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What to do in Bergamo: 5 things you can’t miss

Even if its beauty is usually dimmed by the celebrity of other city like the nearest Milan, Bergamo is one of the most interesting centres of Lombardia. Its artistic heritage, the green of its areas and the quality of its traditional food make this city a perfect destination for the weekend.

The city is divided in two parts, Berghem de hota and Berghem de hura (the Lower City and the Upper City) and the most interesting part is the Upper City.

In this article we suggest what to do in Bergamo by moving between the two parts of the city.

1. Go up to the Upper City by funicular

Are you looking for things to do while in Bergamo? First of all you can’t miss the Upper City…by funicular!

The connection between the two cities has 200 years of history. The first journey of the funicular took place the 20 September 1887 and since that moment the machinery planned by Alessandro Ferretti became the best way for the inhabitants of Bergamo to join the Upper City.

The funicular leaves from Viale Vittorio Emanuele II until the centre of the Upper City in Piazza Mercato delle Scarpe. Today the connections are daily ’til the night. For going up to the Bergamo funicular you’ll need the ATB ticket which is valid for all the buses.

bergamo funicular

2. Visit Churches and the Palaces of the Upper Bergamo

Once you reached the Upper City you will be absorbed into an atmosphere out of time. The alleys, the streets of stone and the old walls of the houses go back in time.

Not far from Piazza Mercato delle Scarpe there’s one of the most beautiful Italian squares: Piazza Vecchia. Here there are some of the most important buildings of the city and from here you can really start your visit.

You can’t miss Palazzo della Ragione, the most ancient town hall of Italy, with its famous sundial and today headquarters of the Museum of Fresco.

In this famous square there is also Palazzo del Podestà, which today hosts a multimedia museum that explains the story of the city and the Campanone (the Civic Tower). This tower is 53 meters high and it’s the symbol of Bergamo. If you’re not too lazy you can go up to its 230 steps for enjoying a beautiful view (there’s also the elevator!) Don’t forget to reach the square at 10 pm, for listening to the 100 rings that once notified the closure of the city doors!

Continuing through the portico of the Palazzo della Ragione, you will be in Piazza Duomo: here there is the Church of Santa Maria Maggiore, the most important church of Bergamo. Inside, there is the funeral monument of the famous composer Gaetano Donizzetti.

On the right of the Church of Santa Maria Maggiore, there’s the Cappella Colleoni (Colleoni chapel), a beautiful example of the Renaissance. The most attentive visitor will notice that on the wall opposite to the sarcophagus and on the entrance railing there’s the image of three testicles: it isn’t an obscene thing; it’s just the symbol of the condottiero’s family. They suggest touching them, for good luck…take your pick!

bergamo old town

3. Taste the Stracciatella

Traditional food in Bergamo is rich and tasty: in the restaurants and nearby you’ll eat cured meats, polenta and casoncelli pasta, fresh pasta filled with meat. Among all those traditional food, there’s one traditional food which is unique: the stracciatella!

Yes, this gelato with milk, cream and dark chocolate was born a Bergamo in 1961, thanks to an idea of Enrico Panattoni, owner of the famous coffee bar “La Marianna”.

If you are a real food lover and you want to try the real stracciatella and many other tasty foods, typical from this city, you have to join us in our food tour in Bergamo: together we will discover the best dishes of the tradition!


4. Walk along the Mura Venete

After eating you will need a long walk for digest and so another suggestion is organizing a walk along the Mura Venete.

The defensive walls are from the XVI century when the city was under Venice control and today it is still perfectly preserved. The perimeter is more than 6 km and the high in some parts reach 50 meters. During the weekend the perimeter becomes a pedestrian area from which you will enjoy a beautiful view (in some parts you’ll see Milan too!). The best moment for a walk along the Mura Venete is the sunset for sure, when everything turns in red and orange shades.

5. Visit the Accademia Carrara

Finally the last suggestion we give you is to go to the Accademia Carrara, a beautiful museum which unfortunately is not so famous.

The gallery is located in the Lower City, in a modern and commercial area. Inside you will find precious works of art: from Mantegna’s to Pinturicchio’s, from Raffaello’s to Tiziano’s, from Rubens’ to Canaletto’s and from Botticelli’s to Hayez’s. The visit lasts at least some hours: take your time to enjoy a real journey through the history of art.

These were our suggestions about what to do in Bergamo, now it’s your turn to organize your holiday in this city and we’re looking forward to tasting together the food of Bergamo!