Bergamo Things to Do Tips by suvanki Top 5 Page for this destination
Bergamo Things to Do: 337 reviews and 779 photos
The stunning staircase
Behind an undistinguished doorway not far from the Funicular station (so undistinguished it took me and Gillybob a couple of attempts to find it, despite the No 12, we couldn't see any sign that this was the right address) is a 'Secret Treasure' - The Palazzo Moroni.
A chance meeting during our final reccy before Eurmeet, had led to us being introduced to Guja
Ajolfi, the curator of this Palace, which is rarely opened to the public - Open Days are held a few times a year, certainly not to individuals.
Guja had agreed to open up the 17th Century Palazzo for our VT Eurmeet attendees - we decided that the Friday afternoon would be the best time, and around 40 members from all corners of the world found their way to the entrance. The doorway had been opened, revealing the entrance vestibule and a bit of the courtyard.
For information about the history of the Palace/meet etc, click on the link below.
EurMeet 2012 visit to Palazzo Moroni
When we were all assembled, we entered a room, where we handed over our entrance fee to the bemused lady - I don't think that she'd ever had so many photos taken of herself
Guja then made a short welcome and introduction to the Palace speech, before leading us up a stunning staircase, rich with frescoed walls, that had VTers in camera frenzy mode.
We had been warned that we were OK to take photo's outside, and on the stairs, but NOT in the rooms - Yes, I'm afraid that some still couldn't resist 'taking a sneaky shot'
Guja explained the history of the palace, paintings and articles in each room in great detail, and with great enthusiasm - it was clear how passionate she was about the Palazzo.
To be continued...
Address: Palazzo Moroni, 12, Via Porta Dipinta, Citta Alta
Directions: From the Upper Funicular Station, exit into Pz Delle Mercato Scarpe (The Market Square of the Shoemakers)and take the R. hand street - Via Porta Dipinta (The Street of the Painted Door) the Palazzo is at No. 12, on the left hand side of the street.
Monument to the Partisans of the Italian Resistanc
This statue was a bit of a shock, while enjoying our Sunday morning stroll. It is located in Piazza Matteotti and shows a man hanging by his shackled feet. I wasn't quite sure quite what this represented, but looked it up when I returned home. I would have liked to have had longer to look at it
Created by Giacomo Manzu (real name Manzoni) who was born in Bergamo on December 22nd 1908. This bronze is titled "Monument to the Partisan" which he gave as a gift to the city of his birth in 1977.
Manzoni died on January 17th (or 18th) 1991
Via Sant Alessandro
Leaving Via XX Settembre, and turning Right, brings you onto Via Sant Alessandro, another shopping street.
Named after Saint Alexander (Sant'Alessandro) of Bergamo - the patron saint of Bergamo, whom the Cathedral of Bergamo is dedicated to. There are other Churches around the city also dedicated to him
Along this street is a stone column, in front of the church (pic 2)- S. Alessandro in Colonna (column)
The column was constructed in 1618, from pieces of various Roman ruins, though their original origins and purpose aren't clear. A bit of 17th Century re-cycling!
The column is believed to be on the exact site where Alessandro was finally executed/martyred on August 26th 303 (or 298) by Romans. According to Wikipedia, he'd escaped execution at least 3 times, before his luck ran out. He was persecuted for his refusal to renounce his religion.
26th August is The Festival day of the Saint. In 2010, for the first time, the Festivities included a costumed re-enactment of the martyrdom at this site.
The church, which was closed at the time of my visit, was re-built on the site of an older church, in the 18th Century. The campanile was added in the early 20th Century. Outside is a water fountain
Inside are some paintings that are reported to be worth seeing;
"The Martyrdom of St Alexander" and "The Transfiguration" by Enea Talpino dating to 1629
"Deposition from the Cross" by Lorenzo Lotto -1517
"Transportation of the corpse of S. Alessandra" by Gian Paolo Cavagna.
Another good 'People Watching' spot, either from the steps of the church, or at one of the outside tables of the nearby Varadero bar.
Address: Via Sant Alessandro
Directions: San Leonardo Borgo, Citta Bassa
From Porta Nuova, head through Piazza G Matteotti, to Via XX Settembre, continue to the end and turn Right onto Via San Alessandro.
Piazza Giacomo Matteotti
Another of Citta Bassas attractive thoroughfares - grassed lawns, flower beds and statues spread out in front of the Palazzo Frizzoni-Bergamo Town Hall. This building was designed by Rodolfo Vantini, and dates to 1836
The Piazza is named after the Socialist politician Giacomo Matteotti, who publically denounced the fascist regime in publications and in Parliament. Eleven days after his open denouncement against fraud by the fascists in the recent elections, he was brutally murdered by his oppressors.
At my recent visit, there was a lively food market in the Piazza. At an earlier visit, I witnessed the end of a cycle race here.
