Italy, Lombardy: The Best of Bergamo
Bergamo, Where is?
Bergamo is a town close to Milan. It is 50 km far away from the Lombard capital easily reachable by train or by bus.
At 10 kilometers away from this ancient city, there is the airport "Il Caravaggio" better known as "Milano - Orio al Serio". Here often land airplanes from all over Europe. Ryanair, the popular low cost airline, has several daily flights to this city.
If you are NOT European, you can land at the airport "Milan Malpensa" or "Linate" and, from there, take a bus to the city.
Bergamo: Upper town "Piazza Vecchia"
Walking through the narrow streets of Bergamo "Città Alta" Upper city
Reach to "Città Alta" is easy. You can:
- take a bus,
- take a walk through the old streets of pebbles and steps,
- take the funicular and enjoy the view.
Although the town is small, there are many things to see and restaurants with typical products to taste, but also shops, bakeries, bars and shops specializing in takeaway pizza.
Information office and hospitality of Bergamo:
There are two I.A.T (Informazioni Accoglienza Turisti) in Bergamo where I recommend you go to pick up brochures, maps etc ... They are both visible and easy to find.
Città Bassa/ Lower city (near the bus station, opposite the train station)
c/o Urban Center - Viale Papa Giovanni XXIII, 57
Opening time: From Monday to Thursday: 9.00-12.30/14.00-17.30 Friday, Sunday and public holidays: 9.00-17.30. Closed: 25 december and 1 January
Città Alta/Upper city (along the old medieval street, the main street of the upper town)
c/o Torre di Gombito - Via Gombito, 13
Every day: 9.00-17.30
Closed: 25 december (12.30-17.30) and 1 January (9.00-14.00)
8 Things to see:
1- Palazzo della Ragione (In Piazza vecchia)
Thirteenth-century building, it was the seat of the first city consuls. Closed on Monday. From Tuesday to Friday 9.30-17.30, Saturday and Sunday: 10.00-18.00.
2- Torre Civica (Civic Tower in Piazza Vecchia)
Known as "Campanone" (Big Bell) for its large bell that rings 180 times each evening. Closed on Monday. Summer hours until November: From Tuesday to Friday 9.30-18.00, Saturday, Sunday and Public Holidays: 9.30-20.00.
3- Basilica Santa Maria Maggiore (in Piazza Duomo)
A triumph of Baroque art filled with important works of art. NOTE: No visits are allowed during services. From Monday to Saturday 9.00-12.30/ 14.30-17.00, Sunday and Public Holidays: 9.00-13.00/ 15.00-18.00.
4- Cappella Colleoni (Colleoni Chapel in Piazza Duomo)
Masterpiece of the Lombardy Renaissance. It was commissioned by the Condottiero Bartolomeno Colleoni. Closed on Monday, Christmas and New Year. From Tuesday to Sunday 9.30-12.30/ 14.00-18.00.
5- Duomo (Cathedral)
Dedicated to St. Alexander, Saint patron of Bergamo, its underground passages preserve Roman remains. From Monday to Sunday 7.30-12.00/ 15.00-18.30,
6- Teatro sociale
A genuine gem, recently restored and reopened to the public but just during performances.
7- Castello San Vigilio (S. Vigilio Castle)
Set in the city heritage of the Parco dei Colli, the remains of this medieval castle can be visited. From Monday to Sunday 10.00-16.00 (in summer 18.00).
8- Casa Natale Donizetti (Donizetti's Birthplace)
In striking Borgo Canale lies the humble house where the Bergamask composer Gaetano Donizetti was born. From Monday to Friday guided tours with prior booking. Saturday and Sunday : 10.00-13.00/ 15.00-18.00.
Walking in the city
Here you can see: Civic tower, Palazzo della Ragione,
Here you can see: Basilica Santa Maria Maggiore, Cappella Colleoni, Cathedral (Duomo)
Here you can see: Donizetti's Birthplace
Here you can see: Teatro sociale
Lower town, shopping street
Mistery tour by night
Cultural Association that organizes city tours (by night) also in English with a small contribution of 13 Euros, for adults. You can write them to know if there are tours during your stay:
For information and booking a visit to the donizetti's birthplace : firstname.lastname@example.org
Fountain detail, Piazza Vecchia
Dishes to try in one of the many local restaurants. NOTE: Prices are displayed before entering the restaurant.
- Polenta (dish made of cornmeal. It is a side dish that ususally accompanies, roasts, mushrooms, rabbit meat and sausages.)
- Casoncelli (pasta filled with meat and cheese)
- Polenta e osei (typical cake shaped polenta)
- Cutting boards with salami, cheese and wine made by local farmers.
TIP: If you are looking for a quick lunch, you can stop in one of the many bakeries, pizzerias "take away" there are so many sweet and savory specialties to try.
Recently there is also a small shop (just opposite the funicular) where you can find cheap "Polenta dishes" (less than 10 Euros).
Typical dishes of the city
Every year in Bergamo, since 2003, plays an important and well-known international festival for lovers of science: BergamoScienza. During the event you can attend free lectures, panel discussions, exhibitions, interactive workshops, shows and more.
In 2015 the event will start on October
Get to the city walking along the old path
Visit the city: when
You can visit Bergamo "Città Alta" in every month of the year. It is a tourist town but is a northern Italy city: the winters are cold (temperatures can drop to zero degrees). it is better to arrange the trip in the months from March until late October.
Città Alta is a safe city, but like all tourist towns you must pay attention to people who get too close. Please, keep in sight backpacks and wallets. If possible, put the money and documents in a bum bag.
- Put money in different places: pockets, backpack, fanny pack ...
- Photocopy documents and leave them in a safe place (hotel...), or bring the documents copied with you and leave the originals in a safebox.
There are many accommodations in the city, and also B&B, apartments for rent...
I would recommend you staying in the upper town. Walking through the Mediaeval narrow streets at dusk, is very impressive and magical.