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Lombardia (Italian)
Lumbardia (Lombard)
Coat of arms of Lombardy
Lombardy in Italy.svg
Coordinates: 45°35′08″N 9°55′49″E / 45.58556°N 9.93028°E / 45.58556; 9.93028Coordinates: 45°35′08″N 9°55′49″E / 45.58556°N 9.93028°E / 45.58556; 9.93028
 • TypePresident–council
 • BodyRegional Cabinet
 • PresidentAttilio Fontana
 • LegislatureRegional Council
 • Total23,844 km2 (9,206 sq mi)
 (31 December 2019)[1]
 • Total10,103,969
 • Density420/km2 (1,100/sq mi)
Demonym(s)English: Lombard
Italian: lombardo (man), lombarda (woman)
Lombard: lumbard (man), lumbarda (woman)
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
ISO 3166 codeIT-25
GDP (PPS)€401 billion (2019)[2]
GDP per capita€39,700 (2019)[2]
$51,666 (2016) (PPP)[3]
HDI (2019)0.912[4]
very high · 4th of 21

Lombardy[a] (Lombard: Lumbardia and Italian: Lombardia) is one of the twenty administrative regions of Italy. It has an extent of 23,844 km2 (9,206 sq mi) in the northern-central part of the country, and a population of about 10 million people, constituting more than one-sixth of the population of Italy. Over a fifth of the Italian gross domestic product is produced in the region.[5][6]

The metropolitan area of Milan is the largest in the country, and is among the largest in the European Union.[7] Of the fifty-eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Italy, eleven are in Lombardy.[8] Virgil, Pliny the Elder, Ambrose, Gerolamo Cardano, Caravaggio, Claudio Monteverdi, Antonio Stradivari, Cesare Beccaria, Alessandro Volta, Alessandro Manzoni, and popes John XXIII and Paul VI are among those with origins in the area now known as Lombardy.


The word Lombardy comes from Lombard, which in turn is derived from Late Latin Longobardus, Langobardus ("a Lombard"), derived from the Proto-Germanic elements *langaz + *bardaz; equivalent to long beard. Some scholars suggest the second element instead derives from Proto-Germanic *bardǭ, *barduz ("axe"), related to German Barte ("axe") or that the whole word comes from the Proto-Albanian *Lum bardhi "white river" (Compare modern Albanian lum i bardhë).[9]

Alboin enters Pavia. The name of the region derives from the name of the people of the Lombards who arrived in Italy in 568 and made Pavia their capital

During the early Middle Ages, "Lombardy" referred to the Kingdom of the Lombards (Latin: Regnum Langobardorum), a kingdom ruled by the Germanic Lombards who had controlled most of Italy since their invasion of Byzantine Italy in 568. As such "Lombardy" and "Italy" were almost interchangeable; by the mid-8th century the Lombards ruled everywhere except the Papal possessions around Rome (roughly modern Lazio and northern Umbria), Venice and some Byzantine possessions in the south (southern Apulia and Calabria; some coastal settlements including Amalfi, Gaeta, Naples and Sorrento; Sicily and Sardinia). The term was also used until around 965 in the form Λογγοβαρδία (Longobardia) as the name for the territory roughly covering modern Apulia which the Byzantines had recovered from the Lombard rump Duchy of Benevento.


With a surface area of 23,861 km2 (9,213 sq mi), Lombardy is the fourth-largest region of Italy. It is bordered by Switzerland (north: Canton Ticino and Canton Graubünden) and by the Italian regions of Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol and Veneto (east), Emilia-Romagna (south), and Piedmont (west). Three distinct natural zones can be easily distinguished in Lombardy: mountains, hills, and plains—the last being divided into Alta (high plains) and Bassa (low plains).


Pizzo Coca is the highest peak in the Bergamasque Alps (3,050 m)

The orography of Lombardy is characterised by the presence of three distinct belts: a northern mountainous belt constituted by the Alpine relief, a central piedmont area of mostly pebbly soils of alluvial origin, and the Lombard section of the Padan Plain in the southernmost part of the region.

The most important mountainous area is the Alpine zone including the Lepontine and Rhaetian Alps (Piz Bernina, 4,020 m), the Bergamo Alps, the Ortler Alps and the Adamello massif. It is followed by the Alpine foothills zone Prealpi, the main peaks of which are the Grigna Group (2,410 m), Resegone (1,875 m), and Presolana (2,521 m).[10]

The plains of Lombardy, formed by alluvial deposits, can be divided into the Alta—an upper, permeable ground zone in the north—and the Bassa—a lower zone dotted by the so-called line of fontanili, spring waters rising from impermeable ground. Inconsistent with the three distinctions above is the small subregion of Oltrepò Pavese, formed by the Apennine foothills beyond the Po River.


The Adda, the longest river within the region and tributary of the Po River

The Po river marks the southern border of the region for a length of about 210 km (130 mi). In its progress, it receives the waters of the Ticino River, which rises in the Bedretto valley (Switzerland) and joins the Po near Pavia. The other streams which contribute to the great river are the Olona, the Lambro, the Adda, the Oglio and the Mincio.

The numerous lakes of Lombardy, all of glacial origin, lie in the northern highlands. From west to east these are Lake Maggiore, Lake Lugano (both shared with Switzerland), Lake Como, Lake Iseo, Lake Idro, and Lake Garda (the largest lake in Italy). South of the Alps lie the hills characterised by a succession of low heights of morainic origin formed during the last ice age and small barely fertile plateaux with typical heaths and conifer woods. A minor mountainous area, the Oltrepò Pavese, lies south of the Po, in the Apennines range.

Flora and fauna[edit]

The Alpine ibex (Capra ibex)

In the plains, intensively cultivated for centuries, little of the original environment remains. The most common trees are elm, alder, sycamore, poplar, willow and hornbeam. In the area of the foothills lakes, however, grow olive trees, cypresses and larches, as well as varieties of subtropical flora such as magnolias, azaleas, acacias. Numerous species of endemic flora in the Prealpine area include some kinds of saxifrage, the Lombard garlic, groundsels bellflowers and the cottony bellflowers.