At the edge of the Piazza near Porta Nuova is the thought provoking Monument to the Partisans
The Piazza leads into Via XX Settembre, Bergamo's main shopping street.
Address: Piazza G Matteotti 24122 Bergamo BG, Italy
Directions: From Via Papa Giovanni facing Citta Alta, pass through Porta Nuova on the left side and You're nearly there
Largo Nicolo Rezzara
At the end of Via XX Settembre, is the very attractive Largo Nicolo Rezzara, with its' impressive arched portico
This square is the heart of the Borgo (neighbourhood) Sant Leonardo, and has a pleasant atmosphere.
The Church of San Leonardo nestles into the square. It was closed at the time of our visit
This square and the adjacent Piazza Pontida was the early commercial centre of Bergamo. In the 15th Century, merchants traded from the portico and surrounding area. Luxurious textiles such as silk, Velvet and quality woolen cloths would attract traders. Farmers also traded here.
Piazza Pontida was known as known as Cinque Vie (five roads), as roads from Treviglio, Crema, Lecco and Milan converged here, all forming trading routes in and out of the city.
A building in Piazza Pontida, was the setting for a speech made byGiuseppe Mazzini, (a compatriate of Giuseppe Garibaldi) on 3rd August 1848, imploring the citizens of Bergamo to help in the uprising against Austrian occupation.
A plaque on the building commemorates the occasion (pic 4)
Strolling from Piazza Pontida, we found ourselves in the enchanting Vicolo dei Dottori, where people were eating at tables, with inset 'miniature gardens'!. I would have liked to linger here, the buildings had quite a bit of character - ah well, next time!
This is a pleasant area to just stroll around, looking up, and exploring the 'nooks and crannies'
Address: San Leonardo Borgo, Citta Bassa
Via XX Settembre
For a spot of retail therapy, this is the street to head to.
Wall to wall designer shops - clothes, footwear, handbags, sportswear, beauty products, jewellery, linens, phones and gadgets etc.
Trussardi, Fratelli Rossetti, Sisley, Stefanel, Calvin Klein, Zara and DEV are just a few of the shops here.
It's pedestrianised, so no need to worry about traffic.
If you don't intend spending any money, it's a good place for people watching! The buildings are quite attractive too, with some impressive facades.
The entrance to Galleria Mazzoleni (pic 4) belies the modern glass and chrome interior.
Shops on Via XX Settembre
Address: Via XX Settembre, 24122 Citta Bassa Bergamo
Directions: From Via Papa Giovanni, head through Porta Nuova on the left side, and Piazza G Matteotti leads onto Via XX Settembre
From San Vigilio - Torre Gombito 2nd from Left
Gillbob and I visited the Tourist Information (TI) Office to meet Lucia in order to arrange one of our guided walks. She mentioned the Torre Gombito and kindly offered to show us the views from the top of the Tower. The staircase had recently been renovated and brought 'upto standard' under strict supervision, due to its historical value. I was surprised to find that the entrance was through the back of the TI office.
Well, luckily, I hadn't seen the 'Requirements to be observed' prior to our assent, or I might have been daunted and chickened out - being mildly claustrophobic for starters.
The only way up/down is on foot - There is NO LIFT - For an alternative Birds Eye View, for anyone with mobility/breathing problems, the Torre Civica/Bell Tower in Piazza Vecchie has a lift.
The climb started with a fairly wide opening, but nearer the top, it became quite narrow. Views over the nearby streets and over the rooftops through narrow open windows on the way up/down, give a good excuse to stop for a breather!
It was a pleasant surprise on arriving at the top, that the March sun was so warm, with a gentle cooling breeze!
Well the panoramic view was well worth the climb! Lucia pointed out landmarks to us.
The Gombito Tower - History 'From the TI sheet'
The tower was constructed in the 12th Century, at the intersection of Via San Lorenzo, Via Mario Lupo and Via Gombito, which were where the Roman cardus and decumanus maximus streets met. Its purpose being for defense of the Upper Town.
During battling between the rival Suardi (Guelph Party) and Rivola (Ghibelline party) families in 1206, the tower caught fire.
Bartolomeo del Zoppo gained ownership of Torre Gombito in 1263.
The tower was rebuilt during the Gothic period - until 1383, the tower and adjoining house were a single unit, joined by a passageway.
From the 16th Century, the tower underwent some reconstruction to convert it into a workshop, which unfortunately lessened the structures stability.
In 1848, the tower was occupied by patriotic rebels who were against Austrian domination. The nearby fortress of Rocca contained the Austrian army, and the rebels intended to oust them from their barricade. The Austrian authorities in retaliation, destroyed the internal wooden staircase, thereby preventing an adventageous view point.
