The Lombardia region of Italy
The Sgambeda di Livigno is a lung bursting 42 kilometre cross country ski race which traditionally opens the new season. It was once an event reserved for amateurs and, indeed, it was commonly known as a 'marce popolari'. Today it is called 'granfondo', is included in the FIS Marathon Cup and the winners take home a cool 21,000 euros. That's 500 euros every kilometre by our rough maths.
Pizzoccheri is a pasta which goes extremely well with butter and is ideal for those cold winter days in the lost valleys of the Valtellina. So lost, that even Garibaldi had second thoughts about heading into them. This version serves 6 and is a quick version to try at home with the typical supermarket version of the pasta. For more authenticity try swapping grana padano for bitto.
Pizzoccheri pasta, vegetables, grana padano cheese, butter, herbs
"Could you please let me know when the Mantova cheese and salami festival is this year. many thanks. Robin, UK." Its all very well ploughing the beaten track to seek out the ultimate in rustic local food experiences. But sometimes it's just better to wait for the one of Italy's major exhibition organizers to do all the legwork for you.
In many parts of Brescia, especially in the Trompia Valley, January 17th was a holiday as far back as 1318 and some scholars date it back even further to Roman times. The cult of S. Antonio was diffused by the Antonian monks, a hospital order founded during the crurades to cure soldiers affected by various skin disorders.
The Saint is seen with a pig since up until the 17th century skin disorders were cured with pig fat. He is depicted in many paintings, the most famous being by the 15th century painter Alessandro Bonvicino (also known as Il Moretto), which was finished about 1530 for the Auro Sanctuary in Casto, Valle Sabbia.
2 tablespoons butter, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 cups chopped onion, 2 cups chopped carrots 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped, 4 veal shanks, 1/2 cup flour for dredging, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 cup dry white wine, 1 lb canned chopped tomatoes, 1/4 cup chopped parsley 1 tablespoons dried basil, or 2 tablespoons fresh, 2 cups beef broth, Salt and pepper.
The town of Como was originally a Celtic or Gallic border outpost linking Italy to Switzerland and northern Europe.
The Romans got there in 196 BC and cleverly kept much of it the same, renaming it Novum Comum. From then the place has never looked back.
Today, it is home to 83,000 people and combines its industry, art, recreation and historical activities effortlessly. Head to the 'Cortesella', the old commercial heart of the town since 1800.
The silk industry was one of the first to be industrialised and visitors should beat a path to the Museo Didattico della Seta-Fondazione Setificio as well as the Ratti Foundation which contains old textile and fabric collections.
Como and the Lake are well connected to Milan's Malpensa Airport.
In fact the airport is ony 65km away and closer to Como than Milan itself. The rail station at Como is called Stazione S.Giovanni while a bus connects Malpensa Terminals 1 & 2 to Piazza Cavour at Como.