Located about 40 kilometres (25 miles) in the north east of Milan, Bergamo remains an unknown destination as travelers tend to put Milan, Florence, Venice, and Rome on their must-see list in Italy. If you happen to book a flight landing at the Milan Bergamo airport (Orio al Serio), stop at this beautiful small city for a couple of days to enjoy this lesser-known part of Italy. Bergamo has a lot to offer: ranging from old Italian buildings to typical small narrow streets, splendid landscapes, and even historical monuments. Here are some recommendations to put on your top to-do list that will make you fall in love with Bergamo.
1. Riding the funicular
As Bergamo’s central area is divided into two geographical areas: the Lower Town and the Upper Town, the locals have come up with an ideal means of transportation to connect these two parts of the city. The funiculars, which are small cable cars with two cabins, will help you move more easily within the city without much hiking.
There are two spots from where you can take the funiculars that link the Lower Town with the Upper Town, and the Upper Town to the Colle di San Vigilio hill. Although the ride is short, it’s worth experiencing, and viewing the city as it glows during the late evening hours is magical. You can buy a ticket, which is usable for trains, buses, and the funiculars within Bergamo, at any funicular station.
2. Hiking up the Venetian Walls of Bergamo (Mura e Porte Veneziane)
Known for being one of the most impressive architectural buildings in Bergamo built by the Republic of Venice in 1561, the Venetian Walls of Bergamo are nowadays one of the most favoured attractions in the city. If you walk from the Central Station towards the Lower Town or the Upper Town but do not wish to ride the funicular, take the small path on the left corner side of the station. This route leads you through the Venetian Walls of Bergamo to the Upper Town.
3. Capturing a panoramic view of Bergamo
There are a lot of spots where you can get a wonderful panoramic view of the city, such as from the Venetian Walls, the Rocca, the Civic Tower (Torre Civica), and so on. Most of these places are free to get in, as you only need to pay for entering the museums. At the Rocca, you can view a ‘picture perfect’ Bergamo with the sun, tower, churches, small houses, and the huge mountains behind.
4. Adoring the spiritual Basilica Di Santa Maria Maggiore
The Upper Town’s main attractions surround the Old Square (Piazza Vecchia). This is where you’ll discover the Ragione Palace and the Campanone Torre Civica (the Civic Tower). Just on the corner you will find the Church of Santa Maria Maggiore (Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore) and the Cappella Colleoni, which is a 15th-century funerary chapel.
5. Walking down the narrow streets of the old town
Walking along the typical narrow streets fully surrounded by the older, small Italian-style houses, creates a unique chaotic feel of the city, which is a wonderful experience. Grab a classic pizza at the store Il Fornaio before exploring the churches and cathedrals.
6. Riding a mountain bike in Parco dei Colli
You can also cycle around many parks in Bergamo to enjoy the picturesque view of the city, complete with mountains standing behind the older small houses on the hill.
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