The highlands are characterised by the typical vegetation of the whole range of the Italian Alps. At lower levels (up to approximately 1,100 m), oak woods or broadleaf trees grow; on the mountain slopes (up to 2,000–2,200 m), beech trees grow at the lowest limits, with conifer woods higher up. Shrubs such as rhododendron, dwarf pine and juniper are native to the summital zone (beyond 2,200 m).

Lombardy counts many protected areas: the most important are the Stelvio National Park (the largest Italian natural park), with typically alpine wildlife: red deer, roe deer, ibex, chamois, foxes, ermine and also golden eagles; and the Ticino Valley Natural Park, instituted in 1974 on the Lombard side of the Ticino River to protect and conserve one of the last major examples of fluvial forest in northern Italy.

Other parks situated in the region are the Campo dei Fiori and the Cinque Vette Park, both located in the Province of Varese.


Lombardy has a wide array of climates, due to variance in elevation, proximity to inland water basins, and big metropolitan areas.

The climate is mainly humid subtropical (Köppen Cfa) especially in the plains, though with significant variations to the Köppen model especially in winter, which in Lombardy is normally long, damp, and rather cold. There is also high seasonal temperature variation (in Milan, average temperature is 2.5 °C (36.5 °F) in January and 24 °C (75 °F) in July). The plains are often subject to the presence of fog during the coldest months.[11]

In the Alpine foothills, with oceanic climate (Köppen Cfb), numerous lakes give a mitigating influence, allowing typically Mediterranean crops (olive, citrus fruit).

In the hills and mountains, the climate is humid continental (Köppen Dfb). In the valleys it is relatively mild, while it can be severely cold above 1,500 m, with copious snowfalls.

Precipitation is more intense in the Prealpine zone, up to 1,500 to 2,000 mm (59.1 to 78.7 in) annually, but is abundant also in the plains and alpine zones, with an average of 600 to 850 mm (23.6 to 33.5 in) annually. Average annual rainfall is 827 mm.[12]


Prehistory and antiquity[edit]

The Rock Drawings in Valcamonica are among the largest collections of prehistoric petroglyphs in the world.[13]

It is thought from the archaeological findings of ceramics, arrows, axes, and carved stones, that the area of current Lombardy has been settled at least since the 2nd millennium BC. Well-preserved rock drawings left by ancient Camuni in the Valcamonica depicting animals, people, and symbols were made over a time period of eight thousand years preceding the Iron Age,[14] based on about 300,000 records.[15]

The many artifacts (pottery, personal items and weapons) found in a necropolis near Lake Maggiore, and Ticino River demonstrate the presence of the Golasecca Bronze Age culture that prospered in Western Lombardy between the 9th and the 4th century BC.

In the following centuries Lombardy was inhabited by different peoples, among whom were the Etruscans, who founded the city of Mantua and spread the use of writing. It was seat of the Celtic Canegrate culture (starting from the 13th Century BC) and later of the Celtic Golasecca culture. Starting from the 5th century BC the area was invaded by more Celtic Gallic tribes coming from north of the Alps. These people settled in several cities including Milan, and extended their rule to the Adriatic Sea.

Celtic development was halted by the Roman expansion in the Po Valley from the 3rd century BC onwards. After centuries of struggle, in 194 BC the entire area of what is now Lombardy became a Roman province with the name of Gallia Cisalpina—"Gaul on the inner side (with respect to Rome) of the Alps".

The Roman culture and language overwhelmed the former civilisation in the following years, and Lombardy became one of the most developed and richest areas of Italy with the construction of a wide array of roads and the development of agriculture and trade. Important figures were born here, such as Pliny the Elder (in Como) and Virgil (in Mantua). In late antiquity the strategic role of Lombardy was emphasised by the temporary move of the capital of the Western Empire to Mediolanum (Milan). Here, in 313 AD, Roman Emperor Constantine issued the famous Edict of Milan that gave freedom of confession to all religions within the Roman Empire.

Kingdom of the Lombards[edit]

For centuries, the Iron Crown of Lombardy was used in the Coronation of the King of Italy.

During and after the fall of the Western Empire, Lombardy suffered heavily from destruction brought about by a series of invasions by tribal peoples. After 540 Pavia become the permanent capital of the Ostrogothic Kingdom, fixed site of the court and the royal treausure.[16] But the last and most effective invasion was that of the Germanic Lombards, or Longobards, whose whole nation migrated here from the Carpathian basin in fear of the conquering Pannonian Avars in 568 and whose long-lasting reign (with its capital in Pavia) gave the current name to the region. There was a close relationship between the Frankish, Bavarian and Lombard nobility for many centuries.

After the initial struggles, relationships between the Lombard people and the Gallo-Roman peoples improved. In the end, the Lombard language and culture was integrated with the Latin culture, leaving evidence in many names, the legal code and laws, and other things. The Lombards became intermixed with the Gallo-Roman population owing to their relatively smaller number.[17] The end of Lombard rule came in 774, when the Frankish king Charlemagne conquered Pavia, deposed Desiderius, the last Lombard king, and annexed the Kingdom of Italy (mostly northern and central present-day Italy) to his newly established Holy Roman Empire. The former Lombard dukes and nobles were replaced by other German vassals, prince-bishops or marquises. The entire northern part of the Italian peninsula continued to be called "Lombardy" and its population "Lombards" throughout the following centuries.

Communes and the Empire[edit]

San Michele Maggiore, Pavia, where almost all the kings of Italy were crowned up to Frederick Barbarossa.

