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One week in Lombardia Italy | Perfect North Italy itinerary

Lombardia [or Lombardy], is a large, picturesque region in Northern Italy. The region is probably best known for its capital Milan and for Lake Como.

Whilst many visitors head to Milan for its shopping and culture, there is so much more to see in this charming area.

One week in Lombardia Italy is a perfect amount of time to discover lakes, mountains and historic cities full of elegant architecture.

One week in Lombardia Italy

Northern Italy itinerary

The Lombardia region has a diverse landscape, it stretches from the magnificent Alps to the lowlands of the Po Valley.

Lombardia contains vineyards, traditional Italian towns such as Monza and Mantova and the breathtaking Lake Como.

There is also a rather stunning mountain chain in the region that includes the Valtellina valley.

One week in Northern Italy is a perfect amount of time to discover this remarkable region in Italy.

You can pack lots of activities, sightseeing and foodie experiences when you visit Lombardia. 

Disclaimer: This content was created from a trip with InLombardia

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Lombardy Italy map

In this seven day Lombarida Itinerary you can visit the following locations:

  • Milan
  • Cremona
  • Mantova
  • Monza
  • Como
  • Lecco
  • Bellano
  • Traona
  • Valtellina

Many of these locations are a short distance apart, meaning you can visit multiple locations in a day if you want?

Here’s a map of Lombardia with the locations in this guide pinned, so you can see the various places you can visit.

Day one Milan and Cremona

The best way to start your Lombardy itinerary is by arriving by plane, train or car into Milan.

Milan is the home of fashion and design and has some incredible shopping and sightseeing.

If you aim to arrive early, you can spend a morning exploring the centre of this fast-paced Italian metropolis.

one week in Lombardia Italy

Best things to see in Milan

If you are short of time in Milan I would stick to the area in and around the ‘Piazza del Duomo’, to see some of the main attractions in Milan.

Some of the best things to see in Milan include:

Milan shopping centre

If you want more time to explore Milan, you could always extend your Lombardia trip and have a weekend in Milan?

Cremona

After a morning in Milan, head to to the Cremona, the capital of music. You can easily travel from Milan to Crema by car or train. The train between Milan and Cremona takes around 2 hours and 15 minutes.

Cremona is the undisputed home of the violin, the city has a rich history of violin making that dates back to over 400 years.

Cremona historic centre

The violin craftsmanship of Cremona became part of the Unesco Intangible Cultural Heritage list in 2012.

Many exceptional luminaries including Nicolò Amati, Giuseppe Guarneri, and Antonio Stradivari have called Cremona home.

Cremona cathedral

One day in Cremona

One day in Cremona will require you to make a list of the Cremona attractions that you want to see.

One of the best ways to see Cremona in 24 hours or less is to go on a walking tour of Cremona. This way you can see the main sights of Cremona and discover off-beat places too.

A guided tour of Cremona will allow you to see some of Cremona’s best sights and attractions.

Cremona walking tour

Highlights include the Piazza del Comune, Cremona Cathedral, the Church of Sant’Abbondio and the Church of Santa Agata.

If you are a travel photography enthusiast, the best views of the Cremona Cathedral are from the upper floors of ‘Comune Di Cremona’ [Cremona town hall]. 

Make sure to come here at dusk to get dreamy photos of the Cathedral, Piazza del Comune and the Torrazzo, [the cathedral bell tower].

Some of the best things to do in Cremona include

The Cremona Violin Museum – a modern museum with a fantastic collection of stringed instruments. See violins, violas and cellos crafted by renowned luthiers, including Antonio Stradivari.

Museo Civico Ala Ponzone – beautiful pieces in a well-presented 16th-century palace. The Gallery also has a range of exciting, temporary exhibitions.

The torrazzo – climb the 502 winding steps up 111m-tall tower for a fantastic view of Cremona.

