Bergamo Off The Beaten Path Tips by johngayton
Bergamo Off The Beaten Path: 82 reviews and 226 photos
This is a little known, elegant little church tucked away on the via San Salvatore. If I understand the website it dates from the early 18th century and is also known as Nostra Signora del Sacro Cuore di Gesu (Our Lady of the Sacred Heart). The painting "Ite ad Joseph" is one of its highlights as is the wonderfully ornate domed ceiling.
Although no longer used for mass it is still used for weddings - maybe that's why it is also known as the Church of the Desperate - HA!
We only found it because we had the services of the excellent guide, Guilia, from the tourist office.
Here's the PDF webpage which is well worth a visit -
My Personal Highlight!!
After a thoroughly enjoyable wine-tasting at Castello di Grumello it was time for lunch. This too had been organised from afar by the resourceful, and gorgeous, ElenaKKKK and was provided by the Agriturismo La Beccaccia (website below).
An "Agriturismo" is essentially a working farm which also offers accommodation and/or meals to the general public - tourists and locals. La Beccaccia is situated on a hill overlooking the town of Grumello del Monte, a short drive from the Castello.
Here we were treated to a couple of the house's pasta dishes, along with freshly picked salad leaves and of course more wine!! This made for an excellent finale to our morning out; being a relaxed slow affair with the restaurant staff keeping us topped up with everything. Particularly memorable was the "Venison-filled Ravioli, finished with parmesan and pancetta and even more so was the house's own Extra Virgin Olive Oil which when drizzled over the freshest of fresh baby salad leaves took them into another dimension.
Oh and the wine was more than drinkable too ;-HIC!
Tasting Table In The Knight's Hall
Even our guide who was showing us around and giving us the historical bit knew that that was just a warm up for the main event - the wine tasting. The area has been a wine producing region for thousands of years and the new owners of the Castello, the Reschigna Kettlitz family, have concentrated on producing high quality wines from their own vinyards which are fermented, matured and bottled on the premises.
They produce a total of six different styles, four red and two white, of which we got to taste one of the whites and three of the reds. The tasting took place in the Knight's Hall under the supervision of the winemaker Paolo Zadra and each wine was accompanied by an appropriately complimentary nibble.
First off was the Aurito Chardonnay which is bottle-aged for at least two years. This was a perfect Chardonnay, dry and crisp, with a full-frontal fruit. This came with Tellegio cheese, a local speciality, whose creamy ripeness let the wine's fuit have centre stage.
Next up was the house red - Valcalepio Rosso. This unfortunately I somehow managed to miss out on as I'd gotten involved in conversation and next time I caught my breath we were on to number 3. I did though manage to grab a slice of the Salame Bergamasco which it came with and that was a meaty nibble.
Third on the menu was their Riserva "Colle Calvario", a Cabarnet Sauvignon which is barrel aged and bottle finished. This had a wonderful Rioja-type back taste, having been aged for a minumum 5 years, and deep fruit flavour. It suited the richness of the foie gras, and vice versa, which it was served with although I could quite happily have quaffed a glass or two unaccompanied,
We completed the tasting with Moscato Passsito which was presented as a dessert wine. The winemaker informed us that this would be ideal with strong cheese - maybe a blue but in this instance he'd chosen chocolatecake. I was a bit dubious, not being one for either dessert wines or chocolatecake, but with an open mind I gave it a chance. It worked. The wine isn't as sweet as most dessert wines and with a powerful alchohol content (16%) takes on more of a fortified wine character. The cake, similarly, was made with a top quality bitter chocolate and the two melded perfectly - certainly by the time I'd managed my third glass.
Then it was down to the cellars to see the things working before getting the chance to make our purchases which I had to pass on since I wasn't traavelling with excess space.
Excellent morning out.
To get there we arrived by private coach which Elena had organised but if you want to go by public transport there are regular trains from Bergamo to Grumello del Monte and the journey takes just over twenty minutes - see www.trenitalia.it for timetables and fares.
For an interesting, educational and historical, day out from Bergamo a visit to the Castello di Grumello is well worth looking at. The original castle was built sometime after 1000 AD as a defensive outpost overlooking the town of Grumello del Monte and the villages in the area In its early years it was owned and garrisoned by the local community. It was gifted to the Pope's appointee, Cardinal Guglielmo Longo, sometime in the early 1300's and ownership changed several times until the relative peace brought about by the Venetian takeover of the region from 1428.
In the 18th century the castle was converted into a stately home with the addition of the palace and the chapel whilst the Medieval tower, cellars, knights hall and some of the battlements were retained. The present day castle is still under private ownership, by the Milanese Reschigna Kettlitz family who have developed it as a winery and conference centre.
Our visit, as a group, was organised by our very own ElenaKKKK who did an amazing job of first selecting it as a possible day trip and then arranging everything from the far flung Tiaga of Northern Russia.
Whilst the historical stuff was interesting that wasn't the main reason for our visit - see next tip!
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