All the information to discover the village of Bergamo Città Alta: what to see, how to get around and how to get there, with photos and details.
Sometimes one feels the need to travel far to discover bewitching glimpses of paradise, lands rich in history, culture, colors and esoteric flavours. Yet, in most cases, we travelers tend to forget that our Italy, the beautiful peninsula that stands out in the heart of the Mediterranean, is capable of offering unique and enchanting villages.Bergamo Upper Town(click here to see the Gallery) belongs, without ifs and buts, to one of these masterpieces. Located in the heart of Lombardy, about an hour's drive from the big Milan, the city ofBergamoit is known to most for its famous Orio al Serio airport and for the even more famous shopping center (point of reference for the outlets of all time). And yet, a few steps away from these two cult attractions, there is a village that deserves much more than a quick, distracted ride.
WHAT TO SEE IN BERGAMO UPPER CITY
Bergamo Città Alta stands out above Bergamo Bassa and can be easily reached or on foot, along the road that runs alongside themedieval walls which have become a World Heritage Site, or by bus (leaving from the airport and railway station) and the funicular. Nicknamed as the "city of the thousand”, Bergamo has a great history behind it, especially in relation to the period of the Risorgimento (there were many people from Bergamo who took part in Giuseppe Garibaldi's expedition of the Thousand) and theVenetian domination(under the Republic of Leo). The Upper Town, surrounded by ramparts that were erected during the Venetian domination, has the advantage of being a completely intact historic center and entirely surrounded by walls.
Everything revolves aroundOld Square, where thePalace of Reason, The Civic Tower(the big bell which still today, at 10pm, tolls with the 100 strokes that once announced the closing of the gates at night) and theContarini fountain. The Piazza Vecchia also overlooks theNew Palacewith inside the Angelo Mai civic library. Behind the Palazzo della Ragione there are other great jewels: theBasilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, with the next to itBaptisteryerected by Giovanni da Campione; TheCathedral of Sant'Alessandro; the Colleoni Chapel. The passage from Piazza Vecchia to the Basilica area takes place through the loggia of the Palazzo della Ragione: pay attention to the floor as theancient sundialof the city!
Walking along via del Gombito, which then becomes via Bartolomeo Colleoni up to the famousClock tower, you will pass in front of typical shops, cafes and real "pieces" of history. It is along this picturesque artery, which begins in Piazza del Mercato delle Scarpe (where the Città Bassa funicular is located) and ends in Piazza della Cittadella, that theGombito Towernext to which you will also find theAncient wash house. From here the various paths branch off that lead to other places of interest. At the end of via della Rocca (immediately on the right as soon as you get off the Città Bassa funicular) you will find theFortress of Bergamo, with the Historical Museum inside and the Parco delle Rimembranze at the foot. It is a symbolic place of the city, of strong historical value, as it was erected in honor of the Fallen for the Fatherland. Along via Arena, on the other hand, (immediately to the left as soon as you get off the Città Bassa funicular) is theDonizetti Museumwhich contains memorabilia of the Italian composer from Bergamo Gaetano Donizetti. At the end of via Solata (the street following that of the Rocca), you will find theformer convent of San Francescowhich houses the Historical Museum of Bergamo and the Library.
The Civic Museum and the Archaeological Museum open instead in theCitadel Square, at the end of via Colleoni, where Palazzo Roncalli and the Clock Tower are also located. Finally, a little further on stands Porta Sant'Alessandro, next to which stands the third and last stage of the funicular (San Virgilio). Finally, among the other places that, in my opinion, absolutely deserve to be seen are theSant'Agostino Parkand, a little further on, theCarrara Academy, a museum containing 1800 paintings including those by the likes of Botticelli, Raphael, Bellini and Pisanello.
HOW TO GET
Bergamo is located inLombardy, about an hour's drive from Milan, and can be easily reached:
- in car(Turin-Venice exit from the A4 motorway)
- in train(there are frequent connections with Milan and Brescia, the service is managed by Trenitalia)
- in plane (Orio Al Serio airport is 5 km from the city centre).
Once in Bergamo you can reach the Upper Town in different ways. If you are by car, you can leave your vehicle in the large car park located near the "Città Alta" funicular and then use thefunicular service(there are three stops: Upper Town/Lower Town/San Virgilio). If you arrive by train, you have two solutions: take the bus that takes you directly to the Upper Town or walk along Viale Vittorio Emanuele (the road that passes through the center of Bergamo - about 15/20 minutes on foot) and then take the funicular High City. You can also decide to continue on foot and skirt the Venetian walls (via delle Mura) enjoying the magnificent panorama over the entire city. If you land by plane at Orio al Serio, you can instead take thebus(line 1 and 1) which includes, among the stops, both the station and the Upper Town.
The Venetian walls of Bergamo have becomeWorld Heritage Site. They are 5.3 kilometers long and have a minimum height of 10 meters and a maximum of over 21 meters. Going through them, you will find 5 majestic gates (San Lorenzo, Sant'Agostino, San Giacomo, Sant'Alessandro and Porta del Soccorso), 2 powder magazines, 14 bulwarks, 2 gunboats (open to the public) and 2 platforms! The walls also boast agreat biodiversityas they host Mediterranean species (for example capers), alpine (silver cinnamon), woodland (primroses) and various ferns.