Bergamo is one of the most beautiful, fascinating, and history-rich cities in all of Lombardy. Nestled on the hills in a natural context, to say the least spectacular, Bergamo is a step away from the plain and at the same time at the foot of the Alps, which can be easily admired from its suggestive Upper Town (Bergamo Alta ).
Although sometimes little considered by travelers because it is in the shadow of the largest and most famous Milan, visiting Bergamo is very simple, being reachable in less than an hour by train from the Lombard capital. It is a city full of points of historical, cultural, monuments and buildings with impressive architecture, castles, parks, ancient walls: here is a list of the most interesting and essential places and attractions in Bergamo.
In one day, starting from Milan, you can discover its secrets, history and explore this place at the same time ancient and modern, traditional and cosmopolitan.
Are you ready to be amazed? Leave with us to discover the 5 things not to miss on a visit to Bergamo.
1. Bergamo Alta (upper town)
Bergamo is historically divided into two complementary parts: the Upper City(Bergamo Alta ), a destination for tourism and an artistic and cultural center, and the Lower City(Bergamo Bassa), hard-working and contemporary, are the two sides of a place in constant evolution, between past and future.
A visit to the majestic Upper Town of Bergamo is therefore unmissable to begin to learn about its history: it is a medieval village, with its cobblestone alleys teeming with life, shops, and tourists, squares and ancient monuments, which fascinate travelers from all over the world. The train station is located in Piazza Marconi, in the Lower Town, while the Upper Town, nestled on a hill, can be reached on foot, by car, by bus … or by taking the funicular, which will allow you to enjoy the magnificent panorama during the climb!
2. Le Mura Veneziane (The Venetian walls)
The ancient city walls of Bergamo is one of the major points of historical interest in the whole city: built in the 16th century by the Venetians and recognized as a world heritage site by UNESCO, the walls of Bergamo enclose the Upper Town, they are wonderfully preserved and have an invaluable cultural and artistic value. With their bulwarks, powder magazines, and underground tunnels, the walls can be visited from the inside. Still, certainly they are a perfect place even just for walking and to admire a sunset over the splendid surrounding hilly landscape. Especially in summer, the walls and its gardens come alive with clubs and are the center of nightlife.
3. Piazza del Duomo
Piazza del Duomo is worth visiting on your day trip to Bergamo: first of all, it houses the Duomo, dedicated to Sant’Alessandro, an imposing and majestic Baroque cathedral. This church can be visited for free and often hosts events and concerts. In Piazza del Duomo, you will also find the famous Palazzo del Podestà: once the seat of the Venetian government, today it houses the modern Faculty of Foreign Languages of the University of Bergamo.
4. La Cittadella
Cittadella di Bergamo is another building born as a military fortress for defensive purposes, which dominated the Upper Town together with the Rocca. Today it is a reminder of the great Visconti domain and is located in the heart of the Upper Town, of which it is a large and important square. Here you can visit the Archaeological Museum, that of Natural Sciences, as well as admire the numerous signs of the medieval past, getting lost in towers, gardens, and arcades.
5. Basilica Santa Maria Maggiore
Continuing our tour, between Piazza Vecchia and Piazza del Duomo, you can admire another beautiful church, the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore. Built around 1100 on the remains of an ancient Roman temple, it is a true architectural masterpiece. You will be breathless in front of its Romanesque facade, with the famous door of the Red Lions, not to mention the interior: a riot of splendid frescoes, tapestries and wooden sculptures by great artists of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.