In the 10th century, Lombardy, although formally under the rule of the Holy Roman Empire, being included in the kingdom of Italy, of which Pavia remained the capital until 1024, however, gradually, starting from the last decades of the 11th century was in fact divided in a multiplicity of small, autonomous city-states, the medieval communes. The 11th century marked a significant boom in the region's economy, due to improved trading and, most importantly, agricultural conditions, with arms manufacture a significant factor. In a similar way to other areas of Italy, this led to a growing self-acknowledgement of the cities, whose increasing richness made them able to defy the traditional feudal supreme power, represented by the German emperors and their local legates. This process reached its apex in the 12th and 13th centuries, when different Lombard Leagues formed by allied cities of Lombardy, usually led by Milan, managed to defeat the Hohenstaufen Emperor Frederick I, at Legnano, but not his grandson Frederick II, at Battle of Cortenuova. Subsequently, among the various local city-states, a procession s of consolidation took place, and by the end of the 14th century, two signoria emerged as rival hegemons in Lombardy: Milan and Mantua.

Member cities of the first and second Lombard League

Renaissance duchies of Milan and Mantua[edit]

Mantua as it appeared in 1575.

In the 15th century, the Duchy of Milan was a major political, economical and military force at the European level. Milan and Mantua became two centres of the Renaissance whose culture, with men such as Leonardo da Vinci and Mantegna, and works of art (e.g. Leonardo da Vinci's The Last Supper) were highly regarded. The enterprising class of the communes extended its trade and banking activities well into northern Europe: "Lombard" designated the merchant or banker coming from northern Italy (e.g. Lombard Street in London). The name "Lombardy" came to designate the whole of Northern Italy until the 15th century and sometimes later. From the 14th century onwards, the instability created by the unceasing internal and external struggles ended in the creation of noble seigniories, the most significant of which were those of the Viscontis (later Sforzas) in Milan and of the Gonzagas in Mantua. This richness, however, attracted the now more organised armies of national powers such as France and Austria, which waged a lengthy battle for Lombardy in the late 15th to early 16th centuries.

Late-Middle Ages, Renaissance and Enlightenment[edit]

The Consulta of the République cisalpine receives the First Consul on 26 January 1802

After the decisive Battle of Pavia, the Duchy of Milan became a possession of the Habsburgs of Spain: the new rulers did little to improve the economy of Lombardy, instead imposing a growing series of taxes needed to support their unending series of European wars. The eastern part of modern Lombardy, with cities like Bergamo and Brescia, was under the Republic of Venice, which had begun to extend its influence in the area from the 14th century onwards (see also Italian Wars). Between the middle of the 15th century and the battle of Marignano in 1515, the northern part of east Lombardy from Airolo to Chiasso (modern Ticino), and the Valtellina valley came under possession of the old Swiss Confederacy.

Pestilences (like that of 1628/1630[18] described by Alessandro Manzoni in his I Promessi Sposi) and the generally declining conditions of Italy's economy in the 17th and 18th centuries halted the further development of Lombardy. In 1706 the Austrians came to power and introduced some economic and social measures which granted a certain recovery.

Austrian rule was interrupted in the late 18th century by the French armies; under Napoleon, Lombardy became the centre of the Cisalpine Republic and of the Kingdom of Italy, both being puppet states of France's First Empire, having Milan as capital and Napoleon as head of state. During this period Lombardy took back Valtellina from Switzerland.

Modern era[edit]

The restoration of Austrian rule in 1815, as the Kingdom of Lombardy–Venetia, was characterised by the struggle with the new ideals introduced by the Napoleonic era.

The popular republic established by the 1848 revolution was short-lived, its suppression leading to renewed Austrian rule. This came to a decisive end when Lombardy was annexed to the Kingdom of Italy 1859 as a result of the Second Italian War of Independence from the Austrian Empire. When annexed to the Kingdom of Italy in 1859 Lombardy achieved its present-day territorial shape by adding the Oltrepò Pavese (formerly the southern part of the Province of Novara) to the Province of Pavia.

COVID-19 pandemic[edit]

The Lombardy region was severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020, in which Italy was one of the worst affected countries in Europe. Several towns were quarantined from 22 February after community transmission was documented in Lombardy and Veneto the previous day. The entire Lombardy region was placed under lockdown on 8 March,[19] followed by all of Italy the following day,[20] making Italy the first country to implement a nationwide lockdown in response to the epidemic, which was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization on 11 March. The lockdown was ultimately extended twice, and the Lombardy region toughened restrictions on 22 March, banning outdoor exercise and the use of vending machines,[21] but from the beginning of May, following a reported decrease in the number of active cases, restrictions gradually began to be relaxed.[22]


As of 2013, the gross domestic product (GDP) of Lombardy, equal to over €350 billion, accounts for about 21% of the total GDP of Italy. By inhabitant, this is €33,066 per capita, which is more than 25% higher than the national average of €25,729.[23]

GDP and GDP per capita in Lombardy (2000–2018)
2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
247.052 259.431 270.653 279.450 289.471 297.600 307.718 320.844 323.973 310.952 346.797 354.342 348.665 349.008 350.025 357.200 375.270 385.133 390.461
GDP per capita[24]
27.488 28.766 29.837 30.449 31.060 31.545 32.356 33.443 33.425 31.743 35.713 36.220 35.367 35.127 35.044 35.700 37.474 38.407 38.858

Lombardy's development has been marked by the growth of the services sector since the 1980s, and in particular by innovative activities in business services,and in credit and financial services. At the same time, the strong industrial orientation of the region has not suffered; Lombardy remains the main industrial area of Italy. The services sector represents a favourable major growth area.

A view over the business district of Milan: with a metropolitan area of 7.4m people,[25] it is Italy's most important industrial, commercial and financial center.

