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Bergamo is a unique city in the Lombard region of northern Italy, nestled quaintly at the foothills of the Bergamo Alps. Originally founded over 2,000 years ago as a Celtic tribal settlement, and with a rich history of musical teachings over 800 years ago, this town boasts the best of both worlds; modern and historic.
The old part of the city, known as “Upper Town” still exists in the hills, where a tall wall once offering protection from invaders still stands. Spreading outside the walls into the plains surrounding them is the new city, which offers the accommodations and sights you’d expect from a modern Italian city.
Bergamo is rich in history, and a person could get happily lost for the day simply touring the winding streets of Upper Town. There is much to see and do, with offerings of local cuisine and Italian shopping at every corner.
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What to See in Bergamo
This is a collection of impressive paintings, including some from the notable Raphael, Botticelli, and Canaletto, amongst others. Originally began in the 1700’s by Count Giacomo Carrara, the collection has now grown to include over 1,800 pieces dating from the 19th century and prior.
Palazzo del Podesta
This small museum tells the compelling story of Bergamo’s Venetian age. The admission – which is very affordable – includes access to a tower with a breath-taking view of the city.
Basilica de Santa Maria Maggiore
This old church dates back to 1137 and contains architectural design elements from both Romanesque and Gothic stylings, as well as subtle influences from Tuscany.
Torre del Campanone
This tower stands 52 meters to offer an unrivalled panoramic view of the pre-Alps and Lombard plains surrounding Bergamo.
Franiacorta Wine Tasting Tour
Italy is well known for its wine, and this tour allows you to sample local varieties, including the infamous Bollicine and Satin. Including in the tour is a light lunch, and a tour of the vineyard.
La Rocca di San Vigilo
This beautiful panoramic spot will make overcoming your fear of heights well worth it, with views to absolutely take your breath away. The spot is reached by a tiny sky train, traveling just over the upper city for three minutes.
Things to Do in Bergamo
Just outside the town itself are ample opportunities to explore the plains and mountains which border Bergamo. Feel free to go hiking, biking, have a picnic, or simply find a beautiful spot to laze around. Look out over all this when you take a walk along the Venetian walls which still encompass the city. At the end of your day, relax at the Museum of Natural Science’s botanical garden, known as Orto Botanico.
Those traveling with gluten intolerances or Celiac will be thrilled to discover Bergamo has much to offer, thanks to the heavy use of polenta. Other popular ingredients included in local dishes include mushrooms, tomato, capers, wild game, pastas, salami, and cheeses. There is a wide variety of pizzas, and the specialty dish is casoncelli. With dinner, enjoy a rich Italian red wine, and dessert wouldn’t be complete without a cup of strong, Italian roast coffee.
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