Bergamo is an administrative center of an Italian province of the same name. It’s a relatively small city with a population of only about 120 thousand people. Surprisingly, Bergamo manages to attract a lot of tourists from around the world and even starts to compete in popularity with neighboring Milan located in 50 km. In fact, there are quite significant reasons of such good reputation of Bergamo as a touristic city and here are a few of them.

Photo credit: Nico Trinkhaus – Golden Bergamo, Italy – CC-BY-NC

Bergamo is a very ancient city with a rich history

It’s known that Bergamo had already existed, before it became a Roman colony in 49 BC, but it was the Romans who gave the city its name.

Bergamo prospered and even could boast of a relatively large population of about 10,000 people. Situations changed with the advent of the numerous Germanic tribes on the borders of the empire. The Great Migration of People along with the Hunnic Invasion took place. In the 5th century, Bergamo was destroyed by the Attila’s army.

The next period of Bergamo’s prosperity is associated with the Republic of Venice. The Venetians came to power here in 1428 and successfully developed the city in the areas of trade and production of fabrics. During the reign of the Venetians, almost all significant historical attractions that survived to our days were built.

The city has many buildings with a great historical significance

Bergamo conditionally consists of two separate towns. The first one is so-called Upper Town towering at the top of the hill. It’s completely surrounded with fortifications and houses, all major historical attractions. Another part of Bergamo, located at the foot of the hill, is considered a modern city, although there are a few centuries-old buildings, too.

If you want to quickly get acquainted with the most famous historical landmarks of Bergamo, then take a funicular trip to the Upper Town. You should start sightseeing from the major city square called Vecchia and then go down the cobble streets to the Venetian Walls overlooking residential and business districts.

Among the attractions you must definitely visit are:

– clock tower Campanone on the Vecchia square
– Bergamo Cathedral – Basilica of St. May Major on the Duomo square.

The clock tower, dating back to the 12th century, is equipped with an observation desk and even elevator for the laziest visitors. The tower has a height of 53 meters and, if taking into account that it stands at the top of the hill, it offers truly amazing views of the neighboring valleys and mountains.

Bergamo is located in a very picturesque region

The city is situated at the foot of Bergamasque Alps, where numerous ski resorts are located. If you go further to the north of the mountains, you’ll find an amazing Valtellina valley, world-known for its beautiful landscapes with majestic glaciers, alpine rivers and lakes, vast meadows, orchards and vineyards.

In about 25 km from Bergamo, there is another popular natural attraction represented with thermal springs of San Pellegrino Terme. It has been a famous Italian spa-resort since the beginning of the 19th century. Nowadays, the resort is completely restored and offers modern methods of treatment based on the latest scientific and technological developments.

But without a doubt, the real gems of the region are the lakes of Como, Endine, Iseo and Garda located on reachable distance from Bergamo. The nearest one is the Lake Iseo in 20km to the east. People come here not to lie on the beach, in fact, there are only a few special places where it’s allowed to swim, but to enjoy fishing, boating, sailing, doing various water sports and simply strolling along the embankment from time to time visiting restaurants to taste local  cuisine.

Bergamo’s cuisine is adored by tourists

As people in the rest of Lombardy, Bergamo residents can’t live without polenta – a thick porridge made of boiled cornmeal. Usual breakfast for all townspeople is polenta e osei, which is a small polenta cakes filled with tasty jam. The most popular dinner dish is polenta taragna – porridge made of corn and buckwheat flour with little slices of cheese. People of Bergamo are also proud of their skills of cooking a special kind of ravioli that can be savory and sweet at once.

In Bergamo there are a lot of gastronomic establishments specializing in different kinds of cuisines. Here you will be able to find both luxury restaurants for romantic events and cozy family cafes with tasty and healthy food.

For instance, if you would like to try some dishes of local cuisine without spending a lot of money, you can drop in Trattoria Parietti. In addition to a nice selection of available dishes, you’ll also enjoy a pleasant atmosphere and very kind staff.

Connoisseurs of Italian cuisine should also visit the Da Mimmo restaurant. It’s very popular thanks to a great choice of pizza and pasta, unique seafood dishes and the best Italian wines. The restaurant operates until late evening and also offers an interesting cultural program.

Local people – another pleasant bonus of staying in Bergamo

People of Bergamo have a special temperament. They like to take leisurely walks along the ancient Venetian Walls, they like to show emotions and usually a rich gesticulation is peculiar to them. They don’t hide heads and don’t shy to smile at the passing strangers.

When wandering through the Bergamo’s streets you’ll feel how the air is full of positive energy and a strong desire to live a fuller life!

Want to find out a secret of such cheerfulness of the local people? The only way to do it is to go on an independent travel to the neighboring provincial towns and villages. Good knowledge of Italian or Spanish is recommended. You’ll also need your own car that you can rent right at Bergamo airport.

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