The city of Bergamo attracts a huge number of tourists from all over the world every day. Just 50 km from Milan, in the picturesque foot of the Alps, you will be able to experience the atmosphere of the Middle Ages, enjoy walks through the narrow streets, see the breathtaking panorama, see a lot of attractions, as well as taste delicious cuisine in one of the local trattorias of the city. Bergamo is a great idea for a mini-trip near Milan, which is easy to reach not only by car, but also by train from the center of Milan. So, tips on what to see, how to get there and where to eat in Bergamo in my mini-browse.
What to look at in Bergamo in one day
To begin with, Bergamo is divided into two cities: Upper Città Alta and Lower Città Bassa. The upper city of Bergamo is one big attraction. Interestingly, the old town, located 280 m above sea level on a high hill, is completely surrounded by the Venice Walls, which are recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
How to get from Milan to Upper Bergamo
Trains run daily from the Milano Centrale or Milano Porta Garibaldi to Bergamo. You can view the schedule and buy tickets in advance on the official website or directly at the ticket office. It’ll take about an hour, you’ll be in the Lower Town when you get there. You can get to the Upper Town by ATV bus number 1 and cable car. The Old Town is soaked in the spirit of the Middle Ages that it is here that important sights are concentrated and deserve special attention. The bus ticket is valid for 90 minutes for all types of public transport, including the funicular. Tickets can be bought at kiosks, bars, self-service machines and at the ticket office. Bus stop number 1 is opposite the railway station, you need to drive about 5 stops, then as soon as the bus turns right, you can get off to continue your journey on the funicular.
Sightseeing in Bergamo
One day in Bergamo is enough to see the Old Town and climb up to the Castle. So, what attracts hundreds of tourists to Bergamo?
The main attractions are located on the most famous and most visited square of Piazza Vecchia.
In the centre of the square is the Contarini Fountain. The sphinxes, which are chained together, surround a bowl of water. The fountain was presented to the city in 1780 by the Mayor of Contarini on the occasion of his resignation. Today, the Contarini Fountain has an aesthetic function, but it was previously built as a source of water for domestic use.
Palazzo della Ragione
The old Palazzo della Ragione court building with its gothic windows, built in the 12th century, which used to be the political centre of the city, is a must on your Bergamo itinerary. Please note that outside the building underneath the colonnade you can see the hand of the sundial, built more than 200 years ago, which still shows the time of day and date accurately with the help of sunlight.
Torre del Campanone
The bell tower of Campanone, built between the 11th and 12th centuries, is considered to be the highest in the city. Every evening at 22.00, the bell tower hit 100 times, warning of the curfew, after which four city entrances were closed until the morning. It is a tradition to ring bells to this day. The tower is adjoined by a town hall, which now houses the Bergamo History Museums. Today, the tower is 52 meters high and can even be reached by elevator.
Duomo di Sant’Alessandro and Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica
On the Duomo Square is the Duomo di Sant’Alessandro Cathedral, dedicated to the patron saint of Bergamo. Next to the cathedral is the basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, built in the XII century. Its peculiarity is the absence of a central entrance and facade. There are 2 side doors, the Red Lion Entrance and the White Lion Entrance. Each faith is guarded by stone lions of their multicolored marble, and the lava decoration of the basilica is a magnificent Romanesque portal.
The Colleoni Chapel next to the Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica is considered to be a real gem of Bergamo, a true masterpiece of the Renaissance in Lombardy. Its facade is decorated with rhombuses of white, pink and black flowers. This chapel was erected as a mausoleum of commander Bartolomeo Colleoni, inside there is a statue and sarcophagus of Colleoni.
Opposite the Cathedral is the Baptistery, built in 1340.
Where to eat in Bergamo
Make sure you don’t miss out on the traditional meals at the beautiful Parietti trattoria. For its excellent quality of dishes, a wide variety of menus, as well as low prices trattoria enjoys popularity among tourists and locals. Here you can taste real homemade pasta, various types of polenta, meat dishes and traditional cheeses, wine and homemade desserts. Bergamo’s crown dish – a special kind of ravioli “Casoncelli alla Bergamasca” – is fantastic here.
Trattoria Parietti is only a 15-minute walk from the city centre, so I suggest you book a table in advance.
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