Travel Guide Europe Italy Lombardy Bergamo



Bergamo is a city in Lombardy in the north of Italy. It is located roughly 40 kilometres northeast of Milan and has about 125,000 inhabitants. The upper town is a fantastic old medieval town and the region is great to explore as well, with the foothills of the Alps just starting outside the city. Its medieval, Renaissance and baroque architecture is a real attraction for travellers, but not for people who decide to live in the older part of the city: properties cost millions of dollars/euros!




  • Upper city - the citta alta
  • Lower city - the citta bassa



Sights and Activities

The Upper city is a medieval town with surrounding 17th century defensive walls that were converted into a wonderful green promenade in the XIX century. In the Upper City, the most important sights are:

  • The Visconti citadel (Citadella), an old Visconti building where now there are the Archaeological Civic Museum and the Natural History Museum Caffi
  • Piazza Vecchia, the center of the Upper City
  • Contarini Fountain, a wonderful fountain in the center of Piazza Vecchia
  • Palazzo della Ragione, the former seat of the administration of the city, built during the 12th century, rebuilt in the late 16th century.
  • Palazzo Nuovo, in which there is the Angelo Mai library, the most important library in the city
  • Podestà Palace, the symbol of the Venetian Domination. In it you can visit the interactive museum about Bergamo history during the XV century.
  • Campanone or Civic Tower in Piazza Vecchia, from the top of it you can enjoy a spectacular view of the city
  • Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, built between the 12th and 15th century, one of the most important church in Bergamo
  • Cappella Colleoni, a mausoleum that represents Bergamo’s finest example of Renaissance architecture
  • The Baptistery, dating back to 1340, it is near the Colleoni Chapel
  • Dome/Cathedral of Bergamo, completed in the second half of the nineteenth century, it has also a museum which tells the history of Bergamo’s Dome starting in the fifth century A.D.
  • Fortress (or Rocca), built during the 14th century, it houses the Historical Museum about Italian Independence wars.
  • Church of Saint Michael at the white well, a really nice church from 12th century church with some paintings by Lorenzo Lotto
  • Lorenzo Rota botanic garden, a 2,400 square meter botanic garden
  • Upper Town Funicular, a nice way to reach the Upper City
  • San Vigilio Funicular, a cable car used to reach the San Vigilio hill near Città Alta
  • Theater of society, a theater restored and reopened in 2009
  • Steps, little rocky steps used to access the Upper Town
  • Gombito Tower, a symbol of the city, built in the early thirteenth century. It is 52 meters tall
  • Former convent of St. Agostino, it consist of a church, with a Gothic facade, and a cloister, today home to the University of Bergamo
  • Birthplace of Gaetano Donizetti, the house in which the composer was born
  • Donizetti Museum, an important museum about Donizetti, the composer from Bergamo

Although the lower city is mainly a residential and modern part of Bergamo there are a few sights here as well:

  • Carrara Academy art gallery, One of Italy’s most important art galleries
  • Gamec, Gallery of modern and contemporary art, that includes paintings, sculptures, engravings and photographs along with medals, industrial designs, video installations and films.
  • Donizetti Theatre, one of the civic theater in Bergamo
  • Church of Saints Bartholmew and Stephan
  • Church of St. Alexander in column, a particular church that outside has a column where Saint Alexander is said to have been tortured
  • Church of St. Bernardine in Pignolo street, Bergamo’s most aristocratic road
  • Sentierone, built in 1620, it is a paved route that connected the commercial districts
  • Adriano Bernareggi Diocesan Museum, a museum that displays liturgical objects, images of worship and works from the Bergamo area, especially paintings of religious themes

Of course the city is a good base in winter to go skiing on the slopes of the Alps.




Bergamo enjoys quite a nice climate with usually warm, sunny and dry summers but with sometimes heavy rainshowers and thunderstorms during this time. Summers last from June to September with temerpatures between 25 °C and 29 °C on most days, nights averaging around 15 °C. Winters last from December to February when temperatures are around 5 °C or 6 °C during the day, and around zero at night. Up in the mountains temperatures drop significantly and snow carpets last for months. It's a good base to go skiing.
Precipitation is evenly distributed throughout the year, with some more rainy days in spring (March-early May) but heavier showers in autumn (October-early November).



