Admittedly, I wasn’t jumping at the chance to visit Bergamo when Alessandro suggested we go for the day. “What’s there to do in some random little town in north Italy?“, I thought to myself. But since I’m living in a foreign country for the sake of new experiences, I figured why the heck not go. Besides, it’s not like it was terribly expensive to get to (just a cool €10, thank you Trenord).
Bergamo is about an hour by train from Milan, and like Milan is also located in the region of Lombardia, just south of the Alps. Bergamo is divided into two main districts: città bassa (“lower city”) and città alta (“upper city”). Città bassa is the more modern part of town, the result of relatively recent urbanization projects. However, evidence of life from centuries past still remains in the form of older streets and public squares. Città alta is a twenty minute, uphill walk from città bassa and is situated at a higher altitude than the latter. It is surrounded by medieval walls and gates and offers sweeping views of the lower city.
We spent the large majority of our day in città alta, as it provided more “touristic attractions”. For starters, the views of the lower city were breathtaking and photos do them zero justice. The streets of the historic city center were picturesque and quaint, exactly what you expect of a northern European town tucked away in the mountains. Just meandering through the winding streets of città alta was probably the highlight of my day. See below for some photos of the proprio bello Bergamo.
Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore & Cappella Colleoni
This church (and its accompanying chapel) might be the most beautiful I’ve ever seen in Italy (and elsewhere in the world for that matter). This a bold statement to make about an extremely Catholic country home to that little thing called the Vatican. The ceiling of this basilica was truly awe-inspiring.
La Rocca is a medieval fortress located atop a hill. Within the fortress is a park that featured much signage about WWII history, leading me to believe that the fortress and the city itself played a key role in Italy’s fight during the war. The park also affords a view of Stadio Atleti Azzurri, the soccer stadium home to Bergamo’s team, Atalanta B.C.