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By Marcus Smith
Many visitors to northern Italy visit the region of Lombardy, and particularly the lakes. The best known of these lakes is called lake Como, and is usually explored from the town of Como itself. The lake is extensive, and in a lovely setting surrounded by mountains. All leisure activities are close to hand, both hiking and cycling in the surrounding area and water-based activities on the lake itself.
During your visit we suggest you take a trip about 30 kilometers to the north to visit the region around the small town of Chiavenna. Less well known than the main lake resorts, it has an interesting old town to discover and there are several fascinating and impressive natural highlights to discover nearby.
Within the narrow medieval streets of the town you will discover a few features, including the Saint Lawrence church, with origins dating back to the 5th century and a small castle with two towers.
There is also a park, called Paradise Park with something for everyone - plant lovers and archaeologists will be fascinated by the plants and ancient quarry workings, while others will simply enjoy the lovely views from the park.
The real highlight of a visit is the town itself, which provides a traditional Italian experience for the tourist. Be sure to find time to relax, explore slowly, and to enjoy lunch in a local restaurant - one traditional dish you might enjoy here is chestnut dumplings in chicken broth.
After exploring Chiavenna you should allow time to explore the surrounding area, in particular the region called Marmitti dei Giganti, which translates as 'cooking pots for giants'. Over many thousands of years the fast flowing water here, and the whirlpools it creates, have carved many remarkable deep holes in the rock into which the water goes swirling down. This curious feature arises because a result of the amount of water coming from melting snow in the surrounding mountains, and the unusually soft rock.
When you have finished staring down into the holes perhaps you might like to look upwards, since the cliffs and rocks here are a haven for rock climbers of all standards. If you are not a climber you will still find plenty to enjoy in this scenic region with its mountainous backdrop - be sure to bring your camera!
Learn more about Chiavenna and the highlights in the surrounding region at our Italy travel guide to help you make the most of your time when you visit Lombardy - or other regions of Italy.
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