I find it’s often the places that are closest that you don’t end up visiting, thinking “I’ll do that one day; I’ve got time for that” and then ending up with no time and no visit. I wanted to avoid that with Bergamo, just an hour by train from Milan, as I had heard it is very beautiful and easy to visit in a couple of hours.
The key attraction of Bergamo is it’s Citta Alta, the “high” part of the city which features cobblestone streets, Venetian walls and a number of historical and notable buildings. There is a funicular that takes visitors up from the lower city to the upper city, but by the time I arrived there were long queues snaking out of the funicular building. To the left I saw a path and series of steps go up the hill, indicating a path to the upper city. It wasn’t very hard to walk uphill, although apparently the views from the funicular are very good.
Once in the upper city, it really doesn’t matter where you start your wanderings or in which direction. It’s not a big place and the real enjoyment lies in meandering at leisure through the streets and making new discoveries. My first stop was at Piazza Vecchia, where I had some lunch after finishing the sightseeing of the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore and the Capella Colleoni. Both are beautiful buildings and splendidly decorated, particularly on the inside.
From there I walked through the city’s streets, past small artisan shops (cannoli anyone?!) until I popped out on the other side. I headed towards the Venetian walls and followed them back close to where I started from. After the obligatory gelato I walked to the Rocca di Bergamo from where you have great views over the Citta Alta and the surrounding mountains.
I didn’t even get to do any of the museums this time, but there is always time for that, right…?