When the "Circuito Città d’Arte della Pianura Padana" contacted us to write about the place we come from, we felt utterly proud to be chosen as ambassador of Lodi despite living so faraway. This association promotes the small towns of the Po Valley and today we are in charge of leading you through the streets of Lodi, the land where Damiano and I were born and raised. The city of Lodi boasts remarkable international excellences that we are really proud of.
Very well connected and located at just 20 Km from Milan, Lodi gives to tourists many reasons to spend there a day or a weekend, probably going back home with loads of typical products that will not be easily forgotten.
THE FESTIVAL OF ETHICAL PHOTOGRAPHY
Lodi is the city of the prestigious International Festival of Ethical Photography, which every October offers a vibrant, world-renowned exhibitions program.
For the occasion, some galleries, cloisters and palaces open their doors to the visitors who have in this way the opportunity to enjoy also glimpses of the prestigious Lombardy architecture, such as in the former Church of St. Christopher or at Palazzo Barni. Not to mention that, set in the heart of the Po Valley, Lodi in autumn can offer very poetic settings, where the mist and the smell of roasted chestnuts fill the air.
THE TEMPLE OF THE CROWNED VIRGIN
Lodi is also the city of the Tempio dell’Incoronata (Temple of the Crowned Virgin), a masterwork of the Lombard Renaissance that leaves anyone who sets foot in it speechless. Built in front of a house of ill repute, from the outside it has a sturdy and sober design, while its interior is jaw-dropping: it has an octagonal plan, its walls are covered with paintings and frescoes that wrap visitors with an astonishing sequence of blue and gold. A great tribute to the Virgin.
For its undisputed beauty, the Tempio dell’Incoronata is the most famous building of Lodi but, walking in the city centre, there is much more to be enjoyed.
Piazza della Vittoria, the main square overlooked by the Dome, is the centre of the urban life and the symbol of its industrious identity, with lots of picture-perfect corners. Piazza Broletto, with its ancient baptismal font, is the coziest and is also where the Tourist Office is located. The Church of San Filippo and that of St. Francis offer other two beautiful views.
In the city centre there are many listed buildings of great artistic value, like the Palazzo di San Cristoforo or the Palazzo Villani, but we cannot fail to mention the two crown jewels of the contemporary Lodi: the BPL offices by Renzo Piano and the Vegetal Cathedral by Giuliano Mauri.
THE VEGETALE CATHEDRAL
The Vegetable Cathedral by Giuliano Mauri is a symbol of hope and warning for the future. Although Mauri died in 2009, he left his powerful message to his hometown: the Vegetable Cathedral says that we absolutely need to listen our own land and to let it live, breathe, be.
Built with local materials on the left bank of the Adda River (a 15-minute walk from the railway station), each of the 108 columns is made of woven wood and in its centre hosts a small oak. In twenty years, the flow of life will transform this place of local culture and encounter into something completely different, that will have integrated man's art to that of nature without the latter being hurt by the first.
THE CRUISE ON THE RIVER
If you decide to visit Lodi in summer, we recommend you to take a small cruise on the Adda. Lodi province is a land of large plains and quiet rivers: do not go away without having enjoyed their slow flow and the sound of the cicadas singing on the river banks. Make sure you have a mosquito repellent with you (we are in a former marshland, after all) and head to one of the local piers. The one in town is in Isola Bella and, if the weather is good enough, from here the boats sail up to October.
MUSEUMS: PAOLO GORINI ANATOMIC COLLECTION
Scientist of Piedmontian origins but of Lodigian adoption, Paolo Gorini went down to history for his secret techniques to embalm corpses and preserve body parts. His collection of anatomical parts is housed inside the Old Hospital (Ospedale Vecchio, Via Agostino Bassi), in the beautiful 15th Century Cloister of the Pharmacy. The story of Paolo Gorini is so fascinating that caught the attention of the MaGestic Film, a production company that is filming a documentary on this scientist of great charisma. To enable Paolo Gorini to work properly, back in the days the city of Lodi built the first municipal crematory of Europe in the small cemetery of Riolo.
THE ERBOLARIO AND THE AMAZING LOCAL PRODUCES
Lodi is home to the Erbolario, a wordl-renowned eco-friendly company that has been producing excellent cruelty-free body care products since 1978 in accordance with the rules of the best artisan herbalists. Pop into their main shop in Via Cavour 5 to find out, if you haven’t yet, the delicate fragrances and the elegant packages of this top Italian brand.
But you can not leave Lodi without try the local cuisine and produces, because they are utterly pleasing to the tongue. We have prepared an address book for all the foodies who read us: you can download it at the link here below. Some shops and restaurants are in town, but many others are located in the surroundings and you will need a car to reach them. This is a chance to explore a land full of farmhouses, dairies and trattorias that in some cases (e.g. Caseificio Angelo Croce) have an international reputation.
There are some products such as the Pannerone, the “Raspadura” and the Biscuits of Codogno that can be found only here, and hopefully you will enjoy them enough to forgive the locals for all the shopping malls and warehouses with which they have wasted part of their beautiful countryside.
DOWNLOAD: Lodi Address book for foodies
This article is promoted in collaboration with the Circuito Città d’Arte della Pianura Padana
More glimpses of the Lodi province in our Video: