Narrow streets, hundreds of cafes and small restaurants, plus music and the captivating architecture of the old town located on a hill. Here you can feel the real Italian atmosphere. An additional advantage of Bergamo is that you can get here from many Polish airports in just two hours. You can get tickets on promotions for even several dozen zlotys one way.
Bergamo is a small town in Lombardy in northern Italy. It is located close to popular Italian tourist destinations: Lake Garda and Como and Milan. But Bergamo itself is also interesting and worth visiting. The city is famous for its unique architecture, delicious cuisine and beautiful views. It’s worth going here, especially since the flights don’t cost a fortune (the cheapest ticket costs PLN 59 one way), and it’s much cheaper there than in nearby Milan. Bergamo will be a great choice for a several-day city break.
The city is divided into two parts: the newer one – Citta Bassa and the older one – Citta Alta. In each of them we will find something interesting, but most of the monuments worth seeing are located in the old town, in Citta Alta, which was the seat of the Lombard princes, a rich city where numerous treasures were kept. Many of them can still be admired today.
City of churches
Citta Bassa, or the Lower Town, is considered the more modern part of the city, although it is almost a hundred years old. This is where you can find, among others: railway station, bus station and numerous public transport stops.
The main axis of the Lower Town is marked by Viale Papa Giovanni XXIII. It runs from the station, straight up the Citta Alta hill. On this street there are the most recognizable monuments of Bergamo, such as the Porta Nuova gate, the partisan monument Monumento Al Partigiano, Chiostro di Santa Marta, the square with the historic building of Centro Piacentiniano and the Teatro Gaetano Donizetti theater, and the church of Chiesa Prepositurale di Santa Maria Immacolata delle Grazie.
Porta Nuova is also located here – these are two twin buildings standing parallel on both sides of the street, resembling ancient temples. The buildings create a kind of gate. They were built in the 19th century on the site of the medieval city walls, which were destroyed in 1901. The new center of Bergamo was completed over 20 years later in 1927.
A little further you can admire the church with a green dome, Chiesa Prepositurale di Santa Maria Immacolata delle Grazie, on the top of which there is a golden figurine – it is a copy of La Madonnina from the dome of the Milan cathedral – and monuments: the partisan monument, the Victor Emmanuel II Monument and the Monumento a Francesco Nullo .
Numerous buildings from the 19th century have been preserved on Via Sentierone and Via Torquato Tasso. While walking through the Lower Town, it is also worth visiting the church of Santo Spirito with paintings by Lorenzo Lotto or San Bartolomeo, which has a beautiful altar from the 16th century, and visiting the Dionizetti Theater.
Medieval atmosphere and beautiful panorama
Those who want to feel the atmosphere of the Middle Ages should visit Citta Alta. This is where numerous monuments and the historical center are located. You can get there from the Lower Town on foot or enter using a funicular, i.e. a small wagon on rails (the cost is about 2 euros).
In the Old Town you can feel the typical Italian atmosphere. Most of the streets are closed to traffic, and cafes and bars are eagerly visited not only by tourists, but above all by locals who discuss at the tables and offer advice on the dishes served by the restaurants. There are so many pubs in the old town that you can feel the smell of aromatic coffee and fresh pizza in the air.
The most popular place in the Upper Town of Bergamo is Piazza Vecchiato. The main monuments and restaurants are located in the square. The square is also dominated by the Companone Tower, in the shape of a rectangle, which is the tallest tower in the city and measures 54 m. The tower takes its name from the large bell that can be heard every day at 10 p.m. (it rings 180 times) to symbolically remind people of the obligation to extinguish the fire. lights and closing the four gates to the city. At noon the bell rings 60 times. In the morning, with his blows, he announces the beginning of the City Council meeting, which falls at 9 a.m. There is also a museum inside the tower (ticket costs from 4 to 8 euros).
It is also worth visiting Palazzo della Ragione and Palazzo del Podesta. On the opposite side there is the cathedral in Bergamo (Cattedrale di Sant’Alessandro Martire) with an unusual dome, and nearby the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, whose facade somewhat resembles the basilica in Florence. However, in the Palazzo della Ragione, under the arcades, there is a unique sundial indicating astronomical noon. Finally, it is worth taking a walk along the walls of the old town and admiring the panorama of the entire Bergamo from there.
However, in Bergamo, man does not live by churches alone. Another well-known street also runs from the intersection at Porta Nuova, namely Via XX Settembre, which is a shopping street with boutiques of famous brands. This is the main shopping avenue in the Lower Town of Bergamo. There are well-known brands, unique boutiques, but also chain stores and restaurants. It’s worth walking down this street, even if you don’t plan on shopping, because there are unique tenement houses here.
Bergamo is not only monuments and interesting buildings. There are also plenty of greenery, parks and gardens that cannot be missed. The first public garden in the city was created over two hundred years ago. It was called the “Terrace of a Hundred Trees” (Spalto delle Cento piante) because of the several dozen impressive chestnut trees growing there. Another place worth visiting is the garden of the former monastery of Sant Agostino (now the seat of the university). Although there are no unique plant species here, it is worth visiting due to the view of the Alps and the hill on which the fortress is located.
It is also worth visiting Suardi Park, which was built and designed as a private park of a noble family. Nowadays, anyone can visit it and relax here, for example for a picnic. Noble parks also include Marenzi and Caprotti.