If you are in Milan, planning a day trip to Bergamo is easy! In less than an hour you can visit this charming city. Here are some of our top tips on visiting Bergamo, Italy in a day.
You can’t go wrong when choosing Bergamo for a day trip from Milan. Bergamo has the charm and beauty of an old Italian town and quenches the thirst for a more modern vibe, as well. However beautiful both parts of Bergamo are, let’s dive behind the walls of the oldest part of the city, Bergamo, Citta Alta.
Bergamo / Photo by Mary Catherine Holcomb
How to get to Bergamo from Milan
Whether or not you choose to drive, take a train or bus, you will arrive in Bergamo before you can say “Ciao Ciao Baby!” Book a train ticket from Milano Centrale to Bergamo with Trenitalia and you will be there in as little as 45 minutes, or scheduling a bus ride (here is one option: Omio) can get you there in an estimated 60 minutes. Bus or train costs a mere 12 to 14 euros per round trip. If you decide to drive, plan to only spend a little under an hour in your vehicle (dependent on traffic, of course!)
What to See in Bergamo
Of course, you are met with a choice upon arrival: to walk or not to walk? If you decide to take the city’s funicular (cable car) that connects the center of Bergamo with the Upper Town, you will give your feet a rest while still taking in glorious views of the Venetian Walls, which span six kilometers long around Bergamo Alta. Built in 1561, these walls – like many walls you may see in historical Italian towns – were built to keep out enemies. However, if you are ready to take on a bit more of an adventure, use the Santa Lucia Staircase access route (images above) to not only reach a breathtaking view but enjoy more visual beauty along the way. Plus, it will put you right in front of the popular marble-stone San Giacomo Gates. Want a slower walk with a touch of guidance? Then, check out a walking tour.
Once you have snapped the must-have photos of the view, make your way up to Piazza Vecchia. This hotspot not only boasts several restaurants, bars and gelaterias but is also home to the beautiful Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, which is another must-see church in Italy.
Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore /Photo by Ben Kerckx
Next, venture further down the nearby streets off of the Piazza Mascheroni to explore more restaurants or shopping vendors, which can lead you to Piazza della Cittadella; it houses the Civic Museum of Natural Sciences and local markets.
Traveling with children and need a break? Don’t miss the shaded playground a stone’s throw from the Piazza della Cittadella: Giardino La Crotta.
Last but not least, do not miss the ruins of the San Vigilio Castle, a 12th century defensive fort overlooking the city. Walk further up the hills and you will get to see a spectacular view well worth the extra effort (or you can take the S. Vigilio funicular if those tired feet can’t take it!). Explore the open areas inside of the castle that ends in an unforgettable 360-degree view of Bergamo.
Where and What to Eat in Bergamo
Osteria della Birra / Photo by Mary Catherine Holcomb
The best is saved for last: food! For a quick lunch, drop in to the small and cozy Osteria Della Birra in Piazza Mascheroni for a beer and a tasty piadina. For a relaxing view with a glass of wine, make your way to the Ristorante Pizzeria San Vigilio (near the castle.) The food matches the quality of the view!
To end the day on a sweet note, make your way to one of the several gelaterias to try stracciatella, which was invented right here at the pasticceria La Marianna. Also try the dessert polenta and osei, topped with chocolate marzipan birds, this sponge cake made with chocolate, butter and hazelnut creams is typical to the region.
If you like to travel in Italy, Bergamo is a city that many people, especially tourists, may only be aware of and visit because of the airport (albeit an important attraction). However, it is home to so much more than that. One day in Bergamo is not enough to appreciate its history and charm but a city that requires trip after trip even to begin to reach the surface of this gem. But then, of course, that means more servings of polenta and osei and stracciatella each time, but someone has to do it!
Article by Mary Catherine Holcomb for EasyMilano.com