Across the Blue Line

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Across the Blue Line

Pavia – Lodi – Cremona – Mantova

This tour confirms that Lombardy is not only mountain and lakes or metropolitan Milan and industrial areas, but also a very rich environment of waters and green, inhabited by people with a characteristic taste of life.
Let us gently be guided from the blue line of the Po, along an itinerary of many centuries of history beginning with Pavia, the capital of the Italian Kingdom, through the unchanged historical centre of Lodi, the square of Vigevano, Sabbioneta the “exemplary city” of the Renaissance, the green area of Cremona and the magnificent palaces of the court of Mantova.

• Pavia
the capital of the Longobards, summarizes, with its architecture, the historical periods of its history; the Visconti Castle and the university buildings, the Cathedral and the church of St. Peter in Ciel d’Oro, the church of St. Michael, where the longobard kings were once crowned and just outside,the miracle of marble of the Certosa, the authentic jewel of the Renaissance arts. And if Vigevano, splendid with its Ducal Palace proposed its outstretched rice fields, if Broni, Stradella and Casteggio present their vineyards, Salice Terme, in a natural suggestive frame, regenerates its guests with its thermal waters.

• Lodi
Walking through the streets and squares of Lodi, from the historical centre with the Town Hall, the Cathedral and the Broletto, the arcades of the Po, the Incoronata and on approaching the banks of the Adda, which flows through the town creating a natural and relaxing atmosphere, one is taken by a pleasant sensation of tranquillity.
There are also realities which enhance the “capital” wanted by Federico Barbarossa: Sant’Angelo, Codogno and San Colombano, with its hill which offers the Banini wines which complements a culinary culture.

• Cremona
Cremona is a reference point for the art of violin-making in the world and boasts some of the greatest monuments of the past, like the Cathedral, the Baptistry and the splendid Town Hall square. The museums not only testify the archeological importance of the town and the famous art of the Renaissance painters, but also the history of the famous violin-makers, among which the Amati, Guarneri del Gesù and the great Antonio Stradivari: the theatres celebrate the music of Monteverdi and Ponchielli.
The relationship of the town with the river Po is direct, energetic and instinctive. The territory of Cremona extends itself to Casalasco, rich in villas and castles and a valuable collection of art in the churches and palaces, the venetian walls of Crema, the castles of Pandino and Soncino and the fortified remains of Pizzighettone.

• Mantova
Mantova, the capital of Matilde di Canossa and of the Gonzaga family, is an enchanted island surrounded by three lakes formed by the Mincio. The monumental scenography of the Gonzaga period, the marvelous frescos of the Mantegna family, the splendid inventions of Giulio Romano in the Tea Palace, the churches; the patrician houses narrate the history. A few kilometers from Mantova, we can admire the beautiful Sanctuary of the Beata Vergine alle Grazie, the Benedictine Abbey of Polirone, in San Benedetto Po, the small village parishes, and the old courts. Mirage in the fertile countryside is Sabbioneta, the “small Athens” of Vespasiano Gonzaga.

Food and Wine
The Lombardy of wines is certainly in the Oltrepò area, with the great reds, whites and sparkling wines in the Banina hill, but also in the Mantova area with the Morenic wines and the sparkling Lambrusco; the art of cooking is celebrated in all the towns and villages of the “Blue Line” with typical dishes like: tortelli di zucca squash-filled tortelli and marubini which is a kind of ravioli or tortellini. Desserts include Pavia’s Colomba pasquale, the Torrone from Cremona and Torta sbrisolana from Mantua. In this way, towns, villages and surrounding areas, in their customs and tastes, bring together the traditional and lively civilization of the Padana friendliness.

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