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Map of Farm houses in Lombardy


Information on Lombardy


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In the north with Switzerland, in the east with Trentino-Alto-Adige, in the south with Emilia Romagna, in the west with Piedmont.


One of the most progressive regions in Italy for agriculture is Lombardy. Because it can rely on an ample supply of water and a well equipped modern system of irrigation, the southern Pianura Padana (the plain of the river Po) provides aboundant harvest of maize, fruit and vegetables, rice and cheese; these are the main products of this region. The growing of forage has encouraged cattle and pig rearing which then provide meat, milk and dairy products. Furthermore, in the Lombardy country direct farming is the usual custom; owner farmers cultivate the land. Recently, however, the spread of large agricultural founs has became very prevalent and now almost a third of all the Lombardy country is run by these "big-business" farms wich are organized in a precise industrial manner. Vine culture is widespread in the hilly areas; the less developed parts of Lombardy lie in the mountanious region where the traditional methods of farming and cattle rearing still continue. The growing of poplar wood is quite important and is used to feed the paper-making mills.


Lombardy cover the central part of the Po plain and the Alpine range of mountain; it is one of the few regions which has no coastline. The Alpine part of the region spreads over the area from the Sempione (Simplon) to the Stelvio taking in the "Lepontine Alps", the "Retiche Alps" and the "Orobiche Alps". Mount Bernina, at 4.052 m. is the highest peak in the Retiche Alps and the other tallest mountains are the Ortles at 3.899 m., the Cevedale at 3.764 m. and the Adamello at 3.554 m.; along the border with region of Trentino are the mountains of the Disgrazia at 3.678 m., the Leone at 3.562 m. and the Adule at 3.406 m. The largest glaciers in the Italian Alps lie within Lombardy; these are Forni in the Cevedale mountain range which covers an area of about 17 sq. kms. and the Mandrone in the Adamello range covering about 13 sq. kms.; altogether there are 216 glaciers in Lombardy lying over an area of circa 146 sq. kms. The principal Prealpine mountains are Mount Blumone at 3.830 m. in the "Canoniche Prealps", the Presolana at 2.521 m. in the "Bergamascan Prealps" and the Grigne at 2.410 m. in Brianza. The most important flat area in Lombardy is the well known Plain of the Po, the largest of all Italian plains, which covers almost half of the region. Lombardy has two kinds of plain: the "high plain" and the "low plain", which are confined by the area called the "springs" where the water coming from the hills and the high plain having run into permeable ground, must come to the surfaces again. All the Lombardy rivers flow into the Po; these are the Adda (313 kms), the Oglio (280 kms) and the Ticino (248 kms) and they cross the plain obliquely from west to east following the contours of the terrain until they reach the Adriatic Sea. Lombardy also possesses the most beautiful lakes in Europe. These are Lakes Como, Maggiore and Garda; the latter, which is the largest of all the Italian lakes, stretches along the prealpine area between Lombardy, the Veneto and Trentino-Alto-Adige regions. It has a perimeter of 155 kms, cover an area of a good 370 sq. kms. and its maximum depth is 346 m. The watershed which supplies the lake is relatively small; the only tributary of any importance is the river Sarca which flows down from the Adamello Mountains and empties into Lake Garda near the village of Torbole. The second largest lake in Italy is Lake Maggiore which has a surface area of 212 sq. kms. (of which 42 sq. kms. belong Switzerland) and the deepest part is 372 m. The main tributary which flows into the lake at its northernmost point is the river Ticino; the shores of the lake which are high and sometimes very steep, are famous for their tourist villages. Because of the great geografical differences of the region, the climate is extremely cold in the high altitudes and hot and Humid on the Plain, expecially in the lakeside areas. Finally, we would like to mention the famous National Park of Stelvio; it belongs in part to Lombardy and the fauna are the chamoix, the ibex, the marmot and the ermine. But we will tell you more about this beautiful Park in the chapter Trentino-Alto-Adige. Topography: Mountain 40,6% Hill 12,4% Plain 47%


Lombardy is one of the major industrial centres in the whole of Italy and this is quite evident because one quarter of Italy' s industrial products come from this region. Mechanical engineering, metalmechanics and metallurgy are the most important industries, but during the last ten years some traditional industries like textiles have superceded by a number of smaller ones which produce wollen goods, hosiery and footwear. It must emphasised however, that there has also been a remarkable growth in the field of high fashion, advertising agencies and editorial publishing houses, the chief of these being Mondadori and Rizzoli. But the top most industries in Lombardy are those of car manifacture, Alfa Romeo, rubber goods Pirelli and the Breda factory. Smaller industrial centres are Cremona for food products, Brianza for forniture and Vigevano for footwear. In recent years iindustrial Lombardy has lost a little of its prominence because of the rapid growth of the services sector; however, as has already been said, it still retains a highly acceptable economic position. Concerning the services sector, all commercial activities have increases enormously. Miln has proved to be an excellent centre for fashion houses and for exibitions and fairs. As well as commerce the region has important sectors which deal with banking insurance and adversing.


