Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Senobessus: Gaulish Polytheistic Reconstructionism

Gaulish Polytheistic Reconstructionism, or "Senobessus," is a branch of Celtic Polytheistic Reconstructionism. It focuses on specifically pre-Christian Gaulish paganism. I suppose a simpler way to put it is simply "Gaulish neopaganism." This movement, much of it very recent, has forced me to look hard at the Cernic Rite concept.

It has occurred to me that part of the mild friction between the simple naming of Germanic neopaganism is at work in its Gaulish neopaganist parallel as well. Should it be called "Odinism," or "Asatru?" Odin, while basically the chief god, is still just one of the gods and goddesses. Perhaps a non god-specific name for the pantheon would be more appropriate. The name "Asatru" is of Icelandic origin, making it regionally-specific, which has it's drawbacks as well. Naturally you want a name which includes everyone whom you wish to include. The Odinist/Wotanist story extended far from Iceland. A place like Russia is historically very much part of the "historical Wotanist narrative." Needless to say, the choosing of a name is very important.

Before I go any further, a brief description of the movement from PaganSpace.net (actually from the facebook page):

Senobessus: Gaulish Polytheistic Tribalism


Welcome to The Gaulish Polytheism Community!

This group is dedicated to Senobessus

Senobessus, or Gaulish Polytheistic Reconstructionism, is a Celtic Reconstructionist faith that focuses on Pre-Roman Gaulish Religion, and its revival into the modern age. Our faith emphasizes orthopraxy or "right actions" over orthodoxy or "right belief", and cultural relevance or influence over "racial purity" or elitism. We are open to all genders and sexual orientations, ethnic backgrounds, and national affiliations.

Also, this description from nertho.eu:

Senobessus "The Old Custom"

I would like to formally introduce the philosophy and tradition of Senobessus, as a modern reconstruction of "The Old Custom" of Gaulish Religion, as it applies not only to modern spirituality, but the continued research and dedication of those who have been and are getting involved in Gaulish Polytheistic Reconstruction.

The following statements are in dedication of the hard work of the noble few in our tradition who continue to honor the Gods of Gaul...

Mission Statement of Senobessus

Senobessus is a Gaulish word that translates into English as “old custom”, and is the name we have given to our humble religion. It represents how our members honor the Gaulish customs within our communities, and the bonds we share not only with our gods, but the unspoken bond we share with each other.

Our religion is less of an organization and more of a tradition we share with each other. Though many have contributed in the past to the dissemination of Senobessus, no one person is responsible for founding it, as it has always been there in some form or another. More importantly, all members within Senobessus are, despite their different roles, essentially equal.

That being said, The Gaulish Polytheism Community group on Facebook was created on August 30, 2011 as a networking platform for Gaulish Polytheistic Reconstructionists, to focus on the continued development of religion and spirituality within Senobessus, and to study and share the language, history, and culture of Ancient Gaul.

The purpose of Senobessus is the revival of the pre-Christian worldview and spiritual practices of the Gaulish peoples – the ancient Celtic peoples who inhabited and greatly influenced what would become the cultures and nations within central Europe. Senobessus aims to reconstruct Gaulish Polytheism within a modern context, while still respecting what we know about the worldview of the ancient Gaulish people.

Senobessus, or Gaulish Polytheistic Reconstructionism, is a Celtic Reconstructionist faith that focuses on Pre-Roman Gaulish Religion, and its revival into the modern age. Our faith emphasizes orthopraxy or "right actions" over orthodoxy or "right belief", and cultural relevance or influence over "racial purity" or elitism. We are open to all genders and sexual orientations, ethnic backgrounds, and national affiliations.

Before I go any further, I need to address the fifty-ton pink elephant in the living room. I don't see how a bunch of people of a particular culture, celebrating their heritage, is "elitism." I would like to see one of these "cultural apologists" knock on the door of one of the Sikh Temples and ask to join. The ultra-folkish, ancestral-worshiping Sikhs would get quite a kick out've that. I think it's pretty safe to say that they "may not join." It seems to be a phenomena, in the English-speaking world, for individuals to believe that "they can be anything!" Well, you can't be anything. ALL of us face rejection in our lives, and sometimes it's because we do not fit in. That's a basic FACT of life, and there's nothing wrong with it. You cannot be anything you want to be at any time you want to be it, based on your "whim of the moment," "current fad," or "fast value" of the day.

