Bergamo is one of those Italian cities that makes everyone who visits it fall in love. Located in a privileged area of the Italian Alps in the Lombardy region, the beautiful city of Bergamo has a bit of everything. Majestic lakes to admire in the surroundings, an immediate mountain to the city that dresses in light colors in winter welcoming thousands of visitors who enjoy snow sports and green and brown colors printed in their nature, and that is their modest climates in any season make traveling to Bergamo a great idea throughout the year.
What to see and what to do in a day in Bergamo, Italy.
Divided by the Venetian walls of medieval origin, Bergamo consists of the “Città Alta” precisely in the outer and elevated part and the “Città Bassa” that composes the historic heart of the city living with the modern residential growth of the area.
In the past, it has been conquered by Celts, Romans, Venetians, Napoleons and even Austrians, which gives it the privilege of having different types of architecture and art living in perfect harmony.
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Known as one of the busiest points of the Upper City, is the “Old Square”, which honors its name because it is surrounded by history made architecture; The Contarini Fountain, the Civic Tower, the Raggione and Nuovo Palaces are located near the square and offer an attraction of majestic beauty typical of Italian cities.
It is the perfect place to enjoy a good meal or coffee while its different buildings of stone and brick move it to other times and although the costs are somewhat high you should not miss the opportunity to meet the whim of visiting it and get lost among its picturesque streets full of tourists, troubadours, bars, libraries, restaurants and old facades.
Piazza del Duomo
Another popular place is Piazza del Duomo, it is located behind Piazza Vecchia but it is still part of the heart of the Città Alta. Here we find the Duomo (or Cathedral) of Bergamo, the Episcope and the Church of Santa María Maggiore. The latter is one of the most important monuments in the city. It was built in the year 1137 to thank the Madonna for its protection in the plague epidemic that hit Europe in the twelfth century.
An excellent visit for those interested in religious buildings, Romanesque and Venetian styles with materials such as marble, stones, quarries outside and fine wood and interior details. Access is free and free to know these buildings and you can even have a view from the top going up the Civic Tower that gives a 360 panoramic view of the entire square.
Polychrome marbles, biblical reliefs, Roman bas-reliefs, and an octagonal dome characterize this chapel that was dedicated to Bartolomeo Colleoni while being a proper mausoleum for this saint, it is considered one of the most beautiful buildings in the city.
The interior is as majestic as its exterior, here we find the main altar, reliefs that detail the life of Christ, statues, and lions of stone as well as the Colleoni tomb in a sarcophagus of artistic detail.
It is a must to visit, it is worth knowing a little more about the history of this warlord to see the construction with better detail and meaning. It can be visited at any time of the year but in bridges and holidays, the number of tourists increases considerably.
This tower gains its name because it is located at the intersection of two important streets (Gombito comes from the Latin word “compitum”, which can be interpreted as “crossing” or “division”).
In the past it served as a military tower, from here places such as Piazza Vecchia were monitored in the city center, later it went to the civil plane, it is built in stone and has a height of 52 meters, thus being the tallest structure in Bergamo.
The tower opens its doors in the spring and summer seasons but all year you can take advantage of it to see it outside while walking through the «Via de Gombito» with a picturesque style full of many souvenir stalls, patisseries, and cafes, you can get to the tower walking or by the funicular.
Basilica Santa María la Mayor
This building located in Piazza del Duomo is not far behind in beauty and complexity as the other attractions around it. The facade has Lombard-Roman styles, its marbles are carved in whimsical forms and its walls and columns are upholstered in Flemish and Florentine drawings.
It has a ceiling with good interior detail, the octagonal dome, biblical chapters on the walls worthy of the master painter Lorenzo Lotto as well as the altar or choir with impressive work in the background of marquetry (pieces of wood that together form an image).
