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September 05th, 2019

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The northwest is made up of the regions of Piedmont, Liguria, Lombardy, and Aosta, and borders France, Switzerland, Austria, and Slovenia. It’s mountainous, agricultural and full of interesting sights, from ancient Roman ruins to medieval castles.

One of the things we love about Italy is how incredibly multifaceted it is. It can be tempting to see Rome or the Amalfi Coast and think that the whole country is the same, but the north and south of Italy are wildly different.

One day you could be in the picturesque coastal towns of the Cinque Terre on the Italian Riviera, and the next in the mountains near Lake Como. So if you’re thinking about taking a trip to Italy, let’s take a look at the northwest in more detail.

In Turin, take in the Museo Egizio, with its huge collection of Egyptian artifacts (the biggest outside of Cairo). In Genoa, make sure to visit the bustling Porto Antico and its winding maze of alleys. Milan—the fashion capital of the world—is also home to both the La Scala opera house and Leonardo Da Vinci’s Last Supper. As you can see, there’s no shortage of wonders in Northwestern Italy.

What is there to see in Northwest Italy?

The northwest is made up of the regions of Piedmont, Liguria, Lombardy, and Aosta, and borders France, Switzerland, Austria, and Slovenia. It’s mountainous, agricultural and full of interesting sights, from ancient Roman ruins to medieval castles.

There’s also the foodie delights to experience: white truffles in fonduta from Piedmont; Genoese pesto and pansotti ravioli from Liguria; and osso buco from Lombardy. Although all of Italy is known for the food, this is truly the gastronomic heart of the country.

Let’s look at Lombardy

It’s impossible to go to Lombardy, and not go to Milan. It’s the global center of fashion and design and also home to Il Duomo—the third-largest Gothic cathedral in the world—and the medieval Castello Sforzesco.

Milan is also a hub of galleries and museums. Make sure to pop into the Pinacoteca di Brera, where you can see Piero Della Francesca's Madonna with Saints and Angels and the emotive Renaissance painting, Dead Christ by Mantegna. A private walking tour is a great way to get a feel for Milan and all that it has to offer.

When you’re done with Milan, head to the picturesque Lago di Como, a favorite with locals and international visitors since the Renaissance period. Enjoy the quaint towns and villages that line the shores, from Como itself in the left fork, to Bellagio where the lake splits and down to Lecco in the right fork.

The villas, gardens, and narrow, cobbled streets are something special. One really great way to see the whole region is on a guided tour through Milan, Como, and nearby Venice. And while you’re there, remember to pick up some of the local silk that Como is famous for!

Picture yourself in Piedmont

In the heart of Piedmont lies the city of Turin, bisected by the River Po. The original capital of Italy—that has since moved to Rome—Turin is now a wonderful blend of old and new world economy and architecture.

Be sure to see the 16th-century Palazzo Real on the Piazza Castello. This royal palace was once the home of the Savoy family and is now a museum. Wander through the richly decorated rooms and enjoy the spectacular gardens.

Turin is full of palaces, cathedrals and religious artifacts. It’s also home to the Parco Valentina on the banks of the River Po. Explore this immense public park, the botanical garden inside as well as the Valentino Castle and a replica medieval village.

Oh, and if you’re a football lover, no visit to Turin is complete without stopping in at the Juventus Stadium and its accompanying museum!

Besides Turin, Piedmont has much more to offer. Enjoy the outdoors in Gran Paradiso, see the historical village of Macugnaga, and don’t skip the beautiful Langhe area—famous for its wines, cheeses, and truffles.

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