As far as the gay thing; given the types of problems and road blocks that we will face, "gays" would comparatively be a non-issue. The Gaulish spirituality/culture, as with other forms of European spirituality, was based primarily on the "family unit." Women, I believe, had extremely important leadership roles; probably more than in the Teutonic culture. Chiefly in the family, and in the realm of their tribal spirituality. In the area of spirituality, however, it would have been the more special women. In other words, I don't think just any woman can be an "Earth Mother" in the Wiccan sense. Then there's the Druidic element, which may have been predominantly males.

Getting back to choosing a name. Although I don't like this GPR-movement in it's present form; I still like the basic idea of it. Maybe we should run with it. Work within it. We live in a world where many people literally feel guilty for breathing, and are quite eager to give trillionaire international banking concerns a "world tax" to help ease their burden of guilt, so I don't have any problem purging them from any folk-movement that will eventually need to be splintered off. Incessant "guilt" is a Christian concept, not a pagan one, so I think that the universal Christian church is a good place for them. As far as a "Cernic Rite" or "Temple of Cern" name based on the chief Gaulish god; I suppose one could argue that we could just as well name it the "Sironic Rite" or the "Temple of Sirona," based on possibly the chief goddess of the Gauls (as least of the Cisalpine Gauls).

In conclusion, perhaps a landscape with a loose intellectual name "Gaulish Polytheist Reconstructionim," with the almost gratuitous "folkish" and "universalist" subsections, with name like "Temple of Cern" being given to its various local covens? As to whether it should lean more towards the Witches Sabbath or Druidism, I don't know. Since various spiritual traditions overlapped, this becomes a central issue. Personally, I tend to lean more towards the Witches Sabbath. That is the area, more than any other, which needs to be exorcised from the grip of political influence, any political influence. The Gaulish culture was strong in France (Gaul), the northern Italian peninsula, and much of the Iberian peninsula; but since Celtic peoples were present in every part of Europe, it leaves the door open. I just believe that, for example, a Cuban-American--who's also a European-American and a folkish-minded person--ought to feel at home in Gaulish neopaganism. Lastly, I would suggest an eight-pointed star as the chief symbol of this movement. It's perfect, with each point representative of each sabbat in the wheel of the year.


Thursday, February 23, 2012


The "Camunian Rose," symbolized on the Lombardian flag
Lumbardia in the Lombard language; Lombardia in Italian & Spanish; Lombardy in English; Lombardei in the bordering German language.

The Val Camonica is located in the province of Brescia, which is located in the region of Lombardy, which is part of the Italian Republic. In a sane world, the Val Camonica would be a province of its own, a part of the region of Lombardia (including the Lombard-speaking sections of Switzerland), and would be part of an entirely sovereign northern nation.

I wanted to put this in two or three parts, but with the table of contents, and wanting to get all the links into this, I wasn't able to. This is basically what we're all about at the end of the day. Our chief goal is to get the ball rolling on forming a "Lombardian-American construct." Even if Lombardy more-or-less disappears, if things don't go as we hope it will in the next couple of decades, we will still be here. We will still have a heritage and a common bond. It must be under the guise of "Lombardian-American," not some name that nobody has any idea of what it means, which will further polarize us from finally getting together (Michigan, California, Washington, Missouri, etc.).

Lombardy (from Wikipedia)

Lombardy is one of the 20 regions of Italy. The capital is Milan. One-sixth of Italy's population lives in Lombardy and about one fifth of Italy's GDP is produced in this region, making it the most populous and richest region in the country and one of the richest in the whole of Europe. Major tourist destinations in the region include the historic, cultural and artistic cities of Milan (which is Italy's second top tourist destination), Brescia, Mantua, Pavia, Como, Cremona, Bergamo, Sondrio, Lecco, Lodi, Varese, Monza, and the lakes of Garda, Como, Maggiore, and Iseo.

The official language, as in the rest of Italy, is Italian. The traditional local languages are the various dialects of Lombard (Western Lombard and Eastern Lombard), as well as some dialects of Emilian, spoken in some parts of the provinces of Mantua, Pavia, and Cremona. According to Istat, almost 27% of Lombards are bilingual with Lombard and Italian languages; 9.1% are monolingual in Lombard and 57.6% are monolingual in Italian.

