Bergamo is the capital of the province of the same name in the Lombardy region. Its approximately 20,000 inhabitants divide the city into a Città Alta, where the historic center is located, and a Città Bassa. Bergamo is one of the worst coronavirus affected cities in Italy.
Bergamo travel guide
Tourist information: There are two InfoPoints, one in the Città Bassa (Piazzale Guglielmo Marconi, 12) and one in the Città Alta (Via Gombito, 13).
Town hall: Piazza Giacomo Matteotti, 27.
Bergamo Orio al Serio Airport
Bergamo Orio al Serio airport is often called Milan airport by airlines landing there, but in reality, as the name suggests, it is Bergamo airport. Since 2011, Aeroporto Internazionale Il Caravaggio di Bergamo Orio al Serio is the official name of this airport
Train and bus
Bergamo’s train station is located in the middle of the modern part of the city, Bergamo Bassa. There are direct connections to Milan, Lecco and Brescia. From Milan there are fast connections to all major Italian cities. The Flixbus stop in Bergamo is near the central station, at Piazzale Guglielmo Marconi.
Public transportation in Bergamo
The easiest connection between the Città Bassa and the Città Alta is the funiculare. It is also the most beautiful connection, because the panorama is breathtaking. The funiculare has been in service for over 120 years.
A second funiculare leads from the Città Alta to San Vigilio.
The central square of this modern part of the city is Piazza Matteotti. From here, Viale Papa Giovanni XXIII leads to the central train station. Famous buildings in the area around this square are the Teatro Donizetti, the Palazzo Frizzoni and the Centro Piacentiano. The so-called Sentierone is considered the reception room of the city and is characterized by its porticos.
The main attraction of the Piazza Dante is the Fontana del Tritone.
The finest museums in this part of the city are the Accademia Carrara and the GAMeC, which features works by masters such as Raphael, Botticelli and Kandinsky.
The highlight of the Santi Bartolomeo and Stefano Church is the 16th century Pala Martinengo by Lorenzo Lotto.
What to see in the Città Alta
The oldest part of Bergamo is located on top of a hill and protected by a wide city wall. These so-called Mura Venete are on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The Porta di San Giacomo forms an impressive entrance to the old town.
The most beautiful square in this historic center is the Piazza Vecchia, with the Palazzo del Podestà and the Palazzo della Ragione. The bells of the Campanone strike 100 times every evening at 10 pm. The Palazzo della Ragione has a distinctive sundial and was the first town hall in the country. The fountain in the middle of the square is the Fontana Contarini.
Whereas the Piazza Vecchia was the main civic square, the Piazza Duomo was the center of religious life. The most beautiful buildings in this square are the Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica and the Colleoni Chapel. The former houses a tapestry by the Fleming Lodewijk van Schoor.
Although the Sant’Alessandro Cathedral is also on the Piazza Duomo it is not Bergamo’s most important church.
The main attraction of the San Lorenzo Church is the Fontana nel Lantro in the basement of the building. The San Michele al Pozzo Church is graced by some frescoes by Lorenzo Lotto.
The Rocca del Bergamo is the ancient castle of the city, whose towers are well preserved.
Most of the Città Alta is not accessible to cars.
Parks, gardens and nature reserves
The entire Città Alta lies within the protected Parco dei Colli nature reserve. The Botanical Garden is laid out on the Colle Aperto.
A brief history of Bergamo
Bergamo was founded by a Gallic tribe called the Cenomani. The name derives from a celtic God called Bergimos.
After the Romans had conquered Bergamo, they made it into a municipio. A Roman municipio was fairly automonous and had its own magistrates, but no political rights.
After the fall of the Empire, barbarians led by, a.o. Alaric and Attila invaded the area.
In the 12th century, Bergamo got out from under the bishop’s rule and became a free city.
Later, it became one of the most important founder members of the Lega Lombarda, which fought Federico Barbarossa.
When infighting started between the various factions in the city, the institutions lost their powers. The Visconti became feudal lords of Bergamo, a situation that lasted until 1427.
Under Venice, the city was allowed a degree of independence, which resulted into a periode of peace and prosperity.
In 1814, the Austrians took over, to be deposed by Garibaldi in 1859.
How to get to Bergamo by car
Bergamo is located along the A4 highway, which connects Milan to Venice.