Cremona violin making workshop

One of the most unique things to do in Cremona is visiting a violin makers workshop. There are around 150 violinmakers in Cremona today, making violins using the classic ‘Cremona method.’

violin workshop Cremona

A visit to these Cremona violin shops is like stepping back in time. Inhale the aroma of old wood and varnish as you walk through the door. Sit on a small stool and marvel at the old-fashioned craftsmen’s tools and musty jars of liquids.

violin workshop Cremona

Violin tours are offered in selected workshops in Cremona. You can book a tour and learn more about the handmaking of stringed instruments in Cremona.

violin workshop Cremona

Where to eat in Cremona

Cremona has a large variety of restaurants and cafes to choose from. Here are some of the best places to eat in Cremona:

Cremona restaurant

Where to stay in Cremona

I would recommend staying 2 nights in Cremona, as it is a great place to base yourself for a few days to explore the nearby areas.

You don’t want to be changing hotels every night during your week in Lombardia.

There is a range of hotels in Cremona, from budget options, guest houses and 4* hotels. Some of the best places to stay in Cremona include:

Cremona hotel

Day 2 Cremona and Mantova

Spend the morning exploring the boutique shops and medieval centre of the town.

Cremona’s shopping streets lined with small shops selling locally made clothes, food produce and jewellery.

The window displays in these shops are beautifully decored and reflect the current season or holiday.

Cremona Violin museum

After shopping, why not squeeze a few hours of culture into your morning? Learn about the history and production of violins at Cremona’s Violin Museum.

violin musuem

This modern museum contains a number of historic and rare instruments crafted by Antonio Stradivari.

There are also a number of impressive interactive displays and exhibits which will draw you further into the world of violins.

violin museum cremona

Mantova

After a morning in Cremona, head to the Italian renaissance city of Mantova, [Mantua]. It’s around an hour’s drive from Cremona to Mantova.

You could also take the Cremona to Mantova train, which takes around 50 minutes.

mantova

This small, UNESCO–listed city was founded in 2000 BC and has a long historical timeline.

Mantova is wildly underrated and definitely needs to be on your Lombardia itinerary.

The city is probably known for the stunning architectural legacy of the Renaissance Gonzaga rulers, who built the impressive Ducal Palace.

mantova

Things to do in Mantova

One of the best ways to see Mantova in 24 hours or less is to go on a walking tour of Mantova.

This way you can see the main sights of the historic centre and the main attractions of the city.

Highlights include the Ducal Palace, Piazza Broletto, Rotonda di San Lorenzo, Basilica di Sant’ Andrea and the canals.

mantova canal

Ducal Palace

The Ducal Palace was the Gonzagas’ royal residence and is a grand collection of buildings built between the 14th and 17th centuries.

Take a guided tour of the Ducal Palace and learn more about its history and splendid fresco-painted rooms.

There are over 500 rooms in the complex and the main buildings are connected b a series of galleries and corridors. You could spend hours exploring this incredible place, there is so much to see.

Make sure to also visit the gardens and inner courts to get some beautiful photographs of these regal spaces.

Bibiena Theatre

This majestic theatre was designed by Antonio Galli Bibiena in 1767. The Bibiena Theatre contains world-famous interior decoration and musical performances.

The theatre contains ornate, stucco balconies that are arranged around its curving wall.

You can visit the theatre during the day to marvel at its impressive design or better still, attend an evening performance to fully appreciate musical perfection.

Where to eat in Mantova

Mantova has a large variety of restaurants and cafes to choose from. Here are some of the best places to eat in Mantova:

Day 3 Monza

Head from your hotel in Cremona to the city of Monza, which is northeast of Milan.

It’s around an hour and 20 minutes drive from Cremona to Monza. Or, you can get the train from Cremona to Monza in around 1 hour and 49 minutes.

Monza is probably best known for its racing track, though there are still things to see in this small city.

Monza

Monza race circuit

One of the best things to do in Monza is to visit the race circuit,[Autodromo Nazionale Monza].

The Monza circuit is a world-famous track that attracts scores of Grand Prix fans from all over the world.

