Most people know about Lombardy, Northern Italy, because of Milan (and its fashion weeks, design weeks, whatsoever week…), Bergamo an some other main cities.
A girl from the south heading to Milan for work hardly imagines how much diversity she’ll find in this region that is definitely worth exploring.
This region is a part of the geographic triangle known as the “production triangle” made up by Lombardy, Veneto and Piemonte, the second richest area of Europe (funny, since it’s located in a Country with one of the lowest GDP in Europe, but that’s policy… no room to talk about it this time).
After living there (in Milan) for some year I had the occasion to experience some of the rural and greenest places of the area, suitable for hiking, relaxing walks, good food, light air (when you live in the very center of Milan, you sometimes need it).
So, when I could not take advantage of the very low fares to fly somewhere in week-ends, I used to find places to go and enjoy nature, country landscapes, good food and wines and have hikes and walks that could re-create my inner peace and balance.
Let’s go with some of my experiences and itineraries.
If you like small medieval villages where you can enjoy the green and have a walk in historical areas, Zavattarrello can be a nice place to spend an afternoon or one day and one night.
You can walk up the old historic stone streets up to the Medieval Castle (Castello Dal Verme), huge defensive fort.
From the top of it you can admire the hills and valleys, where I suggest you then to go and have a relaxing walk with comfortable shoes.
In the outskirts you’ll bump into big private farmhouses where they sell season fruits and fresh milk, cheese and honey (the most of times you’ll see an indication of it before the property wooden gates). Don’t be shy, ring the bell or just enter and you’ll be welcomed by the owners.
Costs of products are cheap and the quality is far over your expectations.
Val Sassina is a long valley surrounded by hills and mountains (t’s between the Grigne Mountains and the Alpi Orbie) and that’s a perfect place to find a bit of fresh air in summer.
The valley is crossed by Pioverna river and if you like green walking I really suggest you to choose one of its itineraries. For me, this was a very good way to replace my need of the sea when I had to do without for a while.
Moreover, the area is full of rifugi, small and cozy restaurants where cheap but delicious local food is served together with local wine or beer. They are located at several points of the hiking dirty tracks and they are a perfect target to aim at in order to be motivated in your walk (well, at least for me since, as you know, I’m a woman of contemplation and not of action and I love sports only if followed by a beer or wine).
Valsassina is one of my most beloved destinations and memories of my Lombardy period.
I suggest you to go there in May-August.
Osmate and pumpkins
If you like pumpkins, this small village close to Varese is your place. Over than the yearly pumpkin’s exposition, you can choose food based on this ingredient all around the year (Trattoria Delle Zucche in Via Maggiore 54 is definitely a place to go and eat!)
Something very peculiar is the river beach where you can have a rest and enjoy like I did. The river is the Monate River and the “beach” is actually a green and fresh meadow with a rich vegetation and severa kinds of colored flowers.
Rasura, where blueberry is an attitude
If you visit Lombardy in August, don’t miss the Blueberry festival in Rasura, in the area of Sondrio, part of the Valtellina, wider area that is pretty popular among mountain fans.
Blueberries and raspberries are a part of the local cuisine, landscape and… local attitude. Sweet, shy and able to get along with anything.
You can see green and trees no matter where you look and going there in spring and summer is as amazing as visiting it in fall, when the firy colors of the trees make it all so surreal!
Have you visited any of this places? Do you know any other green place to have a walk in Lombardy and surroundings for my next trip over there?