Country  Italy

Capital  Milan

 • President  Roberto Formigoni (PDL)

 • Total  23,844 km2 (9,206 sq mi)

Population (25 March 2011)
 • Total  9,939,193
 • Density  416.843/km2 (1,079.617/sq mi)

Demonym  Lombard

 • Summer (DST)  CEST (UTC+2)

GDP/ Nominal  € 328.2 billion (2008)
GDP per capita  € 33,500 (2008)



Satellite image of Lombardy

Lombardy is bordered by Switzerland (north: Canton Ticino and Canton Graubünden) and by the Italian regions of Emilia-Romagna (south), Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol and the Veneto (east), and Piedmont (west). Three distinct natural zones can be fairly easily distinguished in the Lombardy region: mountains, hills and plains – the latter being divided in Alta (high plains) and Bassa (low plains).

The most important mountainous area is an Alpine zone including the Lepontine and Rhaetian Alps, (Piz Bernina – La Spedla, 4,020 m), the Bergamo Alps, the Ortler Alps and the Adamello massif; it is followed by an Alpine foothills zone Prealpi, which include the main peaks are the Grigna Group (2,410 m), Resegone (1,875 m) and Presolana (2,521 m). The great Lombard lakes, all of glacial origin lie in this zone. From west to east these are Lake Maggiore, Lake Lugano (only a small part is Italian), Lake Como, Lake Iseo, Lake Idro, then Lake Garda, the largest in Italy. South of the Alps lie the hills characterized by a succession of low heights of morainic origin, formed during the last Ice Age and small barely fertile plateaux, with typical heaths and conifer woods. A minor mountainous area lies south of the Po, in the Appennines range.

Panorama view: Bergamasque Alps

The plains of Lombardy, formed from alluvial deposits, can be divided into the Alta – an upper, permeable ground zone in the north and a lower zone characterized – the Bassa – by the so-called line of fontanili (the spring waters rising on impermeable ground). Anomalous compared with the three distinctions already made is the small region of the Oltrepò Pavese, formed by the Apennine foothills beyond the Po River. A large number of rivers, all direct or indirect tributaries of the Po, cross the plains of Lombardy. Major rivers, flowing west to east, are the Ticino, the outlet of Lake Maggiore, the Olona, the Lambro, the Adda, outlet of Lake Como, the Mincio, outlet of Lake Garda, and the Oglio, the Lake Iseo outflow. There is a wide network of canals for irrigation purposes. In the plains, intensively cultivated for centuries, little of the original environment remains. The rare elm, alder, sycamore, poplar, willow and hornbeam woods and heaths are covered now by several protected areas. In the area of the great Alpine foothills lakes, however, grow olive trees, cypresses and larches, as well as varieties of subtropical flora such as magnolias, azaleas, acacias, etc. The mountains area is characterized by the typical vegetation of the whole range of the Italian Alps. At a lower levels (up to approximately 1,100 m) oak woods or broadleafed trees grow; on the mountain slopes (up to 2,000–2,200 m) beech trees grow at the lowest limits, with conifer woods higher up. Shrubs such as rhododendron, dwarf pine and juniper are native to the summital zone (beyond 2,200 m).

Panorama view: Lake Maggiore

The climate of this region is continental, though with variations depending on altitude or the presence of inland waters. The continental nature of the climate is more accentuated on the plains, with high annual temperature changes (at Milan an average January temperature is 1.5 °C (35 °F) and 24 °C (75 °F) in July), and thick fog between October and February. The Alpine foothills lakes exercise a mitigating influence, permitting the cultivation of typically Mediterranean produce (olives, citrus fruit). In the Alpine zone, the valley floor is relatively mild in contrast with the colder higher areas (Bormio, 1,225 m, −1.4 °C (29 °F) average in January, 17.3 °C (63 °F) in July). Precipitations are more frequent in the Prealpine zone (up to 1,500–2,000 mm annually) than on the plains and Alpine zones (600 mm to 850 mm annually). The numerous species of endemic flora (the Lombard native species), typical mainly of the Lake Como area, include some kinds of saxifrage, the Lombard garlic, groundsels bellflowers and the cottony bellflowers. Lombardy counts many protected areas: the most important are the Stelvio National Park (the largest Italian natural park), with typically alpine wildlife: red deer, roe-deer, ibex, chamois, foxes, ermine and also golden eagles; and the Ticino Valley Natural Park, instituted in 1974 on the Lombard side of the Ticino River to protect and conserve one of the last major examples of fluvial forest in Northern Italy.