Opening in 1922, it’s the fastest Formula 1 track. There are over 5,793 metres of pure racing excitement.

monza race track

Attending a race here is one of the most special experiences for a formula one fan. Witness the speed and passion whilst surrounded by roaring fans and excitable commentators.

monza race circuit

Monza circuit tour

If you can’t make a race you can go on a tour of Autodromo Nazionale Monza. Booking a guided tour means you can get a unique behind the scenes view of the circuit.

You can see the control room, visit the media centre and even get a selfie on the podium above the track.

My favourite part of the tour was experiencing a lap of the Monza Italian Grand Prix track in a minivan.

monza

Ok, so it’s not a race car, but it’s still such a fantastic experience to be driven around the track. This way, you can see it from a driver’s point of view.

Monza historic centre

After a morning at the race track, make sure to spend an afternoon exploring Monza’s historic centre.

To see Monza’s main highlights, you could go on a guided Monza walking tour or book a fun, Monza Segway tour. This way, you can zip around the city in style with a tour guide on wheels.

Some of the best things to see in Monza include: 

  • The Duomo, also known as the “Cathedral of San Giovanni Battista”. This magnificent Cathedral was built in 595 and then modified in the 13th and 14th century.
  • Parco di Monza (Monza Park), the largest enclosed park in Europe. the park was established in 1806 and is now part of Lambro Valley Natural Reserve.
  • The New Bridge (Ponte Nuovo), this is an ancient gateway to the city of Monza. It runs alongside a section of the manmade Lambretto canal.
  • Musei Civici di Monza this museum include the collections of the Pinacoteca Civica and has an exhibition of ‘In Linea con Leonardo’.

Where to eat in Monza

Monza has a large variety of restaurants and cafes to choose from. Here are some of the best places to eat in Monza:

Day 4 Como

Aim to spend at least 2 nights in the Lake Como area to get the most out of your time here. You can head to lake Como straight from Monza, the journey takes around an hour and 30 minutes.

Lake Como is a fancy resort area known for its dramatic scenery around its inverted ‘y-shaped’ lake. 

lake como

The lake is located at the foot of the Alps and is one of the best known and most picturesque sceneries in the world. It is an incredible destination for a romantic escape of a weekend break in the lakes.

lake como



Booking.com

Things to do in Como

Lake Como covers a large area and features charming villages and towns that surround the lake.

If you are short of time at Lake Como, I would suggest basing yourself in the city of Como. It’s a fantastic central location on the lake that is rich with history and culture.

The best way to see all the Como highlights, such as Como cathedral and the historic Via degli artigiani, is to book a Como walking tour.

See the city’s main attractions and learn about the city’s Roman and Medieval past from your professional guide.

Como boat trip

If you only have one day in Como I would definitely suggest taking a boat trip on Lake Como.

The most important thing to know is that there are two types of Como boat tour, public and private.

What type of tour you choose will depend on your time, your budget and what you want to see.

The local public tours (Navigazione Laghi) have several boat routes that connect the most popular towns along Lake Como’s shore.

These boat trips are reasonably priced and are brilliant if you want to travel between destinations, such as Como to Cernobbio.

Private boat tours normally involve guided boat tours of the lake or Lake Como sailing experiences and are more expensive.

Villa Bernasconi

Villa Bernasconi is an innovative museum housed inside the most glorious Art Nouveau Architecture.

It is owned by the town of Cernobbio and is now a cultural centre in the town, hosting exhibitions and events.

The museum is rather unusual and features a series of interactive exhibits that explain the mansion’s history and the stories of people who lived there.

Museo della Seta

Museo della Seta [Educational Silk Museum], might not immediately strike you as a fascinating tourist spot.

However, the museum skillfully displays the cultural and entrepreneurial tradition of silk in Como.

This is in part thanks to the incredibly knowledgable staff who are able to explain more about the machines, looms and fabrics.

Where to eat in Como

Como has a large variety of upscale restaurants and quaint cafes to choose from. Here are some of the best places to eat in Como:

Where to stay in Como

I would recommend staying 2 nights in Como, as it is a fantastic place to base yourself for a few days.

I would go directly from Monza to Como and stay at least two nights in a centrally located hotel.