Milan, the principal city of Lombardy, lies in the centre of the plain between the Alps and the river Po and the rivers Adda and Ticino. Because of this favourable position, Milan is one of the main industrial, commercial and financial cities in Italy; the metropolis can also count on an amazing number of industries of every type. The city has a great many wonderful buildings: theatres, museum and cathedrals; the most famous Milanese work,as everyone knows, is the Duomo which was begun in 1386 and is built in the Gothic style. On the highest point of the building is a gold covered bronze Madonnina. In the Duomo there are beautiful stained glass windows, some of which date back to the 15th century; a canopy rather like a small temple stands over the high altar, maded by the Pellegrini; the choir stalls are of sculptured walnut wood. The Castello Sforzesco (Castle of Sforza family), the Ospedale Maggiore sometimes called Ca' Granda (Big House), the Cappella Portinari in Sant' Eustorgio (Portinari Chapel in St. Eustorgio) and the church of Santa Maria (St. Mary) near San Satiro (St. Satiro) are all built in the Renaissance style. The church of San Francesco di Paola (St. Francis in Paola) is of the rococco period, and the Palazzo Belgioioso (Belgioioso Palace), the Scala Theatre and the Palazzo Reale (Royal Palace) exemplify the neoclassical style of building. For those who are interested in libraries, art galleries and museums, Milan offers the very old "Ambrosian" library and the Comunale and Trivulziana libraries; there are the Brera and Ambrosian Art Galleries to see and then there are the Archelogical Museum, the Sant' Ambrogio (St. Ambrose) Museum of sacred works and the Duomo Museum to visit. All these and the Modern Art Gallery in the Villa Reale own extremely prestigious works of art. Bergamo, avery old city, is divided into two: Bergamo Alta (High) which is at the foot of the Bergamasan Prealps and Bergamo Bassa (Low) which stands on the plain. As well as being a very beautiful city because of the wonderful architetural buildings to be found there like Santa Maria Maggiore (St. Mary the Greater) the outside of which is built in the Roman style and the interior in barogne, the Cappella Colleoni (Colleoni Chapel) and the Duomo, Bergamo is also important as a prosperous centre of industry. Brescia has a very good geographical position making this city too a notable industrial centre. An ancient Roman city, it still has the ruins of the theatre, the curia and the capitol; the Loggia and the Torre dell' Orologio (Clock Tower) belong to the Renaissance period and the Duomo Nuovo (New Duomo), to which the cupola was added later, was built in the 18th century. Como is very famous for its lake which, at 410 meters, is the deepest of all the Italian lakes; but Como is a very important tourist centre. This city has also some beautiful buildings such as the Cathedral and the churches of Sant' Abbondio and San Fedele (St. Faithful). Varese is another Lombardy city which lies at the foot of the Lombardy Prealps. Notable buildings are the church of San Vittore which has a neo-classical facade and the Roman style baptistery of the church of San Giovanni (St. John). The Sacro Monte (Sacred Mountain) soors behind the city. There is not much to say about Sondrio; only that it is a very popular Alpine tourist centre encireled by the river Adda. Its most important edifices are the Sanctuary of the Sassella and the seventeenth century Collegiate. Pavia, situated beside the confluence of the rivers Ticino and Po, is not only a busy agricultural and industrial centre but also a city which has numerous works of art. The churches of San Pietro in Ciel d' Oro (St. Peter in Golden Sky), San Teodoro (St. Theodore), San Michele (St, Micheal) and Santa Maria in Betlemme (St. Mary of Bethlehem) are from the Roman era. While the church of San Francesco (St. Francis) and the Visconti Castle are of Gothic style, the Duomo is a beautiful example of the Renaissance period. The Palazzo Mezzabarba (Halfbeard Palace) is baroque and the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie (St. Mary of the Graces) is in the rococco style. A place which must be mentioned is the stupendous and very well known "Certosa di Pavia". This is a church which has a facade of the most sumpthous decoration and many fresco-paintings on the inside walls. The city of Cremona, situated on the northern flank of the river Po downsteam from where it joins the river Adda, is noted for its food product industry (the sweet Torroni is made here). The city offers the tourist the Duomo, which is flanked by the famous bell-tower called "torrazzo", the octagonal baptistery, the church of Sant' Agostino (St. Augustin), the Militi Loggia and the Fodri, Raimondi and Cittanova Palaces. Mantova, lying in a bend of the river Mincio, is a very interesting city mainly for the architecture; the most important are the Ducal Palace with the Castle of St. George, the Bonacolsi Palace, the Torre della Gabbia (Cage Tower), the churches of Sant' Andrea (St. Andew) and Santa Maria (St. Mary) and the Rotonda di San Lorenzo (Rotunda of St. Lowrence). The c


