Bergamo is located to the north-east of Milan on the foothills of the Italian Alps. The city can boast of a huge number of architectural attractions many tourists even didn’t know about.
Perhaps, this is because of the neighboring Milan considering more popular tourist destination as well as world’s fashion capital. On the way to Milan, travelers simply forget about everything except the Duomo, La Scala and, of course, shopping. In order to correct the injustices, this article is dedicated to the most beautiful and amazing attractions of Bergamo.
The city of Bergamo is conventionally divided into two parts – Citte Alta (upper town) and Citta Basso (lower town). The upper town has a special spirit of the Middle Ages thanks to the large number of historical buildings located here. Citta Basso is considered a modern part of Bergamo, but it also has some sights worth mentioning, among them are Cararra Academy Gallery and Santa Maria Immacolata delle Grazie.
Cararra Academy Gallery
Address: Bergamo, Piazza Giacomo Carrara, 82
Operating hours: Monday – Thursday: 9:00 – 19:00; Friday: 9:00 – 12:00; Saturday, Sunday and holidays: 9:00 – 20:00
Admission: 10 EUR
In the XVII century, a rich and famous collector and art historian Giacomo Carrara lived in Bergamo. Before he died, he bequeathed his entire collection of paintings to the city. The collection was so large, that city authorities even specially built neo-classical building which has housed the paintings to the present day.
In fact, the collection is much larger today and is represented with many paintings by Italian painters, bas-reliefs and sculptures, porcelain and furniture. The most famous museum exhibits are Saint Sebastian by Raphael, Madonna with Child by Andrea Mantegna as well as paintings by Rubens, Velázquez, Botticelli, Tiepolo, Canaletto, Pisanello and Moroni.
Santa Maria Immacolata delle Grazie
Address: Bergamo, Viale Papa Giovanni XXIII, 13
Operating hours: Monday – Saturday: 7:15 – 11:45; 16:00 – 19:00; Sunday: 7:00 – 12:30; 16:00 – 19:30
Emerald green Dome of Santa Maria Immacolata delle Grazie towers almost in the center of Citta Basso. This church is actually the first architectural attraction that tourists arriving to Bergamo train station can visit. It is built on the site of the former Franciscan monastery constructed in XV century.
Today, Santa Maria Immacolata delle Grazie is an impressive neoclassical building with big portal supported by massive columns. The interior is decorated with frescoes dating back to XVII – beginning of XX centuries.
As it was mentioned before, most important historical attractions are located within ancient walls of Citte Alta. Literally every second building there has some historical significance, so you can wander through the streets and enjoy ancient atmosphere of the city for hours from time to time taking breaks in cozy Italian cafes.
Fortress walls of Bergamo
Bergamo is among the five Italian cities with centers completely surrounded with fortress walls. The construction of walls took 27 years (from 1561 to 1588) and required destroying about 250 civilian buildings and 7 temples. The walls are 6,200 meters long and have an impressive height of up to 50 meters.
Except the walls themselves, the fortifications of Bergamo are represented by 14 bastions, 2 defensive platforms, about 100 loopholes, 4 gates and one watch tower (there were 32 of them, but only one has survived).
Today, everyone can have a stroll on the top of the walls enjoying beautiful views of the surrounding area and exploring the fortifications perfectly preserved to this day.
Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore
Address: Piazza Duom
Operating hours: Monday – Saturday: 8:30 – 12:30; 14:30 – 18:00; Sunday: 9:00 – 13:00; 15:00 – 18:00
Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore is the most beautiful church in Bergamo built in the XII century. Perhaps, its external appearance isn’t very impressive, rather quite the opposite, the church looks strict and even boring. It has a form of a high beige box, but with two very graceful Gothic porticoes that have slender marble columns supported by figures of lions.
In contrast to its exterior made in Romanesque style, the interior of the church is made in Baroque style and amazes visitors with its luxury and splendor decoration. The dome painted by famous Venetian Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, the walls and columns are decorated with tapestries by Flemish masters of the Renaissance period.
In the Basilica, Gaetano Donizetti is buried. He is quite famous Italian composer originally from Bergamo. And next to the Basilica, there is the ancient small Romanesque church built of rough stones in the X century.
Being considered the heart and symbol of Bergamo, Piazza Vecchia is the main square of the city located in the upper town. The architectural ensemble of Piazza Vecchia was formed in the Renaissance.
Nine hundred years old Palazzo della Ragione (Town Hall), the clock tower of the XII century called Campanone and medieval Domus Suardorum housing Bergamo University are located in the southern part of the square. In the northern part, there is four hundred years old building with white marble façade. It’s the Public Library Angelo Mai that stores more than half a million volumes of books.
A good half of the entire area of Piazza Vecchia is now occupied by the tables of coffeehouses and trattorias. After a cup of cappuccino, you can continue exploring Bergamo and climb the Campanone tower and enjoy magnificent views of the whole neighborhood from 53 meters height.
Bergamo isn’t very big city and exploring its attraction will take a few days maximum. Luckily, surrounding of Bergamo has what to offer even the most tempted tourists. There are a lot of beautiful natural landmarks and cozy Italian provincial towns attracting visitors by their calm and peaceful atmosphere. So, car rental is a quite logical solution allowing you to travel to Lake Como or Lake Iseo, see Cascate del Serio – the highest waterfall in Italy, admire beautiful alpine valleys. When searching for a rental car, try to choose the world’s leading car providers with good reputation. You can get cheaper rates when booking car online.
Author Bio: Lily Berns is a travel writer and she likes to share with interesting recommendations of visiting different places through her publications