There is a range of hotels in Como, from budget options, guest houses and upscale hotels. Some of the best places to stay in Como include:

Day 5 Lecco, Bellano and Traona

Spend a morning discovering the lakeside town of Lecco, located on the southeastern shore of Lake Como.

Lecco is the lesser-known area of Lake Como and offers pleasant architecture against a mountainous backdrop.

The city is a great base for hiking and outdoor enthusiasts. There is a range of walking routes in the surrounding hills and mountains of Lecco.

Keen climbers will also find that there are several challenging climbs in the mountains.

If you have a short time in Lecco, I would recommend going on a walking tour of Lecco, or booking a unique Lecco Food Tour.

Osservatorio Alpinistico Lecchese

Climbing fans should head to the Osservatorio Alpinistico Lecchese in Lecco. This is an interactive and hands-on museum, exploring the history and traditions of mountaineering.

It’s a small exhibition but it’s packed full of facts about climbing and famous mountaineers.

You could spend a few hours here learning more about this exhilarating and challenging sport that is loved by many in Lecco.

Bellano

After a few hours exploring Lecco, head on over to Bellano, which is only 25 minutes away from Lecco.

Bellano is one of the smaller and quiet town towns in Lake Como.  Narrow alleys are lined with medieval houses, eighteenth-century arches and Baroque courtyards.

The town looks especially pretty in the winter when the snow is falling around the rustic buildings.

This gives the town a very rustic and historic feel. You will also find a 14th-century parish church of St Nazzario and Celsio here.

Orrido di Bellano

When visiting Bellano you have to make sure to see the Orrido di Bellano. It’s a narrow, natural gorge that features a waterfall, that is accessible to visitors by a suspension bridge.

The Orrido is a bit of an unusual tourist attraction, it does provide some great photos of the aqua bleu flowing waters of the Pioverna though. It looks so pretty in the winter when the snow starts to fall.

The best part is, the Orrido only costs €4 to enter, making it a bit of a budget attraction in Bellano.

Crotto di Biosio

Make sure to have a lunch stop at Crotto di Biosio. This cosy restaurant offers an exquisite panorama of Lake Como and the mountains.

All their meals are freshly made with local products that include charcuterie, alpine cheese and salads from their garden.

Typical dishes include lake fish, baked pork shin, Veal stew, ravioli and grilled sausage and local cheese.

Traona

From Bellano head to Traona for late afternoon/evening. This sleepy village is full of historic architecture, stone churches, vineyards and wineries.

traona

In the winter the village looks gorgeous with a dusting of snow over the buildings and over the vineyards and mountains.

To get the best photos of Traona in winter, head to St Alexander church. The church is on the higher elevations of the town and from here, you can capture a fantastic panorama of dreamy snow-capped mountains.

Traona Italy

Day 6 Valtellina and Morbegno

After spending a day exploring Lecco, Bellano and Traona, I would recommend you spend the next two night in Valtellina.

This picturesque valley is a great place to base yourself for 2 nights to explore this mountainous area.

Valtellina is a spectacular alpine valley, the area is also well known for snow sports and winemaking.

The area has been producing wine for over 2000 years. In the summer, visit some of the area’s wineries to taste and purchase delicious, cherry-scented wines. These local wines are made from the Nebbiolo grape variety.

Snowshoeing in Val Gerola

If you are visiting Lombardia in winter you can enjoy a range of snow sports including skiing and snowshoeing.

There are several trails in this area which are suitable for snowshoeing through peaceful, snow-white forests.  

A classic path for snowshoeing in this area starts from Gerola Alta. the path then arrives at Fenile, touches Pescegallo and then continues up to the Salmurano refuge, on the ski slopes.

This snowshoe walk is also perfect for beginners and for families that are new to snowsports and trekking.

Morbegno

After a morning of snowshoeing, head to Morbegno, a quiet village in the low Valtellina Valley.

Wander the narrow streets and admire the quaint architecture, churches and boutique shops.

