Bergamo – Northern Italy’s Hidden Gem

Milan is one of the most interesting places to visit in Italy and is becoming an increasingly popular tourist destination. However, its also definitely worth visiting the forgotten yet hidden gem of Lombardy – Bergamo. 

Bergamo is at a stone’s throw from Milan (around 45 minutes by train) and can be a great day trip. I was so surprised how underrated this cute little city is as I felt it was most authentically Italian city i visited during my trip to Northern Italy – especially the old city, known as Citta Alta. This part of Bergamo is a maze of narrow alleys, gorgeous buildings and has some great viewpoints. 

Here’s a quick travel guide to this beautiful Italian city and the best things to do in Bergamo. 

Take the funicular up to the Citta Alta

The city is divided into two main parts, with a further sub-division once you reach High Bergamo (Citta Alta). This part of Bergamo dates back thousands of years and was built in the Roman era. 

Below, where the train station is, you will find the newer part of the city (though also dating back at least 5 centuries). We actually took the funicular walk up to the old city but then walked down to the new city. 

Visit the Tempietto di Santa Croce

This incredibly stunning ancient 11th century chapel is hidden in plain sight, so much so that my family walked straight past it. This best-kept secret in Bergamo gives you a glimpse of Bergamo history with its stone structure leaning on to one. 

Visit the Duomo di Bergamo

Bergamo was once home to two cathedrals but only one survives to this day. The Duomo di Bergamo (Bergamo’s cathedral) can be found right next to Piazza Vecchia, part of the Roman Catholic Church. 

Enjoy Coffee in the Piazza Vecchia

We really enjoyed just drinking Italian coffee in the Piazza Vecchia, the old town square. As it was the last day before Coronavirus Lockdown, the streets and the square was empty. Like many smaller Italian towns and cities, the prices of Bergamo are much less than those of Rome and Milan. 

We really enjoyed just drinking Italian coffee in the Piazza Vecchia, the old town square. As it was the last day before Coronavirus Lockdown, the streets and the square was empty. Like many smaller Italian towns and cities, the prices of Bergamo are much less than those of Rome and Milan. 

Walk through the Bergamo City Gate

The Venetian walls which characterise Bergamo start from the San Giacomo Gate, the old entrance to the city for those travelling to Bergamo from Milan. 

Venetian Walls

As we walked down the old city to the new city, we noticed the beautiful Venetian Walls surrounding the old city. Bergamo is heavily fortified by the Venetian Walls, which are now designated as a UNESCO world heritage site. The walls were constructed in the 16th century under the republic of Venice. Today, the renaissance era walls are some of the best-preserved walls standing in the world today. 

The complete loop stretches over 6km in length and walking along the high walls by foot is the best introduction you could have to the city. This one my parent’s favourite part of the day – just walking along the high walls and looking out at the beautiful views. 

Wander the cobbled streets

The best way to reveal Bergamo’s hidden gems is simply to allow the city to reveal itself to you. This Lombardy city is a place where its atmosphere needs to eb absorbed and you should just go where your feet takes you. 

Soak up the history of the beautiful ancient city. 

Do you have any questions about travelling to Bergamo that I didn’t answer? Be sure to leave them in the comments, and I’ll get back to you as quickly as possible 🙂

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