Lombardy has cultural and economic relationships with many foreign countries including Azerbaijan,[26] Austria,[27][28][29] France,[30] Hungary,[31][32][33][34][35] Switzerland (especially the cantons of Ticino and Graubünden),[36][37][38][39][40] Canada (the Province of Quebec),[41] Germany (the States of Bavaria, Saxony, and Saxony-Anhalt),[42][43][44] Kuwait,[45] the Netherlands (Province of Zuid-Holland),[46] and Russia.[47] Lombardy is a member of the Four Motors of Europe, an intereuropean economical organization which includes Baden-Württemberg in Germany, Catalonia in Spain, and Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes in France.[48] The Lombardy region is also part of the EUSALP, which promotes innovation, green sustainability, and economy in the Alpine regions of Austria, France, Liechtenstein, Northern Italy, Southern Germany, Switzerland, and Slovenia,[49][50][51] and ARGE ALP, which gathers states located in the alpine regions of Austria, Northern Italy, Southern Germany, and Switzerland to discuss similar themes as in EUSALP.[52] Economical and cultural relationship are also strong with neighboring Italian regions Friuli-Venezia Giulia, South Tyrol, Trentino, and Veneto.[53][54][55][56][57][58][59][60][61][62][63] The European Union has developed the CENTRAL EUROPE program 2014–2020 to foster cooperation in several areas between the Lombardy Region along with other Northern Italian Regions and several states of Central Europe.[64][65]

The region can broadly be divided into three economic areas: Milan, where the services sector comprises 65.3% of the employment; the provinces of Varese, Como, Lecco, Monza and Brianza, Bergamo and Brescia, where it is highly industrialised, although in the two latter provinces, there is also a rich agricultural sector in the plains; the provinces of Sondrio, Pavia, Cremona, Mantova and Lodi, where there is a consistent agricultural activity, and at the same time an above average development of the services sector.


The productivity of agriculture is enhanced by a well-developed use of fertilisers and the traditional abundance of water, boosted since the Middle Ages by the construction of a wide net of irrigation systems, partly designed by Leonardo da Vinci. Lower plains are characterised by fodder crops, which are mowed up to eight times a year, cereals (rice, wheat and maize) and sugar beet. Lombardy is one of the main European regions for rice production and, together with Piedmont, produces 93% of Italian rice. Cultivation is concentrated in the provinces of Pavia (84,000 hectares), Milan (14,000 hectares), Lodi (2,000 hectares) and Mantua (1,200 hectares).[66] Productions of the higher plains include cereals, vegetables, fruit trees and mulberries. The higher areas, up to the Prealps and Alps sectors of the north, produce fruit and wine.

Lombardy is home of very intensive animal breading and is leading in dairy cows (36%) and pigs (50%) heritage. Cattle is source of quality milk (ca. 30% of Italian milk production),[67] which use to produce different types of cheese (4,715,130 t, ca. 36% of Italian total):[67]

Black Caviar

Vineyards cover 26,951 ha. The most important wine is sparkling wine DOCG Franciacorta and Oltrepò Pavese which are produced with the same traditional method as Champagnem as opposed to other Italian sparkling wines which use charmat method. Lombardy ranks 9 of 20 in production of DOC and DOCG wines with 877.351 hl.[68] Lombardy also produces still red, white and rosé wines made from a variety of local and international grapes, including Nebbiolo wines in the Valtellina region and Trebbiano di Lugana white wines produced with the Chiaretto style rosé along the shores of Lake Garda. The wine region currently has 15 Denominazione di origine controllata (DOC), 3 Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG) and 13 Indicazione Geografica Tipica (IGT) designations.[69]

The region annually produces around 1.4 million hectolitres of wine,[70] more than the regions of Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Marche, Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol and Umbria.[71]

Brescia is also the homeland of Italian caviar. The world's largest sturgeon farm is located in Calvisano, about 30 kilometres (19 mi) south of the city centre,[72] producing 25 tonnes of caviar annually, which is exported worldwide.[73]

The main activity in Canneto sull'Oglio is the nursery production of broad-leaved plants, to which a large part of the municipal agricultural land is dedicated. Together with the neighboring municipalities, the "Cannetese Nursery District" has been created which, on land covering approximately 2,500 hectares, produces an annual turnover of around 150 million euros.[74][circular reference]

Aerospace and Defense[edit]

Italy is world leading exporter of heavy helicopters (over 2,000 kg) with market share ca. 30%.[75] Lombardy is home of Leonardo Helicopters Division responsible for ca. 1/3 company's orders[76] (ex-AgustaWestland) and plant of Leonardo Aircraft Division (ex-Aermacchi).[77] The main design, production and training facilities of helicopters located in Cascina Costa di Samarate, Vergiate and Sesto Calende. Aircraft Division manufactures military training aircraft in Venegono Superiore.[77]

The world oldest firearms manufacturer, Beretta, is located in Gardone Val Trompia. There are also other manufacturers in the region such as Tanfoglio and Pedersoli. Ammunition is produced by Fiocchi. The former OTO Melara, now part of Leonardo Electronics Division in Brescia, produces small caliber naval and airborne weapons.[77]


There is no longer any auto production in Lombardy. All factories of mass-market automotive manufacturers Alfa Romeo,[78] Autobianchi,[79] Innocenti[80] are closed, abandoned, or demolished. But there is production of light trucks Iveco Daily in Suzzara[81] and medium-duty trucks Iveco EuroCargo in Brescia.[82] Tractors are made by Same-Deutz Fahr (Same, Lamborghini) in Treviglio and BCS Group in Abbiategrasso.

Motorcycles from Lombardy:

The best-known automotive parts suppliers are Brembo, (Bergamo) (ceramic brake systems);[83] Pirelli, (Milan) (tyres);[84] and Magneti Marelli, (Corbetta) (electronic systems, powertrain).[85] [83]


The largest European semiconductor company, STMicroelectronics, has 5,600 employees in suburban of Milan: Agrate Brianza (4,500 empl.) and Cornaredo (1,100 empl.) with R&D and production activity of chips for general purpose.[86]

SAES Getters, Lainate produces getters, alkaline metal dispensers, cathodes and materials for thermal management. Their products are employed in various devices such as X-ray tubes, microwave tubes, solid state lasers, electron sources, photomultipliers, radiofrequency amplification systems, night vision devices, pressure sensors, gyroscopes for navigation systems and MEMS devices.[87]

Magneti Marelli has headquarters and manufactures automotive electronics in Corbetta.[85]

Leonardo Electronics Division in Nerviano designs and develops airborne radar and computers, space equipment.[77]

Candy Hoover[88] and Whirlpool (brands: Whirlpool, Indesit, Ariston, Hot Point, Ignis) make home appliances in Lombardy.


