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.
Panettone is the classic Christmas cake eaten across Italy during the festive period or holiday. Panettone is, in fact, a typical cake from Milan. Although there are several versions of its origins, this legend of how panettone was born is one cherished by the Milanese.
Cremona is famous for its mustard of course, but perhaps it should be more famous for its sweet Christmas nougat called torrone. The annual Festa del Torrone, or Torrone Festival, takes place in the third week of November and is the ideal pre-festive appointment before Christmas.
The historical center of Cremona is full of stands celebrating the sticky sweet. Not just torrone from Cremona, but other versions from all over Italy. Most torrone is made from honey, vanilla, eggs, almonds and toasted hazelnuts and Cremona is Italy's capital. The event is full of processions, spectacles and many free hapenings, not least for the kids.
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.