Art and Culture in Lombardy

Da Vinci, Last Supper
Lombardy is named for the Lombards, a tribe of people who invaded the Roman Empire in 570, and who then settled in the region. While Italian is the dominant language in the region, some dialects of Lombard are still spoken in parts of Mantua, Cremona, and Pavia. Called Cisalpine Gaul by the Romans, Lombardy is bordered by Switzerland to the north, and it includes part of the Alps. Lombardy is a major economic center, producing o­ne fifth of Italy’s GDP, and it is also a highly populated area, including about o­ne sixth of Italy’s population.

In addition to its status as an economic powerhouse and populous center of business, Lombardy has long held a position as a center of art and culture. Material culture from as early as the epipaleolithic period has been found in the region. About 300,000 carvings by the ancient Camuni people have been found in the Valcamonica, a large valley in the eastern part of the region.

In addition to sites of pre-historic interest, Lombardy contains about 330 museums, covering varied subjects. Most notable are the l’Accademia Carrara in Bergamo, the Museum of Santa Giulia in Brescia, the Stradivari Museum in Cremona, and the National Museum of Science and Technology in Milan. Also of artistic interest, are particular famous works, such as Leonardo Da Vinci’s Last Supper, which can be seen in Milan, at the convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie.

Plaster Casting
Lombardy’s food and wine is also of notable cultural interest. Rice is a popular crop in the region, included in risotto’s and soups. Risotto alla Milanese is world famous. Lombardy produces numerous wines, but it is most notable for its sparkling wines from Franciacorta and Oltrepò Pavese.

Lombardy, inhabited since the epipaleolithic period, is undoubtedly a center of growing artistic and cultural development.