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Bergamo

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Northwest Italy : Lombardy : Bergamo
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Bergamo [1] is a scenic town in Italy's Lombardy region.

Understand

Bergamo is a pretty town of some 120,000 people nestling in the foothills of the Alps. Widely acclaimed as a city of rare beauty, Bergamo is famous for its wealth of artistic treasures and enchanting medieval atmosphere. It is a real life tale of two cities: “Città Bassa”, the busy and modern lower city, and "Città Alta", the upper city with its rich heritage of art and history.

Get in

By plane

Bergamo is the location of the Orio al Serio International Airport [2] (BGY) (Phone number: +39035326323), an airport oriented around low-cost airlines (Discount_airlines_in_Europe). ATB no.1 bus to the city are € 1.70 per trip, € 3.50 for 24h ticket and € 5.00 for a 3 day ticket. There is a ticket machine at the bus stop. You can find schedules and route maps on the site of ATB [3] the local mass transit authority.

Cabs will take about 15mins but are quite expensive given the length of the journey - cost around €15 (€21 after 21:00 in the evening)

Note that buses can be both unreliable and not punctual. You'd better take the no.1 city bus 30 or 45 minutes before the time you actually have to be at the airport.

By train

Milan is about 30-40 minutes away by train. There is no train station at the airport in Bergamo. The 1-airport bus to Bergamo city, taking around 30 minutes, leaves you just in front of the train station. From Bergamo city regular trains to Milan, Lecco and Brescia, on to Verona and Venice. You can check schedules and fares on the website of the Italian Railways [4]. There is no left luggage office at the train station, only at the airport. If you are at the airport and your destination is Milan or Venice, just take one of the regular coaches. However be warned that the autostrada connecting Bergamo and Milan carries a lot of trucks and gets easily congested - do not therefore rely on the 'stated' journey time especially on weekdays. An alternative is to take the bus into Bergamo (see above) and take the train, which is cheaper and quicker.

By bus

Regular buses to Milan. You can check schedules and fares on the website of Autostradale [5]. The trip takes approximately one hour, depending on traffic conditions. The bus stop in Bergamo is located near the train station and there is a counter where inquiries can be made.

Get around

The town is not large, and most of the sights can be seen comfortably on foot. To get from the Città Bassa up to the Città Alta can be quite tiring on foot, though, due to the steep and winding streets, but there is a funicolare (a kind of tram) linking the two parts of the town. You can see a map of bus routes, schedules and fares on the website of the local mass transit authority [6] (in Italian). The ticket that you purchase for the funicular is valid for 75 minutes and you can reuse the same ticket for travel on the bus as well as the funicular to San Vigilio. Walking from the train station to the Città Alta funicular station is pleasant and takes about 20-30 minutes. You can also walk from Città Alta to San Vigilio instead of taking the funicular, which will afford you great views of the surrounding areas, as well as the quaint narrow streets and houses along the way.

See

  • The Piazza Vecchia - the heart of the old town, displaying a mix of medieval and Renaissance architecture
  • The church of Santa Maria Maggiore
  • The Colleoni Chapel (Cappella Colleoni)
  • The Rocca - a walled stronghold which houses a museum
  • The Archeology Museum (Museo Archeologico)
  • The Science Museum (Museo Civico di Scienze)
  • The Donizetti Museum (Museo Donizettiano), Via Arena 9. Devoted to one of Bergamo's most famous sons, the composer Gaetano Donizetti
  • The Accademia Carrara [7], one of Northern Italy's most important collections of medieval, Renaissance and Baroque paintings.
  • GAMeC [8], the city's gallery of modern and contemporary art, which usually hosts several interesting exhibitions.

Do

  • Ride the funicolare from the Città Bassa up to the Città Alta. Easier than walking, and the views on the way up are spectacular.
  • Visit San Vigilio - a small hilltop village that can be reached on foot or by a second funicolare from Città Alta. It offers walks with spectacular views, and a ruined castle. Entry into the castle is free, and is part of a public park. Climb all the way to the top of the castle for more views.
  • Walk down the quiet narrow streets of the old town.
  • Walk along the city walls for views across Lombardy.
  • Visit one of the several church and art galleries.
  • Stroll in one of the pedestrian streets and enjoy shops and cafes.

Eat

For snacks, a drink or simply the great view, Cafe Funicolare in the city Alta Funicolare station. For lunch or an evening meal try Da Franco Ristorante Pizzeria Via Colleoni 8 Bergamo Alta Telefono 035238565 - closed Mondays or Da Mimmo [9] - closed Tuesdays - both more than just a Pizzeria. Also worth a look is Il Sole, on the corner of Piazza Vecchia and Via Colleoni. La Bruschetta, in the Citta Bassa, just off Porta Nuova is a good value restaurant/pizzeria in the cellar of a building and worth a mention. Also in the Citta Bassa area "La Ciotola" is a good restaurant/pizzeria near the Mercure hotel. For great ice cream try La Siesta [10] on Via Sant'Alessandro.

Drink

  • Il Circolino, (right around the back of the Biblioteca Angelo Maj). Locals here play bocce and drink lanterna (a huge drink made of white wine and campari rosso). * Bobino, piazza della Liberta. is a cool bar/restaurant with a long wine & cocktail list (including Champagne), open from 7.00am - 02.00am daily, except Sundays

Sleep

There are a number of good hotels in the new town (Citta Bassa) - many on Viale Papa Giovanni XXIII (The main street from the station to the funicolare)

  • Mercure Palazzo Dolce.
  • Best Western Capello d'Oro.
  • Excelsior San Marco Hotel.
  • Hotel Jolly, Via G. Paleocapa.
  • Hotel Donizetti, ldo Moro 28,Lallio,24040 BG. Donizetti Hotel is located near Bergamo, and access to the motorway linking Milan and surroundings
  • B&B Romeo and Juliet, Via Zambonate 47, 00393343841994, [11]. checkin: 12.00am; checkout: 11.00am. Bed & Breakfast and residence in Bergamo's Centre with confortable double rooms or apartments for 2-4 people.


Get out

Other places of interest around Bergamo

  • The Bergamo area is in the foothills of the Alps, and has a handful of Ski resorts within a one-hour drive. Notable is the Brembana Valley which contains the resorts of Foppolo, Carona and San Simone.
  • Lake Iseo, one of the smallest and less touristy among the Northern Italian lakes.
  • Crespi d'Adda is a planned industrial city between Bergamo and Milan. It has been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List
  • Como (one of the main cities at the shores of beautiful Lake Como is also accessible by train, but requires almost traveling back to Milan (you change at a train station before Milan, though). It is worth visiting from Bergamo and vice versa however, as it is about an hour's journey all in.



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