It is a must-stop for all travelers and you need to completely surround it to appreciate the different views from the outside, the visiting hours are somewhat strict and it is advisable to visit it in the hours of less influx and with time so that there are not so many people and enjoy the Better visit.
At the top of the mount of Santa Eufemia, this military-type building is erected that served as the headquarters of the Italian troops and also a local jail, within “La Rocca” we find the church of Santa Eufemia, the Historical Museum of Bergamo and the Parque de la Remembrance
The park offers gardens, ups and downs, towers, balconies and even remnants of the two world wars such as canyons and armed cars. Its peculiar circular tower is the best point to appreciate the entire city and even the dawn of Milan.
Ideal to visit with family and children on a sunny day to enjoy lying on their lawn under the shadows offered by the woodland or walk alongside its walled system which also tells the place as “The fortress.”
The Medieval Citadel
Piazza Cittadella is one of the most interesting places of medieval times and is located in the mere center of Bergamo giving it a privileged position.
It comprises two imposing military palaces that now house both the Natural Science Museum and the Archaeological Museum that offer rooms with items from prehistory to medieval times as well as geological and paleontological remains from different parts of the world and even a very well preserved mammoth, both museums are open to the public all year round but their schedules change in winter and spring.
Around these museums, you can also see ancient stone towers, vaults, and pillars, cobbled and cobbled streets and a corridor with arches where they put stalls selling souvenir items.
San Vigilio Castle
This military construction of Bergamo has towers, canyons and embrasures are located on the top of a hill 500 meters high that bears his name and also inside houses a network of passageways and underground galleries.
To get here you can take the funicular for approximately 2 euros or make the journey through the stairs that demand some condition but that offer the advantage of saving the ticket, there is little left of the construction of the castle however it is worth visiting because the view it offers towards the pre-alps and the high city makes it worth all the effort, ideal to visit in the afternoon where you can lie on the grass and make a picnic surrounded by silence and landscape.
The lower town of Bergamo “Città Bassa”
This is the modern part of Bergamo, the avenues are wider and the constructions and houses are not as old compared to the high city, to move here you can do walking or taking the funicular, in fact, many of Bergamo’s inhabitants live in this area.
Its main attractions are the Palace of Justice as well as the palace of the Italian banking, the chamber of commerce, the Piazza Dante and the Pinacoteca of the Carrara Academy, the latter very visited presenting more than 1700 paintings by different artists.
It is advisable to visit it in the morning or afternoon and walk indistinctly through its streets, the stay can last in about four or five hours, and on Sundays, there are usually small local markets that offer products of the region and various items, there are also shopping centers such as “Porta Nuova” open any day of the week.
What to see near Bergamo and surroundings
This “s” shaped lake and feeding on the Oglio River rests in a valley where the pre-alpine mountains are erected, which gives it an enormous natural beauty despite being close to the industrialized areas.
Also known as Lago Sebino is the fourth largest lake in Italy, and is located in the region of Lombardy, it has about six towns and two small islands in the private domain. It can be reached by car, train or bicycle from Milan or Bergamo which is only an hour away.
This place offers plenty of activities and attractions for all types of visitors who want to spend a good weekend, riding a motorboat, kayaking or sailing through its waters is the main thing, hiking and mountain biking are also the most chosen among the tourists to spend energy.
But if you prefer a place to rest, relax and get to know it little by little, then stay in the right place; Iseo, Monte Isola, Pisogne and Sarnico have different things to visit, such as old hulls and medieval buildings, small castles, beautiful historical centers, museums and even a green oasis in the middle of this aquifer.
The dining options are varied and good, near there are vineyards, goat cheeses and without forgetting, of course, its fresh fish such as Palmerino or Farra in any of its inns or restaurants at the foot of the riverbank.
San Pellegrino Terme
At half an hour from the city of Bergamo is this town called Al Pellegrino specialized in rest at its highest level, as it has an attraction that few could resist: A center with hot springs, elegant and spa areas.
