Lombardy (Milan) - Northern Regions

"Lombardy (Milan) - Northern Regions" submitted by RomeTour Editorial Team and last updated on Thursday 28th April 2011

The name Lombardy comes from the name of ancient Germanic people Lombard, which invided this territory in VI-VII centuries and settled here till the VIII century.

Area: 23 860 sq.km (9209 sq.miles) (7.9%), population: 8 990 000 inhabitants (15.5%), density of population: 376 inhab./sq.km.

The positive factors in life organization in Lombardy are excellent geographic position in the heart of Po's plain, wealth of water, relatively easy access to maritime zones. The negative factors: the climate, lack of mineral resources present only in zones of Brescia and Bergamo.

The first human settlements appeared during the Neolithic, occupying mostly the lake and river zones. In the period of VIII and VI centuries b.C. Etruscans from close Emilia, and later Gauls from south and west, had chosen the territory of modern Lombardy for living. This was a time when first stable settlements and towns appeared, so were born Brescia, Pavia, Bregamo and Milan, to which later were adjoined some other minor centers like Cremona, founded by Romans in 218 b.C.

As it always happened with the conquest of the territory by Romans the organization of the inhabited space got the new aspects and went with a greater speed. So there were built the roads, developed commerce and trades, introduced some new agricultural plants, enforced the city and communication network. The results of the changes were increasing density of population and development of agriculture.

After decline of Roman empire and barbaric invasions the reorganization of the territory have got some long intervals. Only in XI century thanks to the monks communities (Chiaravalle, Morimondo, Viboldone, Piona) the regulation of the territory was began again: control of water flows, drying up of marshes, embanking of rivers, cultivation of lands. Later this work was continued by the Communes (Milan, Lodi, Mantua) and proceeded also in the epoch of dukes (most of all of Milan), when were realized the fleets of Pavia and Martesaba (XV century).

During the Modern Times, till the end of XVIII century, the use of Lombardian plain was improved by introduction of the new growing (among which was rice) and further development of those traditional, and this is when the first manufactures began their activity. By the end of XIX century the artisan manufacturing matured and became a real industrial settlement developed first of all in Milan. The density of the population grew more and more with the development of industry and need on the work hands supplied by the southern part of Italy.



Man and Territory Economy and Resources

Archeology and Art


In III-II millenium b.C. some peoples had already settled in Lombardy around the lakes. In i millenium b.C. appeared the first villages. In VII-VI centuries b.C. the Etruscans settled in the eastern zone of the territory, while in VI-IV centuries b.C. the region was invaded by Celts. Celts founded Milan (Midland), Pavia (Ticinum), Como (Comum). .

Roman Epoch
(from III century b.C.)

Milan had got a great importance after it became  the capital of the Eastern Empire in IV century. Colonization of the territory: drying up of marshes, canalization of waters, cleaning of the land from forests, building of roads, etc. .

Middle Ages
(V - XV centuries)

Continuous invasions of Barbarians with the domination of Lombards in the end. Between XI and XII centuries, with the victory of Legnano (1176) over Frederick Barbarossa, appeared independent Lombardian communes. The first period of Barbaric invasions brought chaos and economic and civil degradation. Between X-XI centuries improvement of the situation. Construction and rearrangement of basilicas (Sant'Ambrogio in Milan, San Michele in Pavia, San Fedele in Como, etc.).

(XV - XVI centuries)

Blooming of Milan under the government of Visconti and Sforza, and of Mantua under Gonzaga. In XVII the region was conquered by the Spanish. In 1629 took place the terrible epidemic of plague. In the valley of Po were defused the new plants: rice and mulberry, imported from the Extreme East; maize, potato, tomato, been, paper and tobacco imported from America. The bad government of the Spanish brings Lombardy to the economic decline. Construction of castles in country-side; in 1386 the building of Duomo in Milan was began. In Mantua work the great artists (Pisanello, A.Mantegna).

Modern Epoch (XVII-XVIII)

The Austrians succeeded the Spanish in XVIII and governed the territory for nearly 100 years. Slowly revival of economy, Grave progress in agriculture. Increase of accumulated capital and growth of Milan's welfare. Urbanistic arrangement of Milan when in the end of XVIII century worked an architect G.Piermarini.

XIX - XX centuries

In 1859 Lombardy was joined to the kingdom of Sardinia and later to Italy. In 1925 was unveiled the highway Milan-Laghi, the first in the world and in 1937 was opened the airport Forlanini in Milan. During the 60's the economic growth and demand of the working hands caused solid immigration from all over the country.  

Lombardy (Milan) Map

lombardia map1lombardia map2



January:1.2 C

July: 21.4 C


Lombardy borders on Piedmont (west), Switzerland (north), Veneto and Trentino-Alto Adige (east), Emilia-Romagna (south).


The climate in Alpine and pre-Alpine zones is characterized by  cold winters and snow-falls, cool summers and short and rainy springs and autumns.
In the plain zones the climate is continental: hot sultry summers, cold humid and rainy winters with frequent fogs especially in January-February.
In the lake-side zones the climate is considerably milder, especially on lake Garda.


