Lombardy is the region of the great Italian lakes, with pine-clad mountain slopes reaching right to the water's edges. Sharing a border with Switzerland, the region is blessed with sensational alpine views, with Monte Rosa, the highest mountain in Lombardy, boasting a 4,634m summit - second only to Mont Blanc in the whole of the Alps.
Although Lombardy does have some ski resorts in the winter, it is in the summer that the area comes into its own.
The beautiful lakes Como, Garda, Maggiore and Orta provide a cool relief from the summer heat, with hiking trails ranging from the gentle to the more challenging in the mountainous northern parts.
Take a break in one of the many tiny villages perched on the mountainside, enjoying the views over the vineyards and valleys. Cyclists are also spoilt for choice, with the well maintained routes along the rivers and lakes particularly popular.
A highlight of a visit to Lombardy is a ride on the Red Train, the steepest train route in the world, in which passengers can marvel at stunning alpine scenery during the 2 ½ hour journey from the quiet town of Tirano to St Moritz in Switzerland.