Several historical highlights include collegiate Church of San Giovanni Battista, San Pietro and Sant’Antonio and the Sanctuary of the Beata Vergine Assunta.

Make sure you also visit the regal Palazzo Malacrida when visiting Morbegno. This stately mansion is full of pastel frescoes and rococo-style architecture.

Morbegno Ciapponi

One of the best shops in Morbegno village is Ciapponi’s. This huge delicatessen has a vintage interior that features cheese and wine cellars.

You feel as if you have stepped back in the time as you wander around rustic displays of the best wines, cheeses, olive oil and cured meats that the region has to offer.

Where to eat in Valtellina

The Valtellina area has a variety of cosy restaurants and quaint bars spread out over the small towns. Here are some of the best places to eat in Valtellina

  • Vecchio Fiume
  • Agriturismo Le Case dei Baff
  • Trattoria Pizzo Tre Signori
  • Ristorante Torre della Sassella

Where to stay in Valtellina

I would really recommend spending two nights is Valtellina and basing yourself at Agriturismo Le Case dei Baff.

Stay in a homely farm building with mountain views, in the overwhelmingly green area of Ardenno, in the Valtellina valley.

The Le Case dei Baff looks exceptionally pretty in the winter months and offers guests mulled wine and cosy corners in which to unwind and relax.

The family-owned accommodation features a restaurant, gardens, and mountain view rooms with free wifi throughout. It is a brilliant place to stay in Valtellina.

Day 7 Valtellina and Milan

On your last morning in the Lombardia region, visit the innovative ‘Agriturismo La Fiorida’ farm in Valtellina.

La Fiorida is a unique farm business that was created Plinio Vanini thanks to his love of animals.

This is a multi-purpose site that features farm animals, cheese-making workshops, a shop, accommodation and 2 restaurants. One of which has been awarded a Michelin star.

Spend some time meeting the award-winning cows and adorable goats on this large farm.

La Fiorida Restaurant

After meeting animal friends and making some cheese make sure to have lunch on one of the restaurants in La Fiorida.

Enjoy fresh dishes that are created using high-quality products from the farm. Typical dishes include Pumpkin Ravioli, Wild boar, Gnocconi and Fillet of Val Masino trout.

Valtellina to Milan

End your Lombardia trip by heading back to Milan to get your train or flight home.

The journey from Valtellina to Milan takes around 2 hours by car or you can get a direct train from Sondrio to Milano Centrale.

Once you are in Milan you can head home or even extend your trip to other popular destinations in Italy including Venice and Rome. These cities are easily reached by train from Milan.

One week in Lombardy

Seven days is a perfect northern Italy itinerary, you can visit many small towns and attractions in a week without it feeling rushed.

Many of the historic towns and villages are only a short drive from each other, meaning you can visit several destinations in a day.

What do you think of my guide to one week in Lombardia Italy? Are you inspired to visit? Let me know in the comments below.

Planning your trip to Lombardia

Ready to book your trip to Lombardia? Use these awesome travel resources to get you started:

Check out all the best travel resources on my bumper travel resources page

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One week in Lombardia Italy | Perfect North Italy itinerary One week in Lombardia Italy is a perfect amount of time to discover lakes, mountains and historic cities full of elegant architecture. The region contains vineyards, traditional Italian towns such as Monza and Mantova, Lake Como and a stunning mountain chain that includes the Valtellina valley. #Italy #traveltips #Lombardia #italytravel #europe #citybreak

One week in Lombardia Italy | Perfect North Italy itinerary One week in Lombardia Italy is a perfect amount of time to discover lakes, mountains and historic cities full of elegant architecture. The region contains vineyards, traditional Italian towns such as Monza and Mantova, Lake Como and a stunning mountain chain that includes the Valtellina valley. #Italy #traveltips #Lombardia #italytravel #europe #citybreak

DisclaimerThis content was created from a trip with inLombardia. This post may contain affiliate links that earn me a small commission but come at no additional cost to you. By clicking these links you are supporting Pip and the City and helping to keep the content free. Massive thanks for your ongoing support.