Really, we’re talking about Lombardy—home to Milan—and the Lakes. The region is wealthy—rich, cultured, well dressed (and home to some of fashion’s most notable world-wide designers) and fat with recreation, regional cuisine, shopping and history. Milan offers a bustling city of industry mixed with quiet cobbled piazzas, though much of it reflects the former. It is an organized city that seems to get things done. Luckily, this often means “getting done” with dinner of Risotto Milanese, a saffron and seafood specialty, or asparagus, where this vegetable is prized and celebrated and prepared like nowhere else. It could also mean “getting done” with shopping for just about any well-crafted consumable item you might need, want, or otherwise find pleasing. As you exit the city the recipes become more humble and rustic, as does the pace of daily life. The region’s landscape offers many opportunities for activities such as water skiing, canoeing, hiking and observing. Many of the small cities surrounding Lake Como and other areas offer surprisingly unspoiled and undiscovered art and architecture that can be easily missed. Popping into an unassuming church can have rewards as big as some of the last remaining frescos from mostly bombed-out Renaissance treasures. Making your way up to the lakes bordering Switzerland can be an especially peaceful getaway and as such, it draws many Italians to its shores in summertime. In Lombardy, you can vacation like the locals.