Milan is one of the fashion capitals of the world, where the sector contains approximately 12,000 companies, 800 showrooms, and 6,000 sales outlets; the city hosts the headquarters of global fashion houses such as Armani, Dolce & Gabbana, Luxottica, Prada, Versace, Valentino, and Zegna. The best-known high-class shopping district is Quadrilatero della moda.

Castel Goffredo, in the Province of Mantua, is known throughout the world as the "City of the stocking", the most important district for the production of women's hosiery. Fourteen other communities also belonging to this district include Acquafredda, Asola, Casalmoro, Casaloldo, Casalromano, Castiglione delle Stiviere, Ceresara, Isola Dovarese, Mariana Mantovana, Medole, Piubega, Remedello, Solferino and Visano.[circular reference]

Additionally, there is the button industrial district of Grumello del Monte (Mabo Group)[74] and the lingerie industrial district of Val Camonica.[74]


There is an industrial district of furniture around Brianza, which has an annual turnover of about €2 billion from 1,700 companies.[89] The furniture factories, which have about 40,000 employees, are mainly concentrated in Lissone (the first exhibition center in Europe since the 1960s), Meda, Cantù, and Mariano Comense. Other important production centers are Giussano, Seveso, and Seregno.[74]

This district has a close relations with Milan's metadistrict of design. A number of large furniture exhibitions take place in Milan, including "Salone del Mobile Milano".[90]


The unemployment rate stood at 5.0% in 2020. Regional unemployment was one of the lowest in Italy.[91]

Year 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
unemployment rate
(in %)
3.7% 3.4% 3.7% 5.3% 5.5% 5.7% 7.4% 8.0% 8.2% 7.9% 7.4% 6.4% 6.0% 5.6% 5.0%


The Lombardy region in northern Italy ranks among the most air polluted areas of Europe.[92] Because of high industrialization and the lack of wind due to being closed between mountain ranges air pollution remains a severe problem in Lombardy and northern Italy.

In March 2019, the European Space Agency (ESA)[93] published images taken from their satellites. These images show a large stain, composed of nitrogen dioxide and fine particles, situated above the Po Valley area. The Lombardy region is the geographic and economic epicenter of this area, with more than 10 million residents and the highest gross domestic product per inhabitant of the country. Most of its major cities are located in the basin of the Po River, which crosses the entire region. The stain analyzed by ESA is the main reason why Po valley air pollution levels are so high that it is considered the worst area in Europe for air quality. Milan has high levels of ozone and nitrogen oxides, which are mainly produced by cars diesel and petrol engines.

To shed light on how dangerous it is for humans to live in polluted environments, Chicago Energy Policy Institute[94] has recently developed the Air Quality Life Index (AQLI), a system capable of analyzing air pollution worldwide. According to AQLI findings, Po valley air pollution affects inhabitants so significantly that it reduces life expectancy by about half a year. The main reasons why there's a big stain of air pollution over the Po valley are strictly connected to livestock and factories. The so-called "NPK fertilizers", made of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, along with manure emissions from intensive breeding and high levels of nitrogen dioxide released by diesel and petrol engines are all accountable for this disastrous air condition in Northern Italy. The region of Lombardy produces also vast amounts of animal waste, a big contributor to pollution. It delivers more than 40 percent of Italy's milk production, for example, while over half of the Italian pig production is located in the Po Valley.[95]

According to a research, published in The Lancet Planetary Health[96] in January 2021, which estimates the death rate associated with fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) pollution in 1000 European cities, Brescia and Bergamo in Lombardy have the highest death rate from fine particulate matter (PM2.5) in Europe.

The data show that many cities in Lombardy and the Po Valley suffer the most serious impact in Europe level due to poor air quality, primarily the metropolitan area of Milan, thirteenth in the ranking in terms of fine particulate impact, where any year 3967 premature deaths – approximately 9% of the total.


Historical population
1861 3,160,000—    
1871 3,529,000+11.7%
1881 3,730,000+5.7%
1901 4,314,000+15.7%
1911 4,889,000+13.3%
1921 5,186,000+6.1%
1931 5,596,000+7.9%
1936 5,836,000+4.3%
1951 6,566,000+12.5%
1961 7,406,000+12.8%
1971 8,543,000+15.4%
1981 8,892,000+4.1%
1991 8,856,000−0.4%
2001 9,033,000+2.0%
2011 9,704,151+7.4%
2019 (est.) 10,067,500+3.7%
Source: ISTAT 2017
The largest resident foreign-born
groups on 31 December 2019[97]
Nationality Population
 Romania 172,063
 Morocco 91,530
 Albania 87,859
 Egypt 87,262
China 67,332
 Philippines 55,558
 Ukraine 52,579
 India 46,321
 Peru 41,127
 Pakistan 40,221
 Ecuador 34,150
 Senegal 32,905
 Sri Lanka 32,548
 Bangladesh 22,930
 Moldova 19,828
 Tunisia 16,595
 Nigeria 15,498
 Brazil 14,392
 El Salvador 12,908
 Ghana 10,307

One-sixth of the Italian population or about 10 million people live in Lombardy (16.2% of the national population; 2% of the European Union population).

The population is highly concentrated in the Milan metropolitan area (2,029 inh./km2) and the Alpine foothills that compose the southern section of the provinces of Varese, Como, Lecco, Monza and Brianza and Bergamo, (1,200 inh./km2). A lower average population density (250 inh./km2) is found in the Po valley and the lower Brescia valleys; much lower densities (less than 60 inh./km2) characterise the northern mountain areas and the southern Oltrepò Pavese subregion.[23]

The growth of the regional population was particularly sustained during the 1950s–60s, thanks to a prolonged economic boom, high birth rates, and strong migration inflows (especially from Southern Italy). Since the 1980s, Lombardy has become the destination of a large number of international migrants, so that today, more than a quarter of all foreign-born residents in Italy live in this region. As of 2016, the Italian national institute of statistics (ISTAT) estimated that 1,139,430 foreign-born immigrants live in Lombardy, equal to 11.4% of the total population. The primary religion is Roman Catholicism; significant religious minorities include Christian Waldenses, Protestants, and Orthodox, as well as Jews, Sikhs and Muslims.