The “belle epoque” is the way we live here, since the beginning of the 90s, the spirit of the place is to offer eternal rest of the highest quality. Casino, party halls, hot springs or pools, and hotels decorated with first-class materials such as marble, artistic glass, and mosaics in perfect communion with all the avant-garde infrastructure.
The visit to this place can be a bit expensive if you want to enjoy it to the fullest, it is the best destination to spend a weekend or even whole weeks that will be worth every euro invested. Even the site has just undergone a remodeling of more than 200 million euros that embellish it more in its designs and thus offering better quality services.
The quality and cleanliness of its waters are not only used for reasons of relaxation and recreation but also for medicinal purposes fighting stomach diseases and of course, its use to bottle for sale to the whole world, this is where the so famous drinks of slightly gasified water brand S. Pellegrino.
The site added to the list of World Heritage Sites by UNESCO as “an exceptional example of the phenomenon of working people, the most complete and best-preserved in southern Europe.”
This small town has its origins in the cotton industry, and it is that a man named Crespi was the one who created a complete place not only to work but to settle and live there. Factories, houses, schools, a castle, churches, hospitals, and even a pantheon would be part of the system that even preceded what the government itself could offer.
The employer, as well as the workers and their families, were then established in this town that was governed mainly by the demands of the company but at the same time had already established a way of life typical of any other community.
What impresses here is its magnificent state of conservation as well as buildings that any other people would envy. Medieval and English- style architectures can be found here, even in this place, it was where the electrical service to the public was installed rather than anywhere else in Italy.
The factory operations ended in 2004 however the town is still inhabited and with open arms for all public to visit. To get there it is necessary to take the land route from Bergamoat just thirty minutes or the train with a duration of one hour, you can also make the trip from Milan on the same means of transport with a little more time to arrive.
This lake of glacial origin is one of the deepest in Europe (over 400 meters) and the third-largest in Italy after the Garda and Maggiore. Its beauty is due to the privileged position in the middle of alpine mountains that give it that characteristic of many Italian lakes, combined with a temperate climate typical of the Mediterranean that gives the opportunity to be visited practically at any time of the year.
Among its attractions we find villages on its shore with pleasant peculiarities, Nesso, for example, is a hamlet located almost capriciously in a tense terrain and also a stream flows in the middle of it, making a small waterfall that flows into the lake and a small stone bridge to observe it better.
Varena another set of houses that seems from afar as a miniature town because the magnitude of its rocks behind makes it look like a point in the middle of nowhere. Its picturesque little streets combined with colorful and well-maintained facades make this place a charm. There are more villages at the foot of the lake such as Bellagio with a stately style or Menaggio located in the center of the lake and the main crossing of boat travelers.
The city of Como, which is the capital of the region, offers points of interest such as a castle, museums, cathedral, towers, and bridges in medieval style; It is a mandatory stop if you have more days available when visiting the lake.
What to eat in Bergamo; typical dishes
The gastronomy of Bergamo, as in all of Italy, is very select and throughout the city, we can find restaurants and places to eat really well because the products of the region are fresh, well cared for and at a reasonable price.
His best-known dish is the Casoncelli di Bergamo that is ravioli with a meat and cheese filling, accompanied by fruits such as grapes and pears, this is the food that has brought his cuisine to international fame.
The most widely used culinary ingredient in the region is the already known polenta, which is yellow cornmeal and is used in many other dishes such as in the “polenta e uccelli”, which are small roasted birds pierced with a shaped stick of skewer accompanied with this prepared flour.
Among the most precious are sausages and meats such as sausages, sausages, bacon, and other cured meats; Black truffles of different types that occur in the region at different times of the year as well as its large variety of cheeses made mostly by hand such as Branzi, Agri, Tallegio, Caprini among many more.
Their desserts are Donizetti and Donizzeti cake and Pan di Spagna, the area is also a honey and wine producer, offering red, white and muscat wines.