On one of my round trips through Lombardy I also made a stop in Bergamo. I liked the city – especially the Città Alta – so much that I planned a longer stay there on another trip to Italy. Before my city trip to Bergamo I asked myself: What should I have seen in Bergamo?
During my long weekend I visited the sights in the upper town – the Città Alta of Bergamo. The Città Bassa also has its charms. But you will find the old and culturally rich Bergamo in the old town on the hill.
From my stay in Bergamo, I brought five answers to the question: What should you have seen in Bergamo?
5 places to see in Bergamo!
- Venetian Walls and Gates
- Piazza Vecchia and the Campanone
- Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore
- Cappella Colleoni
- Rocca di Bergamo
1| Venetian Walls and Gates
Before you reach the old town, the old Venetian walls and gates can be seen from afar. The city, which sits quietly on top of the hill, looks sublime and a little mysterious. What may be behind this?
A beautiful medieval town with narrow streets, cobblestone streets and beautiful squares from which you can see the whole surrounding area. Many of these beautiful viewpoints are located on the city wall.
One morning I did a 30-minute jogging tour along the city walls and gates. It was simply fantastic to see the sun slowly rising behind the hills and the region illuminating red-gold.
In any case you should take the time to walk along the Venetian city walls.
Duration of stay: 1 hour walk
2| Piazza Vecchia and the Campanone
Once you enter the city, the old alleys will inevitably lead you to Piazza Vecchia during your city walk. This is the central point of the historic centre of Bergamo. There are also some places of interest in Bergamo that you should visit.
As in every Italian city, there is also a campanone in the central square. What do you have to see in Bergamo? In any case the city and the region from the observation deck of the Campanone. Costs 5,- Euro. Elevator is available.
The Piazza Vecchia is an ideal place to watch the hustle and bustle of the old town in the Cittá alta with a delicious ice cream.
Duration of stay: 30-60 minutes
3| Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore
I am a passionate churchgoer – when it comes to sightseeing. In Piazza Vecchia there is the church of Santa Maria Maggiore, another worthwhile sight in Bergamo.
The church in the Città Alta of Bergamo is special in its way. Because the typical facade is missing. It was destroyed with the construction of the adjacent Cappella Colleoni, also worth seeing.
Therefore, in contrast to the neighbouring cathedral, the church initially looks quite unspectacular. The sober façade is only enhanced artistically by the two Romanesque-Lombard lions supporting the portal. The inside stands in perfect contrast to this.
Artfully decorated interior
After entering the church I am welcomed by baroque fireworks. Richly decorated stucco work on ceilings and columns lets me stop abruptly right at the entrance. My head moves from the columns to the ceiling and back again.
During the tour through the church you can admire other handcrafted jewels in the church: a wooden confessional, tapestries and tombs. The final resting place of the opera composer Gaetano Donizzetti is also in the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore.
Length of stay: 30 minutes inside
4| Cappella Colleoni
When I first stood in front of the complex, I thought the entrance to the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore was on the right. But far from it. Through this magnificent entrance you enter the Capella Colleoni.
It contains “only” the tomb of Bartolomeo Colleoni. The Capella Colleoni does not carry his name for nothing. He commissioned them.
The Capella Colleoni is probably the best example of the Lombard artists’ love of jewellery compared to the austere and sober architecture of the Tuscan master builders.
Duration of stay: 15 minutes
5| Rocca di Bergamo
Perhaps one of the most beautiful places in the city to look over the Bergamo countryside is the Rocca di Bergamo – the fortress. From here you have a breathtaking view over the region. If the weather is fine, all the way to Milan.
The fortress dates from the 14th century. Inside there is a museum, which costs admission.
The outdoor facilities can be visited free of charge. There you can discover war equipment from the two world wars of the 20th century – tanks, howitzers and other militaria.
Duration of stay: 30-60 minutes
What do you have to see in Bergamo?
A lot of things. The Città Alta of Bergamo is ideal for a day trip. However, you can also have a great time here on a short trip and discover even more of this wonderfully situated old town.
You should not miss the physical pleasures either. The Lombard cuisine has some specialities. I would especially like to recommend a visit to the hidden “Lalimentari”. Here – in Via Tassis – I dined every evening during my stay.