In 1887, the tower became too expensive for the owners, ( Agliardi, Arnoldi and Gout) to maintain, let alone replace the staircase, and it was donated to the Municipiality. The staircase was eventually repaired in 1892.
Further restoration/renovation was carried out in 1913, 1935, and 1997.
A major project of consolidation and restoration was planned in 1998, with the commission going to Marco Verdina (engineer) and Sandro and Tito Spini (Sculptors). The work was carried out between 1998-2002
A further diagnostic and structural study of the staircase and ceilings was conducted by Pier Paolo Rossi - an engineer, which resulted in further structural improvements to the woodwork.
The masonry was found to be 'technically perfect', and the structural features were recognised as being executed with considerable skill!
So, now that it's structure can be vouched for .....
Climbing the Tower - Info from the TI Office/ Comune Di Bergamo
The Free tour lasts 30 minutes - You need to reserve in advance through the TI Office. Each visit is limited to 6 people due to the narrow stairs, and also to ensure that at the top it isn't too crowded.
Monday & Friday - 14.30 - 16.30
Saturday, Sunday and Public Holidays 10.00 - 12.00/ 14.30 - 16.30
*Comfortable shoes are recommended - in case of rain, the steps may become slippery
*Not recommended for people with heart disease, claustrophobia, pregnant women or people with walking/breathing difficulties - I'd also add people who suffer from Vertigo!
*During the ascent/descent you must walk near to the wall, and not lean over the railings.
*Children admitted if accompanied by a responsible adult, who must be held by hand due to some of the uneven steps
* Animals not allowed
"The City Hall of Bergamo disclaims any responsibility for non-compliance with these requirements"
The TI Office opens daily
09.00 - 12.30 and 14.00-17.30
Address: Via Gombito, 13, Citta Alta
Directions: Citta Alta
From the Upper Funicular Station, head forward along Via Gombito, The TI Office is at No 13, on the Left Side
Phone: +39 035 242226
Website: http://turismo @comune.bg.it
Poste e telegrafi - Exterior
The main post office in Bergamo is worth a visit to check out the Fascist styled architecture.
It was designed by Angiolo Mazzoni, who was the Chief architect for The Ministery of Communications and also for the State Railways, during the period of the Fascist regime in Italy.
Constructed from brownstone, it features a clock tower and long windows.
Check out the columns, topped with verdi gris statues, and the 'spread - Eagle' bas relief. There is also a small pool and fountain
The building was intended to impress the people of Bergamo, equating the Fascist era with 'progress'
Peeping inside, you get an idea of its impressive scale. Glass lamps and works of art add to the grandeur.
Works of art hang on the walls, including pieces by Mario Sironi, who was commisioned in 1934.
Open -Monday to Friday: 08.30 - 19.00. Saturdays: 08.30 – 12.30
Stamps and postcards can also be bought in Tabacceria (Tobacconists).
There is one near the Upper funicular station on Via Gambito, also Via Papa Giovanni in Citta Bassa
Address: Via Masoni/Via Antonio Locatelli 11 24121
Directions: CITTA BASSA
Facing the lower funicular station , walk to the right to the Antonio Locatelli memorial, and head down Via Antonio Locatelli on the Left hand side - turn Left into Via Masoni and you're here.
Phone: +39 035 4532211
Bergamo and beyond
Included in the museum ticket, is access to the tower and its 360 degree view over Bergamo and beyond.
I had the views all to myself - I'd left it until late afternoon for my visit, so was lucky to capture some sunset shots over the terracotta tiled roof tops. I also captured the views on video - (Check my Bergamo Videos)
I enjoyed the views over the rooftops to the landmark buildings clustered around the centre of Citta Alta, then noticed the patterns of the roofs and tiles. In close-up, many of the tiles had miniature roof gardens of small flowers and grasses/mosses sprutting on and between them.
Don't forget your camera/video and binoculars!!
Address: Via Rocca, Citta Alta, Bergamo
Entrance to Memorial Park
It is difficult to imagine this peaceful park, was once part of the execution ground for Bergamasque partisan prisoners whose 'crime' might have been to have been found 'owning arms' . This was during the repressive Austrian occupation of Bergamo.
Although it is not certain how many citizens werre executed here, there is a tombstone near to the steps leading to the Monastery of St Francis, inscribed with names of some of the partisans
Around the walls of the fortress and dotted around the grounds are memorials to those who've lost their lives in various campaigns through the centuries at home and abroad. There are also plaques commemorating the Bergamo branch of the Red Cross, founded in 1864, one of the first in Italy
On the wall of a square tower is a huge anchor, which is part of a memorial to sailors.(pic 4)
Also, old armoured vehicles and bomb cases from the World Wars are situated next to seating areas (pic 3)
The park is stocked with established trees, shrubs and flowers.
Worth a walk for the views over Bergamo.
Address: Via Rocca
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