Bergamo is a small town in Lombardy, Italy, located between Milan and Lake Como. Its rich history is marked by the town’s architecture and culture. The city of consists of an old walled core, the upper town known as Città Alta that is nestled within hills in the form of a regional park, and is surrounded by immense Venetian defensive systems that are now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The lower, modern layer is known as città bassa and houses contemporary shops and residential areas. Both exude an old time charm. Bergamo is a rare town where you can walk on an ancient Roman road, that is to say the traditional, main streets known as cardo and decumano, the former stretching north to south, the latter east to west. This charming old town is worth a visit for its historical architecture and classic Italian atmosphere.
Things to do, things to see
Explore Piazza Vecchia
Piazza Vecchia is located in the vibrant center of upper Bergamo. Filled with building and monuments of great historical importance, you can admire the history of this place and at the same time appreciate the many cafés and gelaterias. You can spend an entire day here, there s much to see – such as the central fountain with its four splendid lion sculptures, or the façade of the 12th century Palazzo dell Ragione, where unique animal busts decorate the arches. Once at Piazza Vecchia, you should definitely stop for an ice-cream at Caffé del Tasso, which is regarded the best gelateria in the town by the locals. No doubt, this is a must see place at Bergamo.
The Old Bishop’s Palace
The Old Bishop’s Palace, or ‘broletto’ is situated right next to the Basilica di Santa Maria and was built where the old Roman forum was located in the past. It is open for the public and free to visit. Step right in and you can enjoy the tranquility of this usually not very crowded place. The Old Bishop’s Palace features ancient murals and old paintings and you can admire the masterpieces in an environment free from distractions. You can walk around its passages and emerge on the other side to enjoy the the Piazza Vecchia.
Duomo di Bergamo (Bergamo’s Cathedral)
Bergamo was once home to two cathedrals, however now only one survives to this day. You will find the sole surviving cathedral just next to Piazza Vecchia in the very center of the old city. It is a part of the Roman Catholic church, and this priestly building is often passed over by visitors in favor of its more opulent counterpart, namely the basilica Santa Maria. It is dedicated to Saint Alexander of Bergamo, whose remains are at present contained in an urn on the cathedral’s grand altar. It is the seat of the city’s present bishop and was built in the 15th century. Wander inside, and you can feast your eyes on the beautiful frescoes, elaborate decor, and the crown of Pope John XXIII – now Saint John XXIII.
Have a quiet moment at Cappella Colleoni
The church and mausoleum Cappella Colleoni is a masterpiece created by Giovanni Antonio Amadeo, a local artist from Pavia. It is located just next to Bergamo’s cathedral and to Piazza Vecchia. You will have no problem finding Cappella Colleoni, as it stands out from the horde of other buildings because of its colorful marble façade and unusual design. Its façade is a canvas for Biblical scenes along with mythological stories, while its architectural style is a blend of Mannerism, Renaissance, and later Baroque styles. Inside, you can find a large number of amazing Italian frescoes and sculptures, with of course the Colleoni family’s sarcophagus.
Natural Science Museum of Bergamo
Natural Science Museum of Bergamo displays artefacts related to geology, botany, zoology and more that were donated by private collectors along with the Royal Technical Institute in 1918. After moving several times, the museum was finally settled in the old Visconti building in Piazza Cittadella in 1960. The exhibition is located on the first floor of the building, and has expanded in the past few years. A reconstructed adult Mammoth and a young specimen greet you at the entrance of the exhibition. At present, there are new halls for temporary exhibitions along with two new labs for educational activities. A track with different sensory accommodations has been organized as well so that blind visitors can enjoy museum, including many spaces in where objects can be handled for an immersive experience while exploring the museum. Exhibitions are dedicated to the origins of natural history in Europe and Italy, and Bergamo’s lovely botanical garden is also a part of the Museum. While in the past it housed only alpine flora, now the garden has enlarged its collection to the local flora of Lombardy, including some exotic foreign species.
Via XX Settembre
We all get a bit bored with history – so it is time to go shopping and explore a more modern surrounding! No need to worry, you do not have to leave Bergamo. The town’s fondly named lower city or città bassa is filled with a large variety of vibrant shops, cafés, and boutiques. Be sure to visit the Via XX Settembre, which was named to honor the creation of modern Italy in 1870, as it despite being rather busy it is the most enchanting street in the contemporary part of Bergamo. From Via XX Settembre, you can walk into Feltrinelli, a large international bookshop where you can find literature ranging from modern-day Italian novels and worldwide classics to guidebooks.
Vacation rentals at Bergamo, Italy
If you have always wanted to visit Italy, make sure to stop at Bergamo with its cobbled lanes and historic atmosphere. For a comfortable stay, you can book the perfect accommodation with CuddlyNest. At CuddlyNest you can find a wide selection of vacation rentals ranging from well-equipped apartments and houses to cottages and villas for every location. So feel at home wherever you go with CuddlyNest!