter soccer teams train and live here. The Monza circuit is the site of Formula One races.
Lombardy is also beautiful mountains! The region is known for its ski resorts of Madesimo, Presolana, Aprica, Livigno, Bormio. In Bormio, where there is the biggest altitude difference in all the Alps (from 3000 to 1225 meters), laid out more than 50 kilometers of trails. The mountains of Lombardy promise an unforgettable holiday for all those who love skiing, horseback riding and biking and for all those who love beautiful landscapes.
More than half of the population lives in Milan, the big European business center, and in the adjoining provinces of Como and Varese. These provinces bordering Switzerland are a kind of bridge which allows to be in touch with business circles of Europe and the world because they connect Lugano – Swiss capital of banks, Milan – business center (here is the only Italian financial, currency and stock exchange) and the largest international airport Malpensa. Many people come to Milan with a million and a half people to find a good job: the unemployment rate is one of the lowest in Europe – only 2%.
Between 1998 and 2005 the prices of housing in Milan rose by 158%. The biggest jump occurred before the introduction of the euro, after which the market stabilized somewhat. However, even in 2005 the growth was 6.7% and even 7.5% in the center. In 2006 and 2007, the growth of prices stopped. In 2008, a 2% drop in prices was noticed, in parallel with a decrease in the volume of sales transactions by 8%.
From this we can conclude that Milan’s real estate market is growing steadily, both in terms of volume of transactions (constant growth of about 5% per year), and in terms of base prices, setting a kind of Italian record – about 10-12% per year. For Europe, it is significant figures. Demand for housing markedly exceeds the supply, which makes it a very promising to invest in the construction of residential buildings is here. High prices are due to features typical of the Milanese real estate market: 90% of purchases are made on credit or with installments for 25 years or more, 11% of homes in Milan are bought by foreigners, and every fifth apartment in Milan is acquired for investment purposes.
In Milan now prevail investments in objects worth more than 1 million euros. Credit crisis has caused a significant increase in the cost of Italian property luxury. Prices of luxury villas and apartments continue to rise. Problems in the stock market are encouraging wealthy people to invest in real estate, especially prestigious, as a classic secure investment. That is why demand and prices for such homes are not declining, although at the same time there is a slight decline in the market of economy-class housing.
For example, in Milan, you can buy an apartment with a unique location for 1,400,000 euros. The uniqueness lies in the fact that the house with the apartment is located in close proximity to a business center and at the same time to the historic part of town. The main entrance, the beautiful staircase and the spacious hall on the first floor make the house beautiful and distinguish it from others. The apartment is on the fourth floor. A large living room, dining room, two bedrooms, kitchen and two bathrooms, all for 1,400,000 euros. The ceiling height of 3.20 meters. All rooms have large windows, making the apartment very sunny and bright. The apartment is characterized by high quality finishes and spacious rooms.
Lombardy is a region whose beauty lies in its nature. This region is famous for its beautiful lakes and rivers. The largest of them – Lake Maggiore, Lake Como, Lecco, Iseo, Garda – are located in the southern “base” of the Alpine mountains. The rivers crossing Lombardy from north to south are no less picturesque. The uniqueness of this region lies in the fact that no other part of the Alpine Arc has such a concentration of water reservoirs, which appeared in the areas of millennial erosion of ancient glaciers.
Lake Como is the most expensive and famous of the lakes of northern Italy. Many aristocrats, artists, writers, actors and other famous people at one time preferred to spend their time on Lake Como, the shores of which are studded with luxurious and expensive villas. Among those who now own real estate on Como, is American actor George Clooney, whose villa is located in the town of Lalio, and other celebrities. Among those who have already bought or are going to buy real estate on Como, quite a few Russian citizens. So, in 2008, the famous Russian businessman Arkady Novikov bought the villa of Gianni Versace for a record amount of 35 million euros.
The region is located on the border with Switzerland, where prices are higher and the procedure for buying housing is more complicated. All this makes apartments near the lakes liquid at all times, they can always be sold at a bargain price. Proof of this is the crisis, which has not even shaken the prices of housing in Lombardy. Como offers a wide range of properties. These are ancient villas with gardens near the lake, or directly on the shore with a private marina. Particularly popular are apartments in historic villas and publications. On Como, you can also find new objects.
As in Italy in Lombardy, there are no restrictions for foreigners to purchase real estate. When the object is chosen and all terms are agreed upon, a preliminary contract is signed. At this point the deposit is paid – in Italy it can go up to 30% of the value. After which the object is removed from the sale. If the seller suddenly refuses the deal, he must return the deposit in double. The sale and purchase is possible only in the presence of a notary. He supervises the signing of the real estate purchase deed and sometimes, for greater security, the preliminary contract. After signing the Act is registered at the Department of the Registry of Property in Italy.
For convenience and efficiency before you buy a property in Italy, it is recommended to open a bank account, since all payments are made by bank transfer. Transaction costs associated with the transaction is about 12-17%. Property owner pays an annual tax of 0.7% and 30% of income in the case of rental property. Foreigners who buy a house in Italy can count on a renewable Schengen visa, and to obtain a residence permit, you must open your own company in Italy.