Bergamo Alta

Bergamo Alta

The imposing, rampart-like city walls with their decorated gates ought to be off-putting, but instead invite you in. They form the boundary of Città Alta (“Upper City”), the ancient part of the city perched on a hill. While I was here I discovered that Bergamo dates back to the Etruscan period, around 3300BC.

Piazza Vecchia e Cappella Colleoni

Piazza Vecchia e Cappella Colleoni

My girlfriend Sandra and I were strolling along a cobblestone street when suddenly Piazza Vecchia opened up before our eyes. One of Italy’s most beautiful squares, it’s what the Bergamaschi consider one of the most representative postcards of their city.

Sandra spotted another building by the church, the Cappella Colleoni – tomb of the noble Bergamese mercenary leader Bartolomeo Colleoni, whose strategic abilities and remarkable bravery led him to be named captain of all military forces of the Republic of Venice.

Funicolare

Funicolare

On the way down to the lower, modern town we experienced the funicular railway, similar to a cable car, but on rails. Through its windows we witnessed a remarkable five-minute descent, the modern part of the city spread out beneath us, coloured in shades of orange and distinguished by linear, geometric shapes – just as the great architect Piacentini intended.

Gamec

Gamec
Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art - Via San Tomaso, 53 24121 Bergamo

As we were not in the mood for old master paintings, we decided to pay a visit to the Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Arts (www.gamec.it) across the street – whoever would have guessed there were so many works of modern art in Bergamo? Here, we took in world-renowned paintings by Kandinsky, Boccioni, Balla, De Chirico and Morandi and many others.

Donizetti

Donizetti
Teatro Gaetano Donizetti - Piazza Cavour, 15 Bergamo

Meanwhile, I went off to look around the large pedestrian street that locals call “Il Sentierone”, and have a coffee outside at one of the many cafés facing the Donizetti Theatre (www.gaetano-donizetti.com), where they were currently staging one of the world’s most famous operas, Giuseppe Verdi’s La Traviata.

Accademia Carrara

Accademia Carrara
Piazza Giacomo Carrara, 82 24121 Bergamo

After getting our Italian shopping fix in downtown Bergamo, we headed off to visit the local art gallery of Accademia Carrara (www.accademiacarrara.bergamo.it). According to the guide, this incredible gallery has more than 1,800 paintings on permanent display, including important pieces by Botticelli, Mantegna, Raphael and Canaletto.

More suggestions on tourism & history

Bergamo alta mura Venetian walls Rocca di San Vigilio La rocca di San Vigilio
Romanesque Romanesque
Palacreberg PalaCreberg
Via Pizzo della Presolana
24125 Bergamo
Teatro sociale Teatro Sociale
Via Bartolomeo Colleoni, 4
Bergamo
Greppi Sala Greppi
Via Giuseppe Greppi, 6
24122 Bergamo
Sala Piatti Sala Piatti
Via S. Salvatore, 6
Bergamo

Arli Hotel

Arli Hotel
Some views of Arli Hotel

After such a full day, we were starting to feel a little tired, and decided to head back to our city centre hotel at Porta Nuova. Sandra had booked a double room at Arli Hotel Business & Wellness, in particular for its brand new spa. No sooner had we stepped in, than she suggested we deserved a relaxing time in the hydropool, followed by a steam bath for me and a massage for her!

Arli Hotel - Business&Wellness
www.arli.net

Tiziana Fausti

Tiziana Fausti

As we travelled through the streets of the centre, we noticed the distinct difference compared with the upper part of Bergamo. This is the city’s linchpin, full of prestigious boutiques stocking the latest trends – clearly visible at the Tiziana Fausti store, where Sandra decided to stop for some shopping.

Shopping città alta

Shopping città alta

Once out of the cappella we crossed the Via Colleoni, a narrow pedestrian lane full of little restaurants and shops, offering remarkable glimpses of life in a timeless ambiance. Here and there we discovered small and cosy stores that are open every day until late for a spot of after-dinner shopping.

LOB Ottica

Shopping città alta

Still in search of shopping opportunities, Sandra wanted to buy a pair of “made in Italy” sunglasses as a souvenir. Upon asking some people, we were recommended the shop LOB Ottica in Curno, where we were really spoilt for choice: Miu Miu, Emporio Armani, Fendi! She walked out with a stunning pair by Dolce & Gabbana.

