Bergamo province and city
Bergamo airport is widely used by low-cost airlines such as Ryanair. The region’s geographical location enables quick access to the mountains and lakes of Northern Italy, such as Lake Como and Lake Garda, or cities like Verona and Bologna. So, chances are you’ll end up near the town when flying to northern Italy.
It would be a pity to lose the opportunity to visit Bergamo if you are in the area anyway, as it is an alluring city, like almost all Italian cities. More importantly, it has yet to be discovered by mass tourism.
Bergamo is in the Lombardy region, in northern Italy, between the foothills of the Alps and the Po Valley. Lombardy is one of Italy’s most prosperous and culturally rich regions, with cities such as Milan and Mantua. The administrative and cultural centre of the province of Bergamo has a rich history, breathtaking architecture and delicious food.
Bergamo city break
The city comprises the Città Alta (High City) and the Città Bassa (Low City). The Città Alta is the historic and older part of the city. It is located on a hill of the Colle di San Vigilio. At the same time, the Città Bassa is more modern and on lower ground. Because you will have to climb and descend quite a bit to see as much of the city as possible, it is helpful to don comfortable shoes. Your feet will thank you.
Bergamo Città Alta (High City)
Start your city break in the historic Città Alta, Bergamo’s old town centre. The centre is on a hill surrounded by an ancient city wall from where you can see as far as Milan in fine weather.
The medieval walls of Città Alta have several gates providing access to the historic part of the city. They originally served as defensive points and now mark the transition between the old and modern parts of the city.
Discover the city’s highlights at your own pace with a self-guided tour, or book a guide to explore the city in depth. Stroll over the cobbled streets, admire the medieval architecture, and visit some venues. The tour starts at the Funicolare Ferretti cable car.
You then walk to Piazza Vecchia, the central square surrounded by elegant buildings, including the 12th-century Palazzo della Ragione, the Campanone and the Fontana del Contarini (fountain). The spray boasts a Neptune statue, reflecting the maritime trade’s importance to Venice and the city of Bergamo.
The 52-metre-high Campanone, also known as the “Torre Civica” or “Torre del Comune,” is a medieval bell tower. The structure dates back to the 12th century. The building had several functions over the centuries, including summoning citizens to meetings and serving as a lookout post for the city. Climb the tower to enjoy the view of the city of Bergamo and the surrounding countryside.
The tour continues to Cathedral Square to see the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, with extraordinary frescoes and a wooden choir designed by Lorenzo Lotti. Also, admire the Cappella Colleoni, a mausoleum for the military leader Bartolomeo Colleoni.
The gates of Bergamo
- Porta San Giacomo: This gate is one of the main entry points to the Città Alta. It is an imposing stone gate with defence towers on either side.
- Porta Sant’Agostino: This gate has a more straightforward design than others. It is named after the nearby church of Sant’Agostino.
- Porta Sant’Alessandro: This is another crucial gateway to the Città Alta. It is named after Bergamo’s cathedral, dedicated to Saint Alexander (Sant’Alessandro in Italian).
- Porta San Lorenzo is north of the city walls. The gate is named after the nearby church of San Lorenzo.
- Porta Reale: Also known as “Porta Nuova”, this gate is located on the southern side of the city walls. It leads to the modern lower town (Città Bassa).
- Porta San Giorgio: The West Gate is surrounded by green areas and provides access to narrow streets of the Città Alta.
Rocca di Bergamo
From the city centre, continue walking up to Bergamo’s fortress, the Rocca. The fort stands atop a hill from where you have a panoramic view of the city’s surroundings. The fort dates back to Roman times. La Rocca was built as a defensive structure to protect the city from possible attacks. Over the centuries, the fortress underwent several extensions and modifications.
Città Bassa (Lower Town)
You can take the cable car, also called the “funicolare”, from the Città Alta to the Città Bassa or better, take advantage of gravity, stroll down and admire the views over the surrounding valleys. In the lower area, you will find modern shops, restaurants and the daily life of Bergamo’s residents. It is where to shop for local products and Italian fashion and design. En route to the ‘lower town’, you’ll pass the Torre dei Caduti.
Torre dei Caduti
The Torre dei Caduti is a monument commemorating the victims of World War I. It was built to pay tribute to the soldiers from Bergamo and the surrounding area who gave their lives during the war.
The tower stands on the Colle di San Vigilio, a hill overlooking the city of Bergamo.
For those who like art, visit the Accademia Carrara once you reach the bottom.
The Accademia Carrara is an art museum with an impressive collection of works by Italian masters, including Botticelli, Raphael and Bellini.
Fine dining in Bergamo
Enjoy delicious Italian cuisine in Bergamo’s many restaurants and cafés.
Try local dishes such as casoncelli (stuffed pasta), polenta e osei (cake) and gelato, especially the stracciatella, as this flavour was first produced in Bergamo (according to the Bergamaschi).
If you want to discover the nicest food joints and most delicious food, take part in a gastronomic tour. This food tour will take you from the origins of Lombardy’s culinary traditions to today’s Bergamo food culture.
Practical information Bergamo
You are not allowed to enter the Citta Alta by car, under penalty of heavy fines. Keep this in mind when booking accommodation in the city.
- In Citta Alta, Porta Dipinta is an absolute hit. The property is set in a 15th-century building with a private garden. Wi-Fi is available free of charge throughout. The kitchen is well-equipped.
- In Citta Bassa, FEEL – Central Terrace is a good choice, with a central location near the funicular railway and possible parking.
- Cable car and tramway: “The Funicolare di Bergamo” Alta is a funicular railway connecting Città Bassa with Città Alta (Piazza Mercato delle Scarpe). You can find information about the tramway on the Tramvie website.
- Train From Bergamo: Take a direct train to Milan, Lecco and Brescia (with transfers to Lake Garda, Verona and Venice). Travel times for Milan-Bergamo and Brescia-Bergamo are about an hour; the journey from Lecco to Bergamo takes about 40 minutes. Trains depart almost every hour. Bergamo’s train station is at Piazzale Guglielmo Marconi.
De Marmitte dei Giganti in Pesaro-Urbino One of...
Where and how to buy the right train ticket, how to make a reservation, how to validate your ticket, and how to avoid a fine.
Genoa is a city in Liguria; the old city centre is a maze of old winding streets with lots to see and to do.
The 44-kilometre cycling route from Peschiera on Lake Garda to Mantua is an ideal family outing throughout the year. It is lovely in spring or autumn.
Bologna university city The University of...