Government and politics[edit]

Palazzo Lombardia, the main seat of the government of Lombardy.

Politics in Lombardy is framed within a system of representative democracy, where the President of the Region (Presidente della Regione) is the head of government, and of a pluriform multi-party system. Executive power is vested in the Regional Government (Giunta Regionale) and legislative power is vested in the Regional Council (Consiglio Regionale).

Historically, the moderate Christian Democrats maintained a large majority of the popular support and the control of the most important cities and provinces from the end of the Second World War to the early 1990s. The opposition Italian Communist Party was a considerable presence only in southern Lombardy and in the working class districts of Milan; their base, however, was increasingly eroded by the rival centrist Italian Socialist Party, until eventually the Mani Pulite corruption scandal (which spread from Milan to the whole of Italy) wiped away the old political class and parties almost entirely.

This, together with the general disaffection towards the central government (considered as wasting resources to balance the budgets of the chronically underdeveloped regions of Southern Italy), led to the sudden growth of the secessionist Northern League, particularly strong in the mountain and rural areas. In the last twenty years, Lombardy stayed as a conservative stronghold, overwhelmingly voting for Silvio Berlusconi in all the six last general elections. Notwithstanding, the capital city of Milan elected progressive Giuliano Pisapia at the 2011 municipal elections and the 2013 regional elections saw a narrow victory for the center-right coalition.

On 22 October 2017 a non-binding autonomy referendum took place in Lombardy. The turnout was a low 38.3%, of which 95.3% voted in favor. In 2018, the regional government of Lombardy was still under negotiation with Rome for the devolution of certain competencies.[98][99][needs update]

Administrative divisions[edit]

The region of Lombardy is divided in 11 administrative provinces, 1 metropolitan city and 1,530 communes.

The provinces/metropolitan cities of Lombardy
Province/Metropolitan city
Area (km2)
Density (inh./km2)
Province of Bergamo 2,723 1,108,853 407.2
Province of Brescia 4,784 1,265,077 264.4
Province of Como 1,288 599,905 465.7
Province of Cremona 1,772 361,610 204.4
Province of Lecco 816 340,251 416.9
Province of Lodi 782 229,576 293.5
Province of Mantua 2,339 414,919 177.3
Metropolitan City of Milan 1,575 3,259,835 2,029.7
Province of Monza and Brianza 405 864,557 2,134.7
Province of Pavia 2,965 548,722 185.1
Province of Sondrio 3,212 182,086 56.6
Province of Varese 1,211 890,234 735.1
Largest cities or towns in Lombardy
Source: ISTAT;[100] estimates for 31 December 2019
Rank Province Pop. Rank Province Pop.
1 Milan Milan 1,396,059 11 Cremona Cremona 72,672 Monza
2 Brescia Brescia 199,597 12 Vigevano Pavia 63,623
3 Monza Monza 124,051 13 Legnano Milan 60,336
4 Bergamo Bergamo 121,178 14 Gallarate Varese 53,934
5 Como Como 85,915 15 Rho Milan 51,323
6 Busto Arsizio Varese 83,909 16 Mantua Mantua 49,440
7 Sesto San Giovanni Milan 81,841 17 Lecco Lecco 48,173
8 Varese Varese 80,645 18 Cologno Monzese Milan 48,030
9 Cinisello Balsamo Milan 76,264 19 Paderno Dugnano Milan 47,467
10 Pavia Pavia 73,334 20 Lissone Monza 46,445


Beside being an economic and industrial powerhouse, Lombardy 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. Major tourist destinations in the region include (in order of arrivals as of 2013)[101] the historic, cultural and artistic cities of Milan (4,527,889 arrivals), Bergamo (242,942), Brescia (229,710), Como (215,320), Varese (107,442), Mantua (88,902), Monza (75,839), Pavia (56,604)[102] and the lakes of Garda (429,376), Como (322,585), Iseo (123,337) and Maggiore (71,055).

UNESCO World Heritage Sites[edit]

There are nine UNESCO World Heritage sites wholly or partially located in Lombardy.[103] Some of these comprise several individual objects in different locations. One of the entries has been listed as natural heritage and the others are cultural heritage sites.

At Monte San Giorgio, on the border with Swiss canton Ticino just south of Lake Lugano, a wide range of marine Triassic fossils have been found. During the Triassic period, some 240 million years ago, the area was a shallow tropical lagoon. Fossils include reptiles, fish and crustaceans and also some insects.

Two sites are of pre-historic origin. The Rock Drawings in Valcamonica date back to a period between 8000 BC and 1000 BC, covering prehistoric periods from the Epipaleolithic/Mesolithic to the Iron Age. The engravings show depictions of a wide range of topics including agricultural and war scenes alongside more abstract symbols.

The multi-centred heritage site Prehistoric pile dwellings around the Alps includes 111 individual objects in France, Switzerland, Italy, Germany, Austria and Slovenia, of which ten are located in Lombardy. Each of these objects consists of remnants of buildings erected on wooden piles in sub-alpine rivers, lakes and wetlands, built between 5000 BC and 500 BC. In general, only the submerged wooden parts have been preserved in the alluvial sediment, although in some places pile buildings have been reconstructed.

Another multi-centred site, Longobards in Italy, Places of Power (568–774 A.D.), comprises seven locations across mainland Italy which illustrate the history of the Lombard period which has given the region its name. Two of the individual sites are in the modern region of Lombardy: the fortifications (the castrum and the Torba Tower) and the church of Santa Maria foris portas ("outside the gates") with its Byzantinesque frescoes at Castelseprio, and the monastic complex of San Salvatore-Santa Giulia at Brescia. The UNESCO site of Brescia also includes the remains of its Roman forum, the best-preserved in Northern Italy.[104][105]

The Church and Dominican Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan with "The Last Supper" by Leonardo da Vinci represent architectural and painting styles of the Renaissance period of the 15th century. The towns of Mantua and Sabbioneta are also listed as a combined World Heritage site relating to this period, here focussing more on town planning aspects of the time than on architectural detail. While Mantua was rebuilt in the 15th and 16th centuries according to Renaissance principles, Sabbioneta was planned as a new town in the 16th century.

The Sacri Monti of Piedmont and Lombardy are a group of nine sites in northwest Italy, of which two are in Lombardy. The concept of holy mountains can also be found elsewhere in Europe. These sites were created as centres of pilgrimage by placing chapels in the natural landscape and were loosely modelled on the topography of Jerusalem. In Lombardy, Sacro Monte del Rosario di Varese and Sacro Monte della Beata Vergine del Soccorso, built in the early to mid-17th century, mark the architectural transition from the late Renaissance to the Baroque style.

Crespi d'Adda is a company town founded in 1878 to accommodate workers of a local textile mill. At its height, the town was home to 3,200 employees and their families.

Parco Naturalistico-Archeologico della Rocca di Manerba del Garda, a fortress of Manerba del Garda.

The Rhaetian Railway in the Albula/Bernina Landscapes is mostly located in the Swiss canton Graubünden, but also extends over the border into Tirano. The site is listed because of the complex railway engineering (tunnels, viaducts and avalanche galleries) necessary to take the narrow-gauge railway across the main chain of the Alps. The two railway lines were opened in several stages between the years of 1904 and 1910.

The Venetian Works of Defence between the 16th and 17th centuries: Stato da Terra – western Stato da Mar is a transnational system of fortifications built by the Republic of Venice on its mainland domains (Stato da Terra) and its territories stretching along the Adriatic coast (Stato da Mar). This site includes the Fortified City of Bergamo.


Lombardy contains numerous museums (over 330) of different types (e.g. ethnographic, historical, technical-scientific, artistic and naturalistic) which testify to the historical-cultural and artistic development of the region. Among the most famous ones are the National Museum of Science and Technology "Leonardo da Vinci" (Milan), the Accademia Carrara (Bergamo), the Mille Miglia, the Santa Giulia Museum (both in Brescia), the Volta Temple, the Villa Olmo (both in Como), the Stradivari Museum (Cremona), the Palazzo Te (Mantua), the Pavia Civic Museums, the University History Museum, University of Pavia, the Natural History Museum (both in Pavia), the Museum Sacred Art of the Nativity, the Basilica of Santa Maria Assunta (both in Gandino), and the Royal Villa of Monza (Monza).

Other sights[edit]


Rice is popular in Lombardy; the region is the largest in Europe for rice production and in particular the province of Pavia, where over 84,000 hectares are cultivated with rice, so much so that the province alone produces as much rice as the entirety of Spain,[106] often found in soups as well as risotti, such as "risotto alla milanese", with saffron. In the city of Monza, a popular recipe also adds pieces of sausages to the risotto, while in Pavia they feature Carthusian risotto, according to the legend created by the monks of the Certosa, based on crayfish, carrots and onions, risotto with eye beans or a version with sausage and bonarda, and risotto with common hops (ürtis in pavese dialect). Polenta is also common throughout the region. Regional cheeses include Robiola, Crescenza, Taleggio, Gorgonzola and Grana Padano (the plains of central and southern Lombardy allow intensive cattle-raising). Butter and cream are used. Single pot dishes, which take less work to prepare, are popular. Common types of pasta include Casoncelli in Brescia and Bergamo and Pizzoccheri in Valtellina. In Mantua, festivals feature tortelli di zucca (ravioli with pumpkin filling) accompanied by melted butter and followed by turkey stuffed with chicken or other stewed meats.[107] Among typical regional desserts is Nocciolini di Canzo—dry biscuits.

Typical dishes and products[edit]

Gorgonzola cheese takes its name from the homonymous city near Milan
Risotto alla milanese with ossobuco
Tortelli di zucca with butter and sage


  • Franciacorta
  • Nebbiolo red
  • Bellavista
  • Santi
  • Nino Negri
  • Bonarda Lombardy
  • Inferno (Valtellina)
  • Grumello (Valtellina)
  • Sassella (Valtellina)


The auditorium of the Teatro alla Scala in Milan.

Besides Milan, the Lombardy region has 11 other provinces, most of them with equally great musical traditions. Bergamo is famous for being the birthplace of Gaetano Donizetti and home of the Teatro Donizetti; Brescia hosts the impressive 1709 Teatro Grande; Cremona is regarded as the birthplace of the commonly used violin and is home to several of the most prestigious luthiers in the world; and Mantua was one of the founding and most important cities in 16th- and 17th-century opera and classical music.

Other cities such as Lecco, Lodi, Varese and Pavia (Teatro Fraschini) also have rich musical traditions, but Milan is the hub and centre of the Lombard musical scene. It was the workplace of Giuseppe Verdi, one of the most famous and influential opera composers of the 19th century, and boasts a variety of acclaimed theatres, such as the Piccolo Teatro and the Teatro Arcimboldi; however, the most famous is the 1778 Teatro alla Scala (popularly La Scala), one of the most important and prestigious operahouses in the world.


Lombard is widely used in Lombardy, in diglossia with Italian. Lombard is a language[108] belonging to the Gallo-Italic group, within the Romance languages.[109] It is a cluster of homogeneous varieties used by at least 3,500,000 native speakers in Lombardy and some areas of neighbouring regions, notably the eastern side of Piedmont and Southern Switzerland (cantons of Ticino and Graubünden).[109]

The Lombard language should not be confused with that of the LombardsLombardic language, a Germanic language extinct since the Middle Ages.


Dolce & Gabbana is headquartered in Milan.

