Discover

Bergamo

Those who arrive and see Bergamo for the first time can’t help but think that
a good portion of its history is found in the beautiful hilltop city
And this is precisely the case: 2,500 years are concentrated up there, and many have passed since the traces of the first inhabitants, who date back to the fifth century BC, were discovered.
 
An exciting story to which new details are continuously added as new archaeological investigations reveal details of the old city. It is therefore no coincidence that Upper Bergamo offers the visitor the possibility of making an extraordinary excursion combining the beauty of the monuments and locations with the discovery of the past.

 

 

 

The walls of Bergamo: a Unesco World Heritage - Upper Bergamo
The Walls of Bergamo are a 
UNESCO World Heritage
We suggest starting with the funicular, which from Lower Bergamo (the station of departure is in Viale Vittorio Emanuele) takes you to the upper part of the city.
 
A short journey that allows you to observe Bergamo’s development from a particular point of view: the modern city below, which has developed, above all, in recent decades, and the ancient one above, surrounded by the formidable walls that Venice built in the sixteenth century.
 
From July 9, 2017 the Walls of Bergamo are a UNESCO World Heritage as Venetian Works of Defence, between 15th and 17th centuries.

 

 

 

 

 

St. Giacomo door - Upper Bergamo 
On the Venetian walls,
the access doors, invite you
to discover the treasures of Upper City
Once arrived, upon exiting the station, the visitor is welcomed by a spectacular space that seems to be formed from a theatre set. This is the Mercato delle Scarpe (shoe market), a square that was once a major traffic junction: roads met coming from the east - from Venice (via Porta Dipinta) - and from the west - Milan (via San Giacomo).
 
Due to the presence of these communication routes, it is believed that the square was home to Roman Bergamo’s first market. Via Gombito, which begins right by the exit of the funicular, is identified by the Decumanus, one of the Roman city’s two main roads (the other is the Cardo) that spanned the entire city from east to west, an urban axis that has remained intact to this day.

 

 

 

 

 

Rocca - Upper Bergamo
From the gardens of the Rocca 
enjoy beautiful views of the city
 
In the same square, on the right-hand side, Via Rocca begins with a short climb that leads to the top of a hill - the hill of Santa Eufemia - which is dominated by the Rocca, a fortress with fourteenth century origins that has been modified and updated with defences many times. According to tradition, it was here that the Capitol building stood, a very important building in the structure of a Roman city.
 
The Decumanus offers the pleasure of a beautiful walk amongst shop windows, bars, restaurants and old buildings from Medieval Bergamo (don’t overlook the adjacent streets!), but here nothing can be seen of the Roman city. In the confined space of the hill, the city was demolished and rebuilt many times and the remains of the first city are underground. Every time a more in-depth dig takes place, traces of Bergamo from Julius Caesar’s or Augustus’ era emerge. It was precisely during one of these excavations that the foundations of huts from the Iron Age were identified: the first sign of a settlement on the hill of Bergamo, 2,500 years ago.  
 
Further ahead stands a huge tower, which seems to have been built to guard what is the heart of Roman Bergamo’s roads, in the spot where the Decumanum crossed the Cardo (north - south), represented today by Via San Lorenzo and Via Mario Lupo. By no coincidence this area is called Gombito, “Compitum” (Latin for crossroads), which refers directly to the Roman place name.

 

 
Piazza Vecchia
is the heart of the ancient city on the hill
On it overlook buildings and monuments that are the symbol of the history of Bergamo
 

After Piazza Vecchia, our tour continues along the second part of the Decumanus, which corresponds to Via Colleoni. Here, under the fountain of Saint Agatha, on the corner of the street of the same name, the remains of a mosaic belonging to a Roman house were found. Our walk ends at the large complex of the Citadel, which houses the Archaeological Museum. Among the statuesgravestonesurnsaltars and objects displayed in its glass cases, it is possible to learn more about older BergamoFrescoes that decorated the walls of a house dating back to Roman times can also be found, and with meticulous recovery and restoration work, three rooms have been rebuilt as they were originally: a Medieval tower was erected above and the “domus” was forgotten underground. Almost a little Pompeii 

 

Taste and enjoy Bergamo with gusto
There are many restaurants in both upper and lower Bergamo which offer delicious local dishes and traditional menus that include Bergamask cured meats and cheese, polenta and desserts, accompanied by beers and wines produced locally.
 