Early history

Roman ruins of the Imperial palace of Mediolanum

Ancient Celtic artifacts
retrieved in Lombardy[7]

The area of current Lombardy was settled at least since the 2nd millennium BC, as shown by the archaeological findings of ceramics, arrows, axes and carved stones. In the following centuries it was inhabited by different peoples amongst whom the Etruscans, who founded the city of Mantua and spread the use of writing; later, starting from the 5th century BC, the area was invaded by CelticGallic tribes. These people settled in several cities (including Milan) and extended their rule to the Adriatic Sea. Their development was halted by the Roman expansion in the Po Valley from the 3rd century BC onwards: after centuries of struggle, in 194 BC the entire area of what is now Lombardy became a Roman province with the name of Gallia Cisalpina ("Gaul on the nearer side of the Alps"). The Roman culture and language overwhelmed the former civilization in the following years, and Lombardy became one of the most developed and rich areas of Italy with the construction of a wide array of roads and the development of agriculture and trade. Important figures like Pliny the Elder (in Como) and Virgil (in Mantua) were born here. In late antiquity the strategic role of Lombardy was emphasized by the temporary moving of the capital of the Western Empire to Mediolanum (Milan). Here, in 313 AD, emperor Constantine issued the famous edict that gave freedom of confession to all religions within the Empire.

Middle Ages

King Alboin led the Lombard migration into the Po Valley and made Pavia the capital

During and after the fall of the Western Empire, Lombardy suffered heavily from destruction brought about by a series of invasions by tribal peoples. The last and most effective was that of the Lombards, or Longobardi, who came around 570s and whose long-lasting reign (whose capital was set in Pavia) gave the current name to the region. There was a close relationship between the Frankish, Bavarian and Lombard nobility for many centuries. After the initial struggles, relationships between the Lombard people and the Latin-speaking people improved. In the end, the Lombard language and culture assimilated with the Latin culture, leaving evidence in many names, the legal code and laws among other things. The end of Lombard rule came in 774, when the Frankish king Charlemagne conquered Pavia and annexed the Kingdom of Italy (mostly northern and central Italy) to his empire. The former Lombard dukes and nobles were replaced by other German vassals, prince-bishops or marquises. The 11th century marked a significant boom in the region's economy, due to improved trading and, mostly, agricultural conditions. In a similar way to other areas of Italy, this led to a growing self-acknowledgement of the cities, whose increasing richness made them able to defy the traditional feudal supreme power, represented by the German emperors and their local legates. This process reached its apex in the 12th and 13th centuries, when different Lombard Leagues formed by allied cities of Lombardy, usually led by Milan, managed to defeat the Hohenstaufen Emperor Frederick I, at Legnano, and his grandson Frederick II, at Parma.

The Coronation ceremony of
Gian Galeazzo Visconti in the
Basilica of Sant'Ambrogio

This did not prevent other important Lombard centres, like Cremona (then rivalling Milan for size and wealth) and others, from supporting the imperial power if this could grant them an immediate advantage. Taking advantage of the flourishing agriculture, the area around the Po River, together with Venice and Tuscany, continued to expand its industry and commerce until it became the economic centre of the whole of Europe. The enterprising class of the communes extended its trade and banking activities well into northern Europe: "Lombard" designated the merchant or banker coming from northern Italy (see, for instance, Lombard Street in London). The name "Lombardy" came to designate the whole of Northern Italy until the 15th century and sometimes later. From the 14th century onwards, the instability created by the unceasing internal and external struggles ended in the creation of noble seignories, the most significant of which were those of the Viscontis (later Sforzas) in Milan and of the Gonzagas in Mantua. In the 15th century the Duchy of Milan was a major political, economical and military force at the European level. Milan and Mantua became two centres of the Renaissance whose culture, with men like Leonardo da Vinci and Mantegna, and pieces of art were highly regarded (for example, Leonardo da Vinci's The Last Supper). This richness, however, attracted the now more organized armies of national powers like France and Austria, which waged a lengthy battle for Lombardy in the late 15th-early 16th century.

