As it is widely known, Lombardy is Italy's economic powerhouse. One fifth of the country's business activity happens in the region, and one sixth of all Italians call Lombardy their home. There are several other reasons why this is one of Italy's most special parts: One are the mountains, the Alps. Lombardy offers a perfect variation of landscapes: High mountains, ideal for hiking and climbing in the summer - and for skiing and all other kinds of winter sports in the winter, but further South there are idyllic plains with a very pleasant kind of Mediterranean climate. Then there is the capital of the region, indeed one of the most remarkable cities in Italy - and the world: Milan (Milano). It is not only the region's capital and economic hub, but also the world capital of fashion and design.

Yes - it does beat Paris in this regard. In sheer volume, Paris may be ahead, that seems to be true, but the most important fashion of the world is designed AND presented in Milan. It's that simple.

Milan is of course much smaller than the French capital, but with its 1.2 million people it is one of Italy's biggest cities. It offers several famous attractions, like its old town - and its iconic cathedral. Building it took quite a while: From 1386 until 1965. That's one very fine example of Italian dedication... In the field of culture, Milan is of world importance as well: Let me just mention "la Scala", the world's most famous opera house! Milan is Italy's economic capital. It is also one of Europe's most international and vibrant cities.

The reason why Milan and Lombardy are doing so well economically is mostly related to the service sector, which, especially since the 1980's, has proven to have a very innovative character. But the boom of services didn't mean the decline of the region's traditional manufacturing industries. The regional government has shown a lot of balance in this regard - which has turned out to be quite beneficial.

It goes without saying that tourism is also a big factor in Lombardy. The region is very welcoming to foreign investors. Lombardy borders on Switzerland and somehow shares that country's financial traditions. That way a climate extremely friendly to international investment has been created. The region's real estate sector has greatly benefited from this. Having a weekend house in the mountains of Lombardy is now one of the hippest things people associate with Italy.

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Lombardy, Italy

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