 
There is a selection of inns, taverns and traditional restaurants, including starred restaurants with cusine by renowned chefs. There are also many pizzerias, bars, cafes and patisseries where pizza, focaccia, sandwiches, cake can be savoured at any moment in the day. The best way to enjoy these places is to choose a strategic location which, during lunch, dinner or aperitif, allows you to appreciate the city's magnificnt panoramic views.
 
 
The Propilei of Porta Nuova - lower Bergamo
A hospitable and welcoming city
Bergamo offers a wide range of solutions for a comfortable stay in welcoming, modern facilities that are suited to every type of customer. These range from hotels and gust houses to bed & breakfast establishments and 1, 2 and 3-star hotels, right up to sophisticaded 4 and 5-star accomodation for more discriminating customers.
Many are located in the most strategic points of the city centre, in both upper and lower Bergamo, while others can be found in the surrounding areas and all the most beautiful tourist locations of Bergamo province and in all the Lake Iseo.
 
 
 
Where to sleep in Bergamo
Bergamo is a welcoming city and offers different possibilities for accommodation.
To find the ideal hotel and the best offers you can do a search for the stars but also for districts or landmarks.
 
STARS
Hotels for stars, differentiated by type of services:
DISTRICTS
Hotels in the districts
 
 
AIRPORT
Hotels near the airport
 
Text by Pino Capellini
Photos: Turismo Bergamo
for Avion Tourism; Sisterscom.com; Shutterstock 

Video: www.comune.bergamo.it
Copyright © Sisterscom.com, Turismo Bergamo

Published on The Key to Bergamo Magazine

Updated April 2018

 

 
 
Tourism Board
www.visitbergamo.net
 
Tourist Offices
 
Infopoint Bergamo
Lower City
Piazzale Guglielmo Marconi
 
 
Infopoint Bergamo
Upper City
Gombito Tower - Via Gombito, 13
 
 
Infopoint gate - In Lombardia
Milan Bergamo Airport - Arrivals Area
Via Aeroporto, 13 - 24050 Orio Al Serio (Bg)
 
Download the article of Bergamo
in digital version
Discover the city, the main tourist attractions, the most important museums to visit and tours not to be missed, selected for you by the Editorial Staff of Avion Tourism.
 
WHERE TO GO 
Monuments of the Upper Town
PIAZZA VECCHIA
This area, heart of political and administrative life of Bergamo and the surrounding area, began to take shape in the fifteenth century and at the beginning of Venetian domination this central area acquired its Renaissance form and dimensions. A fountain, donated to the city by the Venetian Podestà Alvise Contarini in 1780, stands in the centre of this square. On the east side, a white marble-clad building houses the Angelo Maj Civic Library. On the square lie the Palazzo della Ragione with, on the façade, the lion of St. Mark. Behind the Palazzo, in Piazza Duomo, lie the Cathedral, the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, the Colleoni Chapel, the Baptistery and the Bishop’s Palace.
CIVIC TOWER AND PALAZZO DELLA RAGIONE
The Civic Tower, symbol of the Medieval city, is 52-metre high. Accessed with an ultramodern lift, offers splendid views over the historical centre, towards the Alps and onto Piazza Vecchia.
The Tower is also known as the Campanone (Big Bell) because of the large bell, wich sounds over 100 times at 10.00 p.m. every evening, signal the old curfew when the gates of the city were closed.
Nearby, there is the Palazzo della Ragione where the lion of San Marco stands out on its façade.
www.bergamoestoria.it
 
 
CATHEDRAL
Piazza Duomo
The cathedral is dedicated to the patron of the city Saint Alexander, and offers masterpieces not to be missed such as the Madonna with Child and Saints by the Bergamo painter Giovan Battista Moroni and the canvas depicting the Martirio di San Giovanni Vescovo of Tiepolo placed behind the altar, built on drawings by Filippo Juvara.
Under the portico of the Palazzo della Ragione there is access to the archaeological area under the basilica, a testimony of the history of the cathedral since the early Christian period.
BASILICA OF SANTA MARIA MAGGIORE
Piazza Duomo
The people of Bergamo decided to located the Basilica on the site of the small Church of Santa Maria. Work began in 1137 according to the project of a little-known “Master Frido”. Towards the middle of the fourteenth century, Giovanni da Campione was given the task of building a monumental portal on the north side. He designed a porch supported by red marble lions. The south porch is instead supported by white marble lions. The magnificent Romanesque interior was later transformed by sumptuous Baroque decorations. With its rich historical and artistic heritage the Basilica is the most important building in the city.
 