The most famous and prestigious name belonging to the Lombardy region is that of Alessandro Manzoni (1785-1873). He is the well-known author of "I Promessi Sposi" (The Betrothed). But before going more deeply into this phenomenal literary work we must speak briefly of his life. The son of Pietro and Giulia Beccaria and grandson of Cesare Beccaria, Manzoni' s childhood was very sad for both his parent' s separation and his mother' s remarriage to his patrician Carlo Imbonati. He became an atheist and becam to write his first poems: the "Adda" and "four famous Sermoni"; then in 1805 he joined his mother Giulia in Paris where he come in contact which the flower of French intellectuals. A very important step in Manzoni' s life was his marriage to the Genevan Enrichetta Blondel and his return to Catholicism. From a literary point of view this last was a great influence on the poet because he then wrote the "Adelchi", "La Pentecoste" and the above mentioned "I Promessi Sposi". This literary masterpiece is a historical novel which wishes to teach the reader that only Faith can guarantee a Godly maening to life and history which would otherwise be reduce to inexplicable unhappiness (at least this is what the author beloved). The deep of his beloved wife and the loss of four of his five children caused Manzoni to isolate himself more and more from the outside world. Although shut up in himself he continued to write a great deal; essays like "The Historical Novel" and "A relationship around the unity of lenguage" and the "Appendice" (Appendix) that went with it. During the last year of his life, he wrote "Of the Italian indipendence", but it remained unfinished. Another illustrious name connected with Lomardy is Cesare Beccaria (1738-1794) jurist, economist and writer with a degree in jurisprudence from the University of Pavia. He wrote the essay "Del disordine e de' rimedi delle monete nello Stato di Milano nel 1762" (The desorder of and the cure for the currency in the State of Milan in 1762). But more important still was his book "Dei delitti e delle pene" (Crime and punishment) which received immediate acclaim and success. In 1768 he was appointed Professor of Political Economy and a Chair was created especially for him at the Palatine School in Milan. Alessandro Volta (1745-1827) was a great phisicist, the first person to invent the electric battery with which to provide an electrical current. The battery was made by putting together alternate discs of iron and zinc but separating each one with layers of cloth soaked in a saline solution. A very ancient and famous Lombardy name is that of Virgil (his correct name being Publio Virgilio Marone, 70BC-19AD), the noted latin poet who wrote the "Aeneid", the "Bucolics" and the "Georgics". Finally, we must mention Caravaggio (1573-1610) whose real name was Michelangelo Merisi. His artistic development took place in Milan; he was apprenticed to Simone Peterzano, a painter famous for his his work such as "Basket of Fruit", "Happy Change", "Vocation" and "The Martyrdom of St. Matthew", "The Conversion of St. Paul", "The deposition of Christ", "Supper at Emmaus" and "The Madonna of the Rosary".


The history of the region begins with the arrival of the Gauls in "Italy" (Italy written in the inverted commas because each region was a separate entity frequently at war with each other). The Gauls settled in Northen Italy and founded some cities and even then Milan was couspicuous for its importance. When the Romans defeated the Gauls, they changed the name of the region in Cisalpine Gaul and later, when the Roman Empire was divided into the Eastern and Western Empires, Milan became the Imperial Seat instead of Rome. Following this period, the region suffered much devastation by barbarians before coming under the dominion of the Longobards for two centuries (it was from this people that the region took the name of "Longobardia" wich later changed to the current name of "Lombardia-Lombardy"). Lombardy experienced a "golden period" between the 10th and 16th centuries. This began under the command of Chalemagne; at Legnano the Lombardy soldiers gained a great unforgettable victory when fighting against the army of the Emperor Federick Barbarossa who then allowed all the cities in the region to became "free cities". But they had a short life because in 1311 Matteo Visconti became "Vicario Imperiale su tutta la Lombardia" (the Imperial Vicar of all Lombardy); the costruction of wonderful buildings was a positive aspect of this reign as, for example, the Duomo in Milan and the Certosa of Pavia were began during these years. After 1450 the Lords Visconti were successed by the Sforza family and Ludovico Sforza (Il Moro-Ludovic the Moor) proved to be its most powerful and prestigious member. The beginning of the 16th century saw the start of a long painful time of foreign domination; first, the region suffered under the French and then under the Spanish. In 1714, when the Spanish were defeat by Austria, the Empress Maria Theresa took over the region of Lombardy. She istituted refouns which reduced customs duty and taxes thereby removing what had been serious obstacles to trade; she opened new public schools, permitted a certain amount of "liberal thought" and encouraged scientific research. After a brief period under the government of Napoleon Bonaparte, the citizens of Lombardy no longer saw the Austrians in a favourable light and they were defeated in 1859 during the Second War of Indipendence at the b

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