Why Not Choose… Bergamo?
Nestled between the Alps, Milan and the great lakes, Bergamo is a picturesque mountain village in the north of Italy, in the Lombardy region. It has two centres: the Città Alta (upper town) and the Città Bassa (lower town), connected by a funicular. The Città Alta is the historic heart of Bergamo, home to the old centre and remarkable monuments. Enjoy the charms of this fascinating mediaeval city, with its cobbled streets and 5km of defensive walls. The more modern Città Bassa contains the Via 20 Settembre shopping area, but also churches, 16th and 18th century palaces, and the famous Donizetti Theatre.
A Historical, Architectural and Cultural Wonder
Whether you are staying for a weekend or longer, Bergamo is the ideal destination for history and architecture lovers.
If you are a fan of the mediaeval period, take a stroll in the upper town. Discover the magnificent Renaissance Piazza Vecchia with its many cafes and the Santa Maria Maggiore basilica with its multicoloured marble. Explore the backstreets, shops and restaurants, or even the Palazzo del Podesta Museum. Don't forget to walk around the walls and admire the La Rocca fortress. Take the funicular or climb right to the top of the Caduti tower to admire the town from above. Don't leave the old centre without watching the sunrise over the lower town: a breathtaking experience!
The modern, residential lower town is just as interesting. Between visiting museums, you can enjoy Italian life on a trendy café terrace, or at the table of one of the many restaurants. All year round, the Donizetti Theatre also offers numerous operas, ballets and concerts to surprise and delight.
Natural Treasures for Outdoor Activities
If you love the great outdoors, Bergamo has even more charms to offer you! The great plains of Lombardy stretch out to the south, whilst the valleys in the north continue as far as the Alpine foothills and the Bergamasque Alps. To the east, you can enjoy majestic lakes.
The main valleys of Val Seriana and Val Brembana have many ski slopes, as well as a vast network of ski lifts to take you to other areas. However, these valleys don't only come alive in winter! In summer and autumn, the seasons paint the foliage different colours, and the forests are wonderful for walking.
Bergamo is also great for lakes! Visit the small Lake Endine to discover its diverse fauna, woodlands and reeds, then head for the more majestic Lake Iseo, where you can enjoy boat trips, water sports and remarkable local villages.
Top 10 Places to Visit in Bergamo and Lombardy
The old centre (upper town): stroll through the alleyways or stop off for a coffee on a terrace while you admire the old centre.
The Carrara Museum (lower town): an interesting chronological and themed tour on the Renaissance, especially recommend for Italian art enthusiasts.
The modern and contemporary art gallery (GAMeC): temporary and permanent collections of works by grand masters (audio guide available).
The Donizetti Theatre (lower town): spend an unforgettable evening at a truly sublime theatre. Opera, ballet or concert: the choice is yours!
The St Thomas Chapel in San Bartolomeo: one of Lombardy's gems off the beaten track! This Romanesque chapel boasts an unusual round shape. Its numerous small openings create an impressive play of light inside the building.
The village of Clusone: discover a charming little mountain village, its Santa Maria Assunta basilica and its museum-church.
Lake Iseo: perfect for a lakeside walk or a little boat trip, or maybe a visit to the village of Pisogne…
La Brugherata vineyard in Scanzorosciate: Lombardy's largest vineyard. Not to be missed: the place to try excellent wines – perhaps the rare and indulgent Moscato di Scanzo (the “wine of meditation”) – or admire the 2000 olive trees. Why not bring back a bottle of olive oil?
The San Pellegrino thermal baths (40 mins from Bergamo): relax at an exceptional site in the heart of the Alps. On offer: spa, massages, saunas, outdoor baths… It even has a friendly bistro for food.
Milan (just 50 km from Bergamo): make the most of your stay in Bergamo to explore one of Italy's great cultural centres.
Bursting with sunshine and taste, Italian food offers a range of flavours to suit everyone. Sample authentic pizzas, panini, ravioli and pasta (don't forget to try the local pasta: casoncelli), as well as charcuterie, cheese and risotto. The dessert offering is sure to make you melt, with delicious stracciatella ice cream (invented in Bergamo in 1961), home-made tiramisu, zabaione, or even… polenta e osei: a small, yellow genoese with marzipan and chocolate mousse! And to drink, we highly recommend tasting the regional wine, Valcalepio Rosso. After your meal, sit out on a café terrace, close your eyes and savour the taste of a real ristretto…
March: BFM (Bergamo Film Meeting)
May-June: Piano City For Peace
- Donizetti Opera International Festival
- Mantua Literature Festival
- Mille Miglia, Brescia–Rome–Brescia classic car race
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