Modern era

Historical image of Villa Reale di Monza, official summer residence of the Austrian viceroys of Lombardy-Venetia, part of Austrian Empire

After the decisive Battle of Pavia, the Duchy of Milan became a possession of the Habsburgs of Spain: the new rulers did little to improve the economy of Lombardy, instead imposing a growing series of taxes needed to support their unending series of European wars.

The Pirelli Tower under construction in Milan, symbol of the post-war Italian economic miracle of 1950-60s.

The eastern part of modern Lombardy, with cities like Bergamo and Brescia, was under the Republic of Venice, which had begun to extend its influence in the area from the 14th century onwards (see also Italian Wars). Pestilences (like that of 1628/1630,[8] described by Alessandro Manzoni in his I Promessi Sposi) and the generally declining conditions of Italy's economy in the 17th and 18th centuries halted the further development of Lombardy. In 1706 the Austrians came to power and introduced some economical and social measures which granted a certain recovery. Their rule was smashed in the late 18th century by the French armies, however, and with the formation of the Napoleonic Empire, Lombardy became one of the semi-independent province of Napoleonic France. The restoration of Austrian rule in 1815, in the form of the puppet state called Kingdom of Lombardy–Venetia, had however to contend with new social ideals introduced by the Napoleonic era. Lombardy became one of the intellectual centres leading to Italian unification. The popular republic of 1848 was short-lived, its suppression leading to renewed Austrian rule. This came to a decisive end when Lombardy was annexed to the Kingdom of Italy 1859 as a result of the Second Italian Independence War. When annexed to the Kingdom of Italy in 1859 Lombardy achieved its actual territorial shape by adding the Oltrepò Pavese (formerly southern part of Novara's Province) to the province of Pavia. Starting from the late 19th century, and with a boom after World War II, Lombardy sharpened its status of richest and most industrialized region of Italy.


Historical populations
Year Pop. ±%
1861 3,160,000
1871 3,529,000 +11.7%
1881 3,730,000 +5.7%
1901 4,314,000 +15.7%
1911 4,889,000 +13.3%
1921 5,186,000 +6.1%
1931 5,596,000 +7.9%
1936 5,836,000 +4.3%
1951 6,566,000 +12.5%
1961 7,406,000 +12.8%
1971 8,543,000 +15.4%
1981 8,892,000 +4.1%
1991 8,856,000 −0.4%
2001 9,033,000 +2.0%
2011 9,939,000 +10.0%
Source: ISTAT 2001
One sixth of the Italian population or about 10 million people live in Lombardy (16.2% of the national population; 2% of the European Union population), making it the second most densely populated region in Italy after Campania with a strong concentration in the Milan metropolitan area and the Alpine foothills areas of the provinces of Varese, Como, Lecco, Monza and Brianza and Bergamo, (1,200 inh./km2), a lower average density (250 inh./km2) in the Po valley and the lower Brescia valleys, and much lower densities (less than 60 inh./km2) in the northern mountain areas and the southern Oltrepò Pavese subregion.

The growth of the regional population was particularly sustained during the 1950s–60s, thanks to a prolonged economic boom, high birth rates, and strong immigration flows (especially from Southern Italy). During the last two decades, Lombardy became the destination of a large number of international immigrants, insomuch that today more than a quarter of all foreign immigrants in Italy lives in this region. As of 2008, the Italian national institute of statistics ISTAT estimated that 815,335 foreign-born immigrants live in Lombardy, equal to 8.4% of the total regional population.

The primary religion is Catholicism; significative religious minorities include Christian Waldenses, Protestants and Orthodox, as well as Jews, Sikh and Muslims.


View over the business district of Milan: with a metropolitan area of 7.4m people,[9] it is Italy's most important industrial, commercial and financial center.
The gross domestic product in Lombardia (equal to over €328 billion in 2008) accounts for 20% of the total gross domestic product of Italy. When this measure is considered by inhabitant, it results in a value of €31,600 per inhabitant, which is almost 25% higher than the national average of €24,300.[10]
Lombardy's development has been marked by the growth of the services sector since the 1980s, and in particular by the growth of innovative activities in the sector of services to enterprises and in credit and financial services. At the same time, the strong industrial vocation of the region has not suffered from it. Lombardy remains, in fact, the main industrial area of the country. The presence, and development, of a very high number of enterprises belonging to the services sector represents a favourable situation for the improvement of the efficiency of the productive process, as well as for the growth of the regional economy. Lombardy is one of the Four Motors for Europe.

