North of Milan plains give way to rolling hills of the Brianza towards Como and the Varesotto towards Varese, areas where any rural charms have narrowly escaped being overrun by the sprawl of Lombardia megalopolis. Tourism and residential development have checked the growth of industry around the lakes of Como and Varese and along the shores of Maggiore and Lugano which Italy shares with Switzerland. But few vines remain on hillsides that were once known for light local wines: around Angera on Lake Maggiore, Bellagio at the fork of Lake Como, and Montevecchia in Brianza, whose vineyards are still sometimes noted as the closest to Milan. The Alps dominate the landscape above the lakes to the north and east of Como, where high valleys are better suited to making cheeses than wines. The one place where vineyards thrive in the north is on steep slopes along the Adda river near Sondrio in the Valtellina. Were it not for the perseverance of growers in that awe inspiring wine zone, viticulture in northern Lombardy would for all practical purposes be dead.