Nature in Lombardy is very beautiful, but with the years the landscape changed due to industrial development and intensive urbanization of the territory.
Mountain zones: Alps and Prealps. Thanks to its resources this part of the region was not depopulated and maintained  the same level of inhabitants. Three main activities here are 1.production of hydroenergy using mountain waters; 2.some very specialized agricultural productions (wines of Valtellina, etc.); 3.tourism (skiing in Bormio, Livigno, Madesimo, Chiesa Val Malenco, Campodolcino, Aprica).
In pre-Alpine zones, more populated activity is based on excavation and usage of some mineral resources (iron, lead, zinc), which gave birth to numerous little artisan productions.
In mountain zones are located all Lombardian lakes: Maggiore, Como, Iseo, Garda, very much visited by tourist.
Hill and plain zones: this are the most populated and industrialized parts of the region, here on 1/6 of the whole Lombardian territory live 3/4 of the Lombardian population, especially around Milan, capital of the region. The hill parts around Cantu'  and Varesotto are specialized in production of textile and furniture; while the area between Saronno, Busto Arsizio and Gallarate is occupied by important commercial centers and the seats of textile and mechanic industries. The industries on the territory around Bergamo are influenced by Milan's enterprises. Bergamo is the seat of Italcementi, the main Italian company in production of cement, moreover, this city is the second bank center in Lombardy after Milan. But the second place by population takes the city of Brescia, which obtained the ample autonomy thanks to highly developed industry, commercial, consulting and educational activities.
The lower parts of the plain zone are rich of fertile lands and water which permits intensive cultivation and successful functioning of agricultural companies.
The river Po and numerous artificial channels are used for irrigation of lands, navigation and transportation of goods.


plain: 41%

hill: 12%

mountain: 47%


Total: 22 000 000

Italians: 70%

Foreigners: 30%


Lombardy has a highly developed communication network, where Milan is the most important road, railway, airway junction. In Lombardy was opened in 1925 the first in the world highway Milan-Laghi.

Agriculture and breeding.

The agriculture in Lombardy is one of the most developed in Italy and in the past centuries it was the source of accumulation of the capital which gave the impulse to industry growing. The land is worked by private farmers (2/3) and by big agricultural companies (1/3). The most important plants cultivated here are corn, rice, forage, vegetables and maize. In Valtellina, Oltrepo Pavese, Franciacorta: viticulture and production of quality wines, especially sparking wines. Considerable is production of wood for paper industry and breeding of cattle, for this reason the region is among the greatest producers of milk and meat in Italy.


agriculture: 3%

industry: 42%

commerce: 55%



44 000 000 kWh


11 100 000 kWh



128 000 000 kWh


17 100 000 kWh


25% of the Italian population working for industry productions is located in Lombardy, here is produced everything and the main industries are: metal-mechanics, chemical, food, textile, clothing, furniture, publishing, fashion, construction (as a consequence of a dense concentration of the population especially in 50's-60's.
Commerce is also very much developed first of all thanks to the great quanity of exported industrial products and imported materials, and thanks to the presence in Milan of the numerous fashion houses exporting their products in all over the world.
The other activities in Lombardy  are those financial, banking, insurance, consulting, advertising, touristic, etc.


Lombardy is on the first place by population in Italy. The metropolitan area of Milan concentrates 50% of the whole population, but in last years people prefer to live in Milan's suburbs than inside of the city, so the number of inhabitants here decrease. This happens because of the high cost of houses and life in general, air-pollution, noise and a number of other negative factors accompanying such a big industrial center like Milan.

Births (per 1000)

Italy: 9.9

Lombardy: 8.5

Deaths (per 1000)

Italy: 9.3

Lombardy: 9.3


Italy: 0.6

Lombardy: -0.8

Inhabitants per car

Italy 2.0

Lombardy: 1.7


People in Lombardy live well, and thousands of families live very well. The quality of public service is quite high. Here the welfare is distributed quite equally (for example, it is different  from Piedmont) and permits live well to countrymen and industry workers. Nevertheless, Lomabardians are the great savers and spend less money for entertainment and rest than in other regions. The medical assistance is good, but the length of life in Lomabrdy, especially when speaking about men, is shorter than in other parts of Italy (69,5 years in Lombardy against 70,2 year in Italy (average)). This is the place where people die more often than in other Italian regions from cancer and heart-diseases. According to numerous public inquiries the better places to live in Lombardy are minor cities like Mantua, Pavia, Cremona, Como and Varese.


Lombardy is divided in nine provinces: Milan, Bergamo, Brescia, Como, Cremona, Lecco, Lodi, Mantua, Pavia, Sondrio, Varese. Their territory is divided in 1546 communes. The metropolitan area of Milan causes creation of two new provinces: Lodi and Lecco, the first one includes 66 communes of Milan province, the second one has a strong economic (industrial and touristic) structure.

Monthly income

per inhabitant

1 626 000 It.Liras

 (813 US Dollars)

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