Further Afield from Milano – Bergamo

Sunday, May 12, 2013
Milan, Lombardy, Italy
Bergamo is about 60 km north-east of Milan and we had been there for a very short time in 1999 but Sue could not remember it. Just after our visit I had read about it in an Alitalia magazine and we decided to do a day visit. The city is about 50 km north-east of Milan, the train takes less than an hour from Milan Centrale and costs about €6 per ticket. When you arrive you can buy a bus ticket for less than €2 which takes you to the base of the old town and can then be used on the funicular up to the old town.

The city is in two parts, the lower modern city, Città bassa, and the old upper city, Città alta . The upper city is on a hill overlooking the new part and surrounded by huge fortifications. It is magnificent with very few cars and a great place to walk and to just take in the history and atmosphere. Although the old town is quite compact, you could actually spend a couple of days here and probably still not see everything. There are churches, museums, shops and restaurants as well as amazing buildings everywhere. Two of the churches, Basilica Santa Maria Maggiore and the Duomo are next to each other and both worth seeing. There is no doubt this area has been extremely wealthy at various times because both churches are very ornate. One of the most popular Popes in history, John XXIII (Pope from 1958-63) was born near Bergamo and there are many dedications to him and his efforts during the Holocaust when he helped many people escape. He received a number of awards including the Presidential Medal of Freedom from the US and the Red Biretta from France.

From the first part of Città alta, there is a second funicular which goes to San Vigilio another hill from which there are magnificent views over the whole of Bergamo . At San Vigilio are the remains of an old castle, Castello San Vigilio and some nice restaurants, at one of which we had a very light lunch (we are eating too much great Italian food). Of course, as is our rule, having had lunch we had to walk back to the train so wandered through Città alta and then through the lower town back to the train. Even the lower town is well worth visiting as it is very clean, has lots of malls, shops and restaurants.

From the first part of Città alta, there is a second funicular which goes to San Vigilio another hill from which there are magnificent views over the whole of Bergamo. At San Vigilio are the remains of an old castle, Castello San Vigilio and some nice restaurants, at one of which we had a very light lunch (we are eating too much great Italian food). Of course, as is our rule, having had lunch we had to walk back to the train so wandered through Città alta and then through the lower town back to the train. Even the lower town is well worth visiting as it is very clean, has lots of malls, shops and restaurants.

I really have not done justice to Bergamo. It is on a par with Verona for history and atmosphere and the surrounding hillsides are even better – a hidden gem. Let the photos do the talking.
Other Entries

Comments

2022-10-03