The region can broadly be divided into three areas as regards the productive activity. Milan, where the services sector makes up for 65.3% of the employment; a group of provinces, Varese, Como, Lecco, Bergamo and Brescia, highly industrialised, although in the two latter ones, in the plains, there is also a rich agricultural sector. Finally, in the provinces of Sondrio, Pavia, Cremona, Mantova and Lodi, there is a consistent agricultural activity, and at the same time an above average development of the services sector.

The countryside around Lake Garda.
The productivity of agriculture is enhanced by a well-developed use of fertilizers and the traditional abundance of water, boosted since the Middle Ages by the construction (partly designed by Leonardo da Vinci) of a wide net of irrigation systems. Lower plains are characterized by fodder crops, which are mowed up to eight times a years, cereals (rice, wheat and maize) and sugarbeet. Productions of the higher plains include cereals, vegetables, fruit trees and mulberries. The higher areas, up to the Prealps and Alps sectors of the north, produce fruit and vines. Cattle (with the highest density in Italy), pigs and sheep are raised.
Following a steep decline in GDP during the global recession in 2009 which saw industry heavily hit, Lombardy's economy is predicted to outperform the Italian economy this year with growth of between 1–1.3% expected. Only Emilia Romagna, Lazio and Tuscany are expected to outperform the region in 2010. The revival of the industrial sector is an important factor, but it is the service sector – and especially the financial sector which will drive the Lombard economy to a sustainable recovery.

Government and politics

Palazzo Lombardia in Milan, seat of the regional government.

The politics of Lombardy take place in a framework of a presidential representative democracy, whereby the President of the Region (Presidente della Regione) is the head of government, and of a pluriform multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the Regional Government (Giunta Regionale). Legislative power is vested in the Regional Council (Consiglio Regionale).

The Christian Democrats maintained a large majority of the popular support and the control of the most important cities and provinces since the birth of the Italian Republic until the late 1980s. The Italian Communist Party was a considerable presence only in the eastern and southern parts of Lombardy from the late 1960s to the mid 1980's. Their base however was increasingly eroded by the Italian Socialist Party until, in the early 1990s, the Mani Pulite corruption scandal which spread from Milan to the whole of Italy wiped away the old political class almost entirely. This, together with the general disaffection towards Rome's government (considered as favouring excessively the less developed regions of southern Italy in economical matters), led to the sudden growth of the secessionist (later Northern League), that is particularly strong in mountain and rural areas. In recent years, Lombardy stayed as a conservative stronghold, that gave about 60 per cent of its votes to Silvio Berlusconi at the last general election. Notwithstanding, the capital city of Milan landslide elected a new progressive mayor at the 2011 municipal elections.


Although Lombardy as a region is often identified as merely an economic and industrial powerhouse, it has interesting examples [2] even from the standpoint of cultural and artistic. The many examples range from prehistory to the present day, through the Roman period and the Renaissance and can be found both in museums and churches that enrich cities and towns around the region.


Rock engraves, Nadro.

The rock carvings (some 300,000) left by the ancient Camuni in the Valcamonica depicting animals, people and symbols date back to the period from Neolithic to Middle Ages.
The many artifacts (pottery, personal items and weapons) found in the necropolis near the Lake Maggiore, and Ticino demonstrate the presence of civilization Golasecca who lived in Western Lombardy between the ninth and the fourth century BC.


Lombardy contains numerous museums (over 330) of different types: ethnographic, historical, technical-scientific, artistic and naturalistic which testify to the historical-cultural and artistic development of the region. Among the most famous are the National Museum of Science and Technology "Leonardo da Vinci" (Milan), the The Last Supper of Leonardo da Vinci (Milan), the Accademia Carrara (Bergamo), the Museum of Santa Giulia (Brescia), the Volta Temple (Como), the Stradivari Museum (Cremona), the Palazzo Te (Mantua), the Museum Sacred Art of the Nativity and the basilica of Santa Maria Assunta at Gandino, the Royal Villa of Monza and many others.