Monuments of the Lower Town
VIA XX SETTEMBRE
This street connect the Sentierone with Borgo San Leonardo, which many years ago was the heart of commerce and trade of the town and surrounding area. Here, merchandise from the Port of Venice was stored and then in turn travelled on to Milan or Valtellina. Today, Via XX settembre is pedestrianised and is the heart of the city shopping area.
 
At the end of the Sentierone is the Church of Saints Bartolomeo and Stefano where it is possible to admire, behind the high altar, the Pala Martinengo one of Lorenzo Lotto's masterpieces dating back to 1516.
DONIZETTI THEATRE
Piazza Cavour, 15
The Donizetti Theatre stands on the area where, during the old Saint Alessandro fair, performances were held on a wooden make-shift stage. In 1786 the entrepreneur Bortolo Riccardi built a permanent theatre and in 1987, same year in which the theatre was named after the great composer Gaetano Donizetti, on the occasion of celebrations commemorating the centenary of his birth the architect Pietro Via designed the façade. In 1934 the theatre became property of the Municipality of Bergamo. Theatre host prestigious events such as Bergamo Jazz and Bergamo Musica Festival Gaetano Donizetti.
www.teatrodonizetti.it
 
Museums
There are numerous museums that can be visited in Bergamo. In the Visconti Complex of the citadel there are the Civic Museum of Natural Sciences and the Archaeological Museum.
 
ACCADEMIA CARRARA
Piazza Giacomo Carrara, 82 - Città Bassa
It was the idea of Count Giacomo Carrara to establish the Art Gallery, but unfortunately he died before it was completed in 1810. The Accademia was built in Neoclassical style on the design of Simone Elia. With two thousand paintings, collections  of sculptures and rich archives of drawings and prints, making it one of the most important galleries in Italy. Some of the best known artists displayed include: Titian, Raphael, Tiepolo, Mantegna, Bellini, Lotto, Canaletto and Guardi.
 
GAMeC
Modern and Contemporary Art Gallery
Via San Tomaso, 53 - Città Bassa
The Gallery, building in two former convents, with an exhibition area of 1.500 square metres, was inaugurated in 1991 and design by Vittorio Gregotti. The Art Gallery is dedicated to contemporay art in all its form, and also offers permanent and temporary exhibitions, educational and cultural activities. The heart of the Museum is the Manzù collection, made up of sculpturespaintingsdrawings and etchings of the great artist from Bergamo.
www.gamec.it
ADRIANO BERNAREGGI
Diocesan Museum of Sacred Art 
Via Pignolo, 76 - Città Bassa
The sixteenth-century Bassi Rathgeb Building, wich was donated to the Diocese, houses the museum wich was named at Mons. Adriano Bernareggi. The Bishop of Bergamo collected works of art, cult images and Church relics from the Thirties. The museum tour offers the possibility to discover extraordinary artefacts that are closely linked to the history of Bergamo and the Church.
www.fondazionebernareggi.it
 
Text by Lisa Maria River
Photos: Turismo Bergamo
; Sisterscom.com; Shutterstock 
Copyright © Sisterscom.com, Turismo Bergamo
 
Tours and excursions
Guided tours of Bergamo to discover its history and its mysteries. To visit: the province with its valleys and Lake Iseo. Discover the destinations near Bergamo.
Avion Tourism Magazine
Download Avion Tourism Magazine
in digital version
For a long-range holiday, on this issue of the magazine, we recommend you New York. In Europe, the fascinating cities of Vienna in Austria and Sofia in Bulgaria will surprise you. Let yourself be enchanted by the renowned Abu Dhabi or the magical Tehran. Discover the destinations on the website or read the magazine in pdf format.
Be inspired
Subscribe to our newsletter and get useful tips for your next trip
Subscribe now!