Lombardy has always been an important centre for silk and textile production, notably the cities of Pavia, Vigevano and Cremona, but Milan is the region's most important centre for clothing and high fashion. In 2009, Milan was regarded as the world fashion capital, even surpassing New York, Paris and London.[110] Most of the major Italian fashion brands, such as Valentino, Versace, Prada, Armani and Dolce & Gabbana, are currently headquartered in the city.


The most popular sport in Lombardy, as in all Italy, is football. In fact, Lombardy is home to some of the most important football teams in the country. Considering the 2022-2023 Serie A season, Lombardy hosts 4 out of 20 teams: A.C. Milan and Inter Milan (both based in Milan) and Atalanta B.C. (based in Bergamo); A.C. Monza (based in Monza). Other big teams of the region are Brescia Calcio, and U.S. Cremonese (playing in the 2020-21 Serie B) and Calcio Lecco 1912, U.C. AlbinoLeffe, Como 1907, Aurora Pro Patria 1919, A.C. Renate, A.S. Giana Erminio, S.S.D. Pro Sesto and U.S. Pergolettese 1932 (playing in the 2020-21 Serie C).

Olimpia Milano (based in Milan) is the most successful basketball team in Italy. In the 2020–21 LBA season 5 teams out of 15 are from Lombardy (Olimpia Milano, Pallacanestro Brescia, Pallacanestro Varese, Pallacanestro Cantù, Guerino Vanoli Basket).

The region's metropolis, Milan, will host the 2026 Winter Olympics alongside Cortina d'Ampezzo.

The Autodromo Nazionale di Monza, located outside of Milan, hosts the Formula One Italian Grand Prix.

The Giro d'Italia, a famous annual bicycle race, usually ends in Milan.

Alpine skiing is also important for the region; the FIS Alpine Ski World Cup holds an annual race in Bormio.

Twinning and covenants[edit]

See also[edit]


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  108. ^ "Documentation for ISO 639 identifier: LMO". Identifier: LMO / Name: Lombard / Status: Active / Code set: 639-3 / Scope: Individual / Type: Living
  109. ^ a b Jones, Mary C.; Soria, Claudia (2015). "Assessing the effect of official recognition on the vitality of endangered languages: a case of study from Italy". Policy and Planning for Endangered Languages. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. p. 130. ISBN 9781316352410. Lombard (Lumbard, ISO 639-9 lmo) is a cluster of essentially homogeneous varieties (Tamburelli 2014: 9) belonging to the Gallo-Italic group. It is spoken in the Italian region of Lombardy, in the Novara province of Piedmont, and in Switzerland. Mutual intelligibility between speakers of Lombard and monolingual Italian speakers has been reported as very low (Tamburelli 2014). Although some Lombard varieties, Milanese in particular, enjoy a rather long and prestigious literary tradition, Lombard is now mostly used in informal domains. According to Ethnologue, Piedmontese and Lombard are spoken by between 1,600,000 and 2,000,000 speakers and around 3,500,000 speakers, respectively. These are very high figures for languages that have never been recognised officially nor systematically taught in school
  110. ^ "The Global Language Monitor " Fashion". Languagemonitor.com. 20 July 2009. Archived from the original on 1 November 2009. Retrieved 3 January 2010.
  111. ^ "Lombardy". The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (5th ed.). HarperCollins. Retrieved 7 July 2019.
  112. ^ "Lombardy". Collins English Dictionary. HarperCollins. Retrieved 7 July 2019.

Further reading[edit]

  • Cochrane, Eric. Historians and historiography in the Italian Renaissance (U of Chicago Press, 1981).
  • Conca Messina, Silvia A., and Catia Brilli. "Agriculture and nobility in Lombardy. Land, management and innovation (1815-1861)." Business History (2019): 1-25.
  • de Klerck, Bram. The Brothers Campi: Images and Devotion. Religious Painting in Sixteenth-Century Lombardy (Amsterdam UP. 1999).
  • Di Tullio, Matteo. "Cooperating in time of crisis: war, commons, and inequality in Renaissance Lombardy." Economic History Review 71.1 (2018): 82–105.
  • Di Tullio, Matteo. The wealth of communities: war, resources and cooperation in Renaissance Lombardy (Ashgate, 2014).
  • Gamberini, Andrea. The Clash of Legitimacies: The State-Building Process in Late Medieval Lombardy (2018) online
  • Greenfield, Kent Roberts. Economics and liberalism in the Risorgimento: a study of nationalism in Lombardy, 1814-1848 (1934).
  • Klang, Daniel M. "Cesare Beccaria and the clash between jurisprudence and political economy in eighteenth-century Lombardy." Canadian journal of history 23.3 (1988): 305–336.
  • Klang, Daniel M. "The problem of lease farming in eighteenth-century Piedmont and Lombardy." Agricultural history 76.3 (2002): 578-603 online.
  • Klang, Daniel M. Tax reform in eighteenth century Lombardy (1977) online
  • Messina, Silvia A. Conca. Cotton Enterprises: Networks and Strategies: Lombardy in the Industrial Revolution, 1815-1860 (2018) excerpt
  • Pyle, Cynthia Munro. Milan and Lombardy in the Renaissance: Essays in cultural history (1997).
  • Sella, Domenico. Crisis and continuity : the economy of Spanish Lombardy in the seventeenth century (1979) online
  • Soresina, Marco. "Images of Lombardy in historiography." Modern Italy 16.1 (2011): 67–85.
  • Storrs, Christopher. "The Army of Lombardy and the Resilience of Spanish Power in Italy in the Reign of Carlos II (1665-1700) (Part I)." War in History 4.4 (1997): 371–397.

Guide books[edit]

  • Daverio, Philippe. Lombardy: 127 Destinations For Discovering Art, History, and Beauty (2016) guide book. excerpt
  • Macadam, Alta, and Annabel Barber. Blue Guide Lombardy, Milan & the Italian Lakes (2020) excerpt
  • Williams Jr., Egerton R. Lombard Towns in Italy; Or, The Cities of Ancient Lombardy (1914) online

External links[edit]