Main sights


Rice is popular in the region, often found in soups as well as risotti, such as "risotto alla Milanese", with saffron. In the city of Monza a popular recipe also adds pieces of sausages to the risotto. Regional cheeses include robiola, crescenza, taleggio, gorgonzola and grana padano (the plains of central and southern Lombardy allow intensive cattle-raising). Butter and cream are used. Single pot dishes, which take less work to prepare, are popular. In Bergamo, Brescia, and Valtellina, polenta is common. In Valtellina, Pizzoccheri too. In Mantua festivals feature tortelli di zucca (ravioli with pumpkin filling) accompanied by melted butter and followed by turkey stuffed with chicken or other stewed meats.[11]

Typical dishes

A traditional "Cotoletta alla Milanese (Milanese-style cutlet)" served with potatoes.
  • Polenta (Asino e Polenta, Polenta e Osei, Vunscia Polenta, Polenta e Gorgonzola)
  • Pizzoccheri (short tagliatelle made out of buckwheat flour and wheat, laced with butter, green vegetables, garlic, sage, potatoes and onions, all topped with Casera cheese)
  • Quartirolo lombardo
  • Risotto (alla Milanese)
  • Osso buco
  • Cotoletta (Cutlet) ("alla Milanese")
  • Cassoeula
  • Gorgonzola cheese
  • Bitto cheese
  • Grana Padano cheese
  • Panettone
  • Lo Spiedo Bresciano – a traditional spit roast consisting of different cuts of meat, butter and sage
  • Tortelli di Zucca (Pumpkins filled pasta)
  • Sbrisolona cake


  • Nebbiolo red
  • Bellavista
  • Santi
  • Nino Negri
  • Bonarda Lombardy
  • Inferno (Valtellina)
  • Grumello (Valtellina)
  • Sassella (Valtellina)


The magnificent auditorium of the Teatro Grande in Brescia.
Besides Milan, the region of Lombardy has 11 other provinces, most of them with equally great musical traditions. Bergamo is famous for being the birthplace of Gaetano Donizetti and home of the Teatro Donizetti; Brescia is hosts the impressive 1709 Teatro Grande; Cremona is regarded as the birthplace of the commonly used violin, and is home to several of the most prestigious luthiers in the world, and Mantua was one of the founding and most important cities in 16th and 17th opera and classical music. Other cities such as Lecco, Lodi, Varese and Pavia also have rich musical traditions, but Milan is the hub and centre of the Lombard musical scene. It was the birthplace of Giuseppe Verdi, one of the most famous and influential opera composers of the 19th century, and boasts a variety of acclaimed theatres, such as the Piccolo Teatro and the Teatro Arcimboldi; however, the most famous is the 1778 Teatro alla Scala, one of the most important and prestigious operahouses in the world.


Apart from standardized Italian, Lombard is the local language of Lombardy. Lombard is a member of the Gallo-Italic group within the Romance languages. It is spoken natively in Northern Italy (most of Lombardy and some areas of neighbouring regions, notably the eastern side of Piedmont) and Southern Switzerland (Ticino and Graubünden).

The two main varieties (Western Lombard language and Eastern Lombard language) show differences and are often, but not always, mutually comprehensible. The union of Western Lombard or Insubric, Eastern Lombard and intermediate varieties under the denomination of "Lombard" is a matter of debate, and it has been argued that the two might potentially form separate languages.[12]


Lombardy has always been an important centre for silk and textile production, notably the cities of Pavia, Vigevano and Cremona, but Milan is the region's most important centre for clothing and high fashion. In 2009, Milan was regarded as the world fashion capital, even surpassing New York, Paris, Rome and London.[13] Most of the major Italian fashion brands, such as Valentino, Versace, Prada, Armani and Dolce & Gabbana (to name a few), are currently headquartered in the city.

Administrative divisions

Lombardy is divided into 12 provinces:
Lombardy Provinces.png
Province Area (km²) Population Density (inh./km²)
Province of Bergamo 2,723 1,070,060 392.9
Province of Brescia 4,784 the biggest 1,223,900 255.8
Province of Como 1,288 582,736 452.4
Province of Cremona 1,772 358,628 202.4
Province of Lecco 816 334,059 409.4
Province of Lodi 782 222,223 284.2
Province of Mantova 2,339 407,983 174.4
Province of Milan 1,575 3,121,832 the biggest 1,982
Province of Monza and Brianza 405 the smallest 840,711 2,075
Province of Pavia 2,965 535,948 180.7
Province of Sondrio 3,212 181,841 the smallest 56.6
Province of Varese 1,199 868,777 724.6

UNESCO World Heritage Sites


External links

Media related to Lombardy at Wikimedia Commons