The Gallic or Celtic tribes of the Po Valley were the first inhabitants of today's Lombardia to have left a long lasting mark in such places as Bergamo, Como and Milan or Mediolanum.
There are two main wine growing zones in the province of Brescia. The first occupies the slopes towards Lake Garda while the second is the the famous Franciacorta to the west of the provincial capital on the sweet slopes of the 'colline moreniche' facing Brescia and Lago d’Iseo.
Happy Hour Aperitivo in Milan Featured
Taking an aperitivo in Italy has now become very fashionable in the main Italian cities, not least Milan. An aperitivo (or aperitif in English) is traditionally considered to be a pre-dinner drink, served to stimulate the appetite before a meal.
At most bars throughout Italy, drinks are served with a bit of potato chips and olives to snack on. But, in many bars throughout Milan, the idea of an aperitivo has since grown to include enough food to serve as a replacement dinner.
Cremona is a confusing place. Is it also Crema? If so, where's Cremonese? To make matters worse is the town of Cremeno anything to do with it? Read on. To begin with, Cremona and Crema are about 40km apart with the latter around 80km from Milano. No one really knows when Crema was founded on the banks of the River Serio, but it came under the control of Cremona (the Cremonese) during medieval times.
Classic second course dish from Milan and there is no one better to show how it should be made than Chef Augusto Tombolato of Restaurant Casanova, The Westin Palace, Milan.
4 veal cutlets, 2 eggs (beaten), 1/2 cup finely ground breadcrumbs, lightly toasted in the oven, 3/4 cup butter (halve this if you use a non-stick pan)
Everyone has heard of the 'Mille Miglia' motor race but not many of us know much about it.
The first race was held in 1927 and won by Nando Minoia (image above) who finished ahead of 54 other vehicles.
It was an inauspicious start to what has become a modern legend as he crossed the winning line alone in the early morning, while Brescia slept and no other competitor was in sight.
The route of the course was designed to test both driver and vehicle and has always incorporated three important elements: a variety of roads and terrain across Italy, Rome as the turning point back north, and assigned Brescia as the role of departure and arrival.
The original route totalled 1600 km and the organisers immediately christened it "Coppa Mille Miglia" or "The Thousand Mile Cup' in honour of the measurement used during the Roman Empire.
The heyday of the race was from 1947 to 1957 when the world's best drivers and cars competed and the list of entrants is a who's who of 20th century European vehicle manufacturing: Bugatti, Alfa Romeo, Maserati, Fiat, Lancia, Ferrari, Jaguar, Healy, Aston Martin, Mercedes, BMW, Porsche.
Inside the Monastery of Sain Eufemia in Brescia you can visit the Museum of Mille Miglia car race. Passing through the history of this classic sporting event from the 1927, visitors also do a journey across the Italian regions and see art and history of towns that have been part of the race route itineraries. It is also a path into the XX Century social Italian life and culture memories. The museum hosts an exhibition of private cars collectors. www.museomillemiglia.it
The International Furniture Show or Salone Internazionale del Mobile in Milan has grown in importance and size since it's inception in 1961 to be the one furniture fair that furniture buyers and designers from all over the world never miss.
For a week in mid April, the city becomes a force-field of good taste and style due to the fact that Milan is a city full of creators and industrialists, designers and manufacturers, and people who keep their thumb on the pulse of international trends in modern furniture design.
But people in the business know that it's really the 180 or so parallel events outside the evirons of the show itself (most of them taking place in the posh Brera neighborhood) that really make or break new designers.
The creative throb of the show spawns a gala of exhibitions, meetings, shows and entertainment that transform Milan into a center of creativity and style.
Italy is the biggest exporter of artistic goods in the world today with about 70% of the credit going to products related to fashion and design.
This phenomenon has transformed Milan into the most dependable international showroom of these two sectors. In addition, the adaptability and flexibility that characterize the whole area justify the city's claim to be the innovation and design capital of the world.
Salone Internazionale del Mobile
Fiera Milano, Rho
The day after Saint Valentine's Day is Saint Faustino's Day.
So what? Well, the saint day has been adopted by single people in Italy. In other words he is the patron saint of people with no lover.
Indeed, the National Association of Single Italians (ANIS), is based in Grosseto, Tuscany and boasts thousands of members. Unfortunately it does not seem to have a website.
Harlequin, or Arlecchino, the famous masked comedy figure with his multi-coloured costume and devious tricks, apparently lived in the village of Oneta in Val Brembana in the province of Bergamo.
The house was originally built in the 4th century and is located near the ancient via Mercantorum.
Harlequin himself was Alberto Ganassa a performer of the 'Comedy of Art' who travelled around Italy. At the end of his career he returned to his native Orneta and purchased the house.
Following Ganassa, the house was bought by the Grataroli family who made their fortune in 15th century Venice.
Unfortunately, not much of the original frescoes and internal decoration from this period remain. For example, the image of the mythical wild man near the entrance is actually a reproduction.
Venice may have the best Carnival in Italy but those in Lombardia are a mixture of the weird and wonderful.
For starters, try the version at Schignano in the province of Como. A similar event also takes place in the provnice of Sondrio.
Carnival week features two types of protagonists, the 'Belli' and the 'Brutti'; the Beautiful and the Ugly.
The 'Belli' are transformed by the women of the household into elegant, refined, simpering creatures. They typically wear a big floppy, flowery hat and are covered in jewellery. Their face is hidden by a wooden mask.
By contrast the 'Brutti' get prepared in animal sheds and dress in sheep skins, ox horns, old hay and carry a sack. I think we can guess what is coming.