"A tale of two (Italian) cities" Top 5 Page for this destination Bergamo by toonsarah
Bergamo Travel Guide: 1,105 reviews and 4,402 photos
Bergamo is a city of two halves – or maybe arguably three! The more modern part is Città Bassa, the “low city”, and the name is a clue to its location, at the foot of the hill that is home to Città Alta, the “upper city”. It was in the latter that I spent most of my time, and it became very definitely my favourite. With beautiful churches (especially the stunning Santa Maria Maggiore), winding cobbled streets leading to sudden views of the plains below, ancient tower houses and the marvellous Piazza Vecchia, this is Italy at its most charming.
Above Città Alta is the third part of the city, San Vigilio, linked to it (as is Alta to Bassa) by a funicular railway. Each part of the city has its own character and merits exploration.
The centre of Bassa is relatively modern and commercial, though it has some buildings of note, in particular from the 1930s. It also has the railways station, plenty of hotels and the expected modern shops etc. It is a convenient base for your trip (though we preferred to stay in Alta) but for me lacks the character of the older parts of the city. However, away from the grand avenues, some neighbourhoods still retain the character of the time when people first spread down here from Alta. Unfortunately I didn’t have the opportunity to explore Bassa as thoroughly as I would have liked so these I will investigate for sure should I return to Bergamo one day.
Alta though is special! It has an enviable hill-top location, surrounded by its medieval walls and with extensive views over Bassa to the plains beyond. It oozes history and is a photographer’s dream!
San Vigilio feels more like a village, or at least an affluent suburb. It has castle ruins, smart-looking villas and even better views than Alta, including views of the rooftops and towers of Alta itself. It is a great vantage point from which to appreciate the charms of this lovely corner of Italy.
A few words of explanation ...
Visiting a destination for a Euromeeting is, I have found, not quite the same as visiting it independently. Your impressions are coloured by those of others around you, and by the fact that you are focusing as much on socialising as on sightseeing. But as i stayed on for a while to see more of Bergamo with Chris, who had joined us part way through the weekend, my Bergamo experience is a mix of Euromeeting and independent exploration.
For instance: there are lots of great places to eat in Bergamo, and plenty of local dishes to try. My favourite of these was Casoncelli, a delicious pasta dish with ravioli-like pockets stuffed with sausage-meat served with bacon lardons, butter, grated cheese and sage – yummy! I haven’t written reviews of the restaurants where we had the group meals, however, as I think it’s unfair to judge a place by the catering they provide for a large group, and also without any menu options I would be judging them on dishes that I might not normally have chosen. But I have included restaurants I visited with Chris and with smaller groups of Vters for “unscheduled” pit stops!
I have linked my tips to form a narrative of my time in Bergamo (though I have rearranged them just a little to give more coherence). If you would like to follow them in this order, please start here with my train journey to the city. Of course you can also read the tips in sections if you prefer to get see all the sights at once, move on to all those delicious meals and so on. Whichever way you read it, I hope you enjoy my impressions of Bergamo.
- In a nutshell:A wonderful location for a VT meeting!
The Città Alta or Upper City is the original Bergamo, dating back to the time of the Celts who built a fortified town on... more travel advice
After early registration and “First Timers’ drinks”, a small group of seven of us set of in search of a restaurant for... more travel advice
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