Lombardia is a large northern Italian region incorporating Milan and beautiful Renaissance cities like Pavia and Mantua, as well as a varied geography from the fertile Lombardy plains to Italy’s mountainous lake region in the north. A sixth of Italy’s population lives in Lombardia and about a fifth of Italy’s GDP is produced in the region, making it the most populous and richest region in the country and one of the richest in the whole of Europe.
Milan is Lombardia’s capital and one of Italy’s most fashionable cities. Milan is a fast-paced city with a thriving cultural scene and is a great city for shopping. It also holds its share of artistic and historical sites, including the largest Gothic cathedral in the world. Many international travelers arrive at Milan’s Malpensa Airport, to the northwest of the city.
The climate of this region is continental, though with variations depending on altitude or the presence of inland waters. The continental nature of the climate is more accentuated on the plains, with high annual temperature changes (at Milan an average January temperature is 1.5 °C (35 °F) and 24 °C (75 °F) in July), and thick fog between October and February.
Although Lombardy is often identified as merely an economic and industrial powerhouse, it has a rich and diverse cultural heritage. The many examples range from prehistory to the present day, through the Roman period and the Renaissance and can be found both in museums and churches that enrich cities and towns around the region.