For more information on any of these amazing trips, please visit the Italian National Railway Foundation.
THE LARIO EXPRESS
Experience the magic of the Lario Express on board an authentic steam engine as it billows past the wonders to be found around Lake Como. It’s a unique chance to discover places of incredible beauty and immerse oneself in the authentic charm of the Lombardy heartlands. The train sets off from Milan’s central train station arriving at Como and Lecco via Lissone, Desio, Seregno, Cantù, Brenna, Anzano, Merone, Molteno and Casletto Rogeno.
This magical journey has captivated tourists from all over the world, adults and children alike, as they perch on the original wooden seats and enjoy the tranquillity of this extraordinary trip. The Lario express runs frequently throughout the year and passengers can sometimes visit the towns of Como and Lecco or opt for a ride on the historical steamboat “Concordia” which leaves from the stunning town of Bellagio on Lake Como.
One can visit Villa Olmo in the town of Como and wander around its parkland, enjoy Chilometro della Conoscenza Botanical Gardens in their full splendour, admire its monumental trees and visit Villa del Grumello. The spectacular botanical gardens link Villa Olmo and Villa del Grumello along a series of paths through their respective parks. The route is dotted with 18th century hothouses, chapels, lemon houses, works of art and botanical rarities. Our fittest excursionists can opt to head back to Milan along the bicycle path, a trip of around 50km, and witness the history of the region’s and of Lombardy’s county seat’s expansion.
THE SEBINO EXPRESS
Puffing out of Milan’s central station, this train heads towards Bergamo and the south-eastern banks of Lake Sebino: it arrives at Paratico Station, situated on the edge of the town center, facing its sister-town Sarnico on the opposite bank. Enjoy your day here immersed in nature and in the history of this place, visit the remains of the nearby Lantieri Castle and then head back to the Lake to savour its magical qualities and colours.
Once at Paratico visitors are spoilt for choice. As we find ourselves in eastern Fracciacorta territory there are four itineraries among the vineyards (the Wine Way). Those who would rather opt for a contemplative stroll can head to Mount Orfano past the grapevines and centuries-old olive groves to discover the Convent of the Most Holy Annunciation (Convento della Santissima Annunciata) which, since 1449, has been a spiritual place, rising up from the bond between architecture and nature, amidst the surrounding beauty and silence.
Another option is to head to The Natural Reserve “Torbiere del Sebino” which was declared a “wetland of international importance” and is surrounded by a bicycle path. It takes an estimated 30mins to reach from Paratico.
THE LAVENO EXPRESS
Experience the magic of the Laveno Express on board an authentic steam engine as it billows past the wonders to be found around Lake Maggiore. It’s a unique chance to discover places of incredible beauty and immerse oneself in the authentic charm of the Lombardy heartlands. The train sets off from Milan’s central train station arriving at Laveno Mombello via Rho, Busto Arsizio and Gallarate.
Lake Maggiore offers a very varied landscape: in the north are the floodplains of Ticino and Maggia, and beyond its banks, pastures and hills, woods and mountains abound. The Lario express runs frequently throughout the year and passengers can sometimes visit the towns of Laveno or opt for a ride on the historical steamboat “Piemonte” which leaves from the stunning town of Laveno and heads towards the Islands on Lake Maggiore.
There are eleven islands in the lake, the most famous, in the Borromee group, is Isola Bella (Beautiful Island) home to the 17th century Borromeo Palace and a magnificent terraced garden.
On arrival at Laveno visitors can opt to go for a ride along the charming bicycle lanes along the banks of the lake. The 42km loop around the lake starts at Laveno Mombello and joins the Laveno – Cittiglio and the Valtravaglia Valcuvia – Luino loops with national and provincial roads connecting the cycle/pedestrian lanes.
OTHER ITINERARIES TO DISCOVER THE LOMBARDY REGION
There are many more possibilities to discover the region and exclusive, tailor-made daytrips can be put together based on the client’s individual needs.
In order to smoothly and quickly reach these new destinations electric engines are used. The engines keep their charm thanks to their vintage livery and their first class carriages fitted with delightfully retro upholstered seats.
From Milan Central to Tirano: Tirano is an area known for its renowned shrine to the Madonna di Tirano and for being the terminus of the picturesque Tirano-St Moritz line
From Milan Central to Pavia: Pavia is known for the Certosa di Pavia a Renaissance monastery and complex, housing sculptures and frescos north of the city. The centuries-old University of Pavia in the city center houses a museum dedicated to the history of the university and scientific and medical equipment from the Middle Ages are on display. The university also has a splendid botanical gardens where roses and rare medicinal plants are grown.
From Milan Central to Cremona: The Stradivari Collection at the Violin Museum is testament to the city’s cultural heritage. Among the most unmissable sights are Cremona Cathedral in Piazza del Comune, with its Renaissance arch, the adjoining 8-sided baptistery and the Torrazzo Bell Tower set apart by its astronomical clock. The 13th century portico at Palazzo Loggia dei Militi (The Soldiers’ Loggia) houses the city emblem which is held by two figures of Hercules, the mythical founder of Cremona.
From Milan Central to Mantua: Manuta is notable for its Rennaisance architecture and buildings commissioned by the noble Gonzaga family. These include the Ducal Palace (Palazzo Ducale) with its Wedding Room (Camera degli Sposi), adorned with frescos by Andrea Mantegna. The Gonzagas also had Palazzo Te built, famous for its Room of the Giants (Sala dei Giganti) in which every surface is covered with images depicting mythological scenes.