Getting There

By Plane

Orio al Serio Airport (BGY) near Bergamo serves a large number of European cities, mainly with lowcoast airlines. It also serves as a great alternative for flying to Milan, about 45 kilometres away. Especially Ryanair has quite a few flights throughout Europe. Cities with connections to and from Bergamo include Alghero, Alicante, Bari, Berlin, Bratislava, Bremen, Brindisi, Bristol, Brussels, Cagliari, Dublin, Eindhoven, Fez, Frankfurt, Girona, Glasgow, Gothenburg, Granada, Ibiza, Krakow, Liverpool, London, Lübeck, Madrid, Malaga, Manchester, Nantes, Oslo, Palermo, Paris, Pescara, Porto, Riga, Rome, Santander, Seville, Stockholm, Tangier, Tampere, Valencia, Valladolid, and Zaragoza. Several more budget airlines serve Bergamo including SkyEurope (Prague, Wizzair (mainly Poland) and a few more mainly to Tunisia, Egypt, Morocco and destinations in eastern Europe, like Tirana, Timisoara and Bratislava.

To/from the airport

  • Bus: Terravision and Autostradale run a service between the airport and the central station in Milan city centre. ATM runs a bus service between the airport and the railway station.
  • Rail: There is a direct Airport Bus from Bergamo railway station to the airport provided by the local transport company of Bergamo, the trip costs €1.70 and takes 15 minutes. From Bergamo railway station there are trains to Milan, Brescia and Lecco.

Although further away, the Milan Malpensa Airport (MXP) is a convenient way of arriving as well. The airport has connections to many major cities in Europe. There are also several flights to the Middle East, North America and North Africa every day. These include destinations like Baku, Marrakech and New York to name a few.
Milan Linate Airport (LIN) is another smaller airport near Milan and has many domestic destinations. There are limited flights to cities in western and northern Europe.
The Malpensa and Linate airports are linked by a bus system and takes 40 minutes to get between them.
Milan has hourly buses and trains to Bergamo (see below).

By Train

Ferrovie dello Stato (FS), the national railway carrier, has trains to and from Bergamo. Destinations include Milan (hourly, 45 minutes), Brescia (50 minutes) and Cremona (2 hours).

By Bus

Sab Autoservizi (website in Italian) offers buses throughout the region's lakes and mountainous areas.
Regular buses connects Bergamo to Milan as well.



Getting Around

By Car

Parking spaces are limited in the upper city and non-local traffic is prohibited on the weekends.

By Public Transport

The upper and lower city are connected by funicular/cable car.

By Foot

Most of the city can be negotiated on foot easily and there are footpaths connecting the upper and lower city. You can also choose to take a funicular/cable car up and walk back down. The most picturesque way to get to the Upper City is by the Steps, rocky little street where you can have a wonderful sightseeing of the city and its surroundings.




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Keep Connected


Almost all towns and cities in Italy have internet cafes. A growing number of budget hostels and nicer hotels have free Wifi. By law all public-access internet points must keep records of web sites viewed by customers, and even the customer's ID: expect to be refused access if you don't provide identification. Hotels providing Internet access are not required to record IDs if the connection is provided in the guest's room, although if the connection is offered in the main public hall then IDs are required. Publicly available wireless access without user identification is illegal, so open Wi-Fi hotspots (like the ones you might expect to find in a mall or cafée) all have some form of (generally one-time) registration.


See also: International Telephone Calls

The main networks are TIM (Telecom Italia Mobile, part of Telecom Italia, formerly state controlled), Vodafone, Wind, and 3 (only UMTS cellphones). Best advice is to buy a prepaid SIM card (from € 10 upwards) and a cheap mobile phone (€ 19 upwards) to put it in (if you don't have a cellphone already that you can use). It will be much more practical. All land line numbers start with 0. Mobile numbers start with 3. Numbers starting with 89 are high-fee services. In case of emergency call the appropriate number from the list below. Such calls are usually free and calls to 112, 113 (police), 115 (fire), 118 (health) can be made from payphones for free without the need of inserting coins. 112 (standard emergency number in GSM specification) can be dialed in any case for free from any mobile phone.


Post Italiane is the national postal services of Italy and has quite an efficient network of postal offices and reliable postal services. Standard letters and postcards (up to 20 grams) cost €0.39 to send within Europe and the Mediterranean countries outside Europe and €0.41 to all other destinations throughout the country. Up to 50 grams, prices start at €0.52 for Europe, €0.62 for other areas. Packages start at €1.55 within Europe, and around €2.50 for other countries. Post office business hours in Italy are from 8:30am to 2:00pm from Monday to Friday, with closing times at Saturday and the last day of the month at 12 noon. In general, larger post offices in bigger cities and in tourist areas keep longer hours than those in local towns. Also note that business hours in the south might be different than the north, with longer hours at night, especially in summer! If you want to send packages you might try faster and more reliable/efficient private courier companies like TNT, UPS or DHL.


Accommodation in Bergamo

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