More suggestions on shopping

Rossetti Bruschi La Perla
Fratelli Rossetti Calzature
Via XX Settembre, 52
24122 Bergamo
Bruschi
Via XX Settembre, 39
Bergamo
La Perla
Portici del Sentierone, 40
Bergamo
     
Max Mara
Max Mara
Via XX Settembre, 125
24122 Bergamo
Krugg
Via Spaventa Silvio, 5
Bergamo
Laura Harper
Via XX Settembre, 42
Bergamo
     
Zara Jeckerson
Zara
Via XX Settembre, 58
Bergamo
Jeckerson
Via XX Settembre, 22
Bergamo
Sacerdote
Galleria Santa Marta, 1
Bergamo

More suggestions on shopping

Tonali Marella
Paolo Tonali
Via Sant'Orsola, 3/a
Bergamo
La Città di Babilonia
Via Gombito, 12
Bergamo
Marella
Via XX Settembre, 33
Bergamo
     
Benetton Stefanel Curnis
Benetton
Via XX Settembre, 94
Bergamo
Stefanel
Via XX Settembre, 89
Bergamo
Curnis
Via Monte Grappa, 7
Via Zambonate, 55
Bergamo
     
Cornaro Gioielli
Via G. Camozzi, 44
Bergamo

   

Malpaga Castle

Castello di Malpaga
A view of Castello di Malpaga

The door lay halfway open, so we decided to sneak in to have a look. Inside, I found a leaflet showing the stunning Castello di Malpaga (www.castellomalpaga.it), residence of Bartolomeo who, in his role as a great Renaissance prince, played host to the most illustrious figures of the 1400s, surrounding himself with philosophers, jesters and military men. Adorning every wall of his castle were beautiful frescos, which can still be enjoyed today.

Castello di Malpaga www.castellomalpaga.it

Mountain Ski

Mountain Ski pora
A view of snowy Monte Pora

The season wasn't right for skiing, but we'll come back soon to feel the breath of a natural mountain environment where pure white oases are sprinkled along majestic slopes. Val Seriana and Val Brembana offer a lot of beautiful resorts that combine the joy of skiing and the taste of tradition.

Sarnico

Sarnico
A view of Sarnico

Sarnico it's a lovely town that lies to the south of Iseo Lake, where the Oglio river begins its flow. Besides prestigious liberty villas, Sarnico offers the Regional Natural Park of Oglio Nord.


Iseo Lake

Iseo Lake
Panorama

Just close to Bergamo we had a taste of nature visiting Iseo Lake, a lovely but lesser-known lake in northern Italy, set in a precious crown of mountains and hills scattered with ancient engravings and color schemes.


Bike

Bicycle path Valle Seriana
Bicycle path in Valle Seriana

We didn't have enough time to take a ride, but we knew that there is a very pleasant cycle and walking path across a vast cultural and natural heritage of the Val Brembana. The route partially lays in the old, unused railway track and offers some really incredible views of Alps and Alpine foothills.


More suggestions on leisure & surroundings

Liberty Liberty
in San Pellegrino Terme
Lakes Lakes

Lurani Cernuschi

Lurani Cernuschi
Via Convento, 3 24031 Almenno San Salvatore (Bergamo)

Early the next morning after a delicious breakfast, we set off to visit Bergamo’s surrounding area.
First up was the nearby town of Almenno San Salvatore and the 12th-century church of San Tomè. This was followed by a stop at Lurani Cernuschi wine cellar, to enjoy some tastings and to buy a few bottles for drinking with friends when we got home.

Azienda Agricola
Lurani Cernuschi

www.luranicernuschi.it

La Frasca

La Frasca
Via Convento, 3 24031 Almenno San Salvatore (Bergamo)

While we were there, the inviting flavour of the typical meats cooked on a charcoal grill convinced us to have lunch at their restaurant La Frasca.

Ristorante La Frasca
www.ristorantelafrasca.it

La Delizia

La Delizia
Ristorante La Delizia - Largo Porta Nuova, 12/A Bergamo

Exhausted yet extremely relaxed, we chose to dine in at the hotel restaurant, La Delizia – an exquisite experience, my favourite dish being the local, homemade casoncelli (pasta, filled with meat). Sandra opted for one of the many delicious vegetable dishes on offer.

Franciacorta

Franciacorta
Villa Lechi - Headquarter of the consortium

We spent some time visiting Franciacorta, a splendid region of Lombardy, a stone's throw from Bergamo. While learning about the wine production that makes this region famous, we enjoyed a breathtakingly varied landscape awash with colour.

Consorzio Franciacorta
www.franciacorta.net

Typical food

Typical bergamo italian food
Typical dishes in Bergamo

Nearby, we found a lovely little place to have our last authentic meal before heading home: local cheeses and salami for me, and Bergamese stew with polenta for Sandra. Then it really was time to go home.

More suggestions on food & wine

Taverna dei Colleoni Taverna del Colleoni dell'Angelo
Piazza Vecchia, 7
24129 Bergamo
Trattoria del Teatro
Piazza Lorenzo Mascheroni, 3
24129 Bergamo
Pizzeria da Mimmo Pizzeria da Mimmo
Via Bartolomeo Colleoni, 17
24129 Bergamo
Giopi e la margi Giopì e la Margì
Via Borgo Palazzo, 27
24125 Bergamo
Lio Pellegrini Lio Pellegrini
Via S. Tomaso, 47
24121 Bergamo
Osteria dei Valenti L'osteria di Valenti
Via Guglielmo d'Alzano, 4
24122 Bergamo
La Bruschetta Pizzeria
Via Guglielmo D'Alzano, 1
24122 Bergamo
Bergamo Italy Map

Flights