Bergamo (from berg-heim, i.e. the hill-town) was probably founded by Celtic populations, which settled on the hills looking onto the plan at the outlet of the pre-Alpine valleys of the Brembo and Serio rivers, two tributaries of the Adda river.
The first historical evidence dates back to the year 223 b.C., when it is certain that Roman military forces were present in this area. In 49 b.C., Julius Caesar granted the status of Municipium to the town, which started its slow Romanisation process. Bergomum, which is the Latin name of Bergamo, was provided with major public buildings, which are currently no longer visible even though some remains often surface up on the occasion of excavations and diggings. Walls were also built up, parts of which are still extant; they were re-used for the new, larger Medieval fortifications with some enlargements and restorations. Indeed, the fortifications had remained relatively intact after the fall of Rome, so much so that Bergamo had been referred to as "operibus munitae" [surrounded by walls] by the historians reporting on the Gothic war in the mid-6th century.
Cappella Colleoni was completed in 1476 and is richly decorated displaying masterful Lombard art. Other places to see include the Rocca which houses the History Museum; Torre Civica in Piazza Vecchia; the Archaeological Museum; Natural History and Science Museum plus the cloister of the Convento di San Francisco with beautiful frescoes. Museo Donizettiano is dedicated to Bergamo’s son, composer Gaetano Donizetti.
Even higher up than the upper city is San Vigilio which offers the remains of a fortress and brilliant views. In the lower city visit the Porta Nuova neighborhood and the Accademia Carrara, a 200 year old art gallery.
VENETIAN WALLS BERGAMO - UNESCO'S WORLD HERITAGE SITE
Do you wish to take a walk under the moonlight with the right person at a romantic, inspiring venue? We have the perfect place in mind, and we are sure that soon it will become the tenth location in the Region to become part of UNESCO's World Heritage Sites.
We're talking about the Venetian Walls of Bergamo: the upper city is enclosed by this imposing masonry examples and bastions that date back to the XVIth century when Bergamo was part of the Venetian Republic. The red light of the street lamps descends upon this impressive structure while whole panorama of the lower city can be gazed upon from above.
The walls extend for over 6 kilometers, with a varying height that reaches 50 meters in certain poits. Over the weekend, the perimeter becomes a large pedestrian area. The excitement of passing through one of its 4 monumental gates into the upper city enclosed by these high walls is unique. The most suggestive entrance is the northern one, also known as Porta di San Giacomo, where Giuseppe Garibaldi annexed Bergamo to the Piedmontese Kingdom.
Lovere, Gromo and Camerata Cornello have been awarded “Italy’s most beautiful boroughs”, but all the other ones are just as lovely: come visit them with us.
Yes, the European postal service was born in Camerata Cornello, a village in Brembana Valley. Despite their small size, both the museum and the old centre deserve a visit. Moreover, other gems are nestled on the Lake Iseo’s shores: Lovere, with its picture galleries, its churches and palaces, and Sarnico, where you can catch a boat and go see the lovely Art Nouveau gardens and villas. Go admire Gromo and its slate roofs, a surprisingly beautiful village dating back to the Middle Age.
In Clusone you can enjoy the astonishing XV Century frescos depicting one of the most famous European Dance Macabre, along with a fantastic Triumph of Death. Last but not least, don’t miss the XVI Century Astronomic Clock, still in perfect conditions, marking the motions of the stars, the Earth, the sun and the moon.
There are dozens of sanctuaries in the province of Bergamo: a heritage of faith and traditions that is deeply rooted in the land and its people. Traditional festivals and feasts often accompany religious events, and involve celebrations that feature stalls in church courtyards selling sweets and local products, and kitchens offering traditional Bergamask dishes.
Many elegant and qualified wellness centres have appeared in Bergamo and its province. Rest, relaxation, healthy open-air living are the ingredients of a holiday in many of the resorts located throughout the Orobie mountains, from the lakes to the green valleys. A growing number of hotels are adding facilities for the health and relaxation of their customers, and installing modern spa areas.
The quality and health-giving features of the environment are also confirmed by the numerous springs of excellent mineral water that are bottled in the Bergamask valleys.
People who enjoy golf and love wide open countryside will find courses of an excellent level in the foothills of the Bergamask mountains, surrounded by breathtaking scenery. The facilities vary and range from a simple practice range to a prestigious 27-hole course. And if the weather is bad, there’s even an indoor golf range in Bergamo.
A golfer can find many highly acclaimed courses in the province of Bergamo. The best known is Albenza Golf Club, situated in the Romanesque area of Almenno S. Bartolomeo. This historic and challenging course is set in a beautiful landscape surrounded by conifers and broad-leaved woodland.
The great Bergamask plain is dominated by the figure of Bartolomeo Colleoni, the renowned condottiero. Born in 1395 in the small town of Solza, where his modest family castle can be found, he had an important role in the disputes between Venice and the Visconti of Milan. Appointed commander of all troupes of the Republic, he settled in the Castle of Malpaga and transformed it into a splendid residence. Other castles and fortified villages of considerable interest in this area include Martinengo and Romano. Castles were also built by the Visconti family, such as Castle of Pagazzano, the only one to have preserved its original water-filled moat.
Around the XVI Century a peculiar popular literature was born, destined to bring the name of Bergamo all over Italy and Europe, as well. In fact, the so-called “bergamasco” is one of the most significant traits of the “Commedia dell’Arte”. Moreover, from the late Middle Age on, Bergamo’s language, behaviour and characteristics entered the world of Theatre. Harlequin and Gioppino are the two most renowned and beloved stock characters from Bergamo. Speech, parody, carnival, bizarre costumes, amusement and also dances.
Between via Sant’Alessandro, via Borfuro, via Sant’Orsola and via XX Settembre there’s what can be defined as “Bergamo’s quadrilateral for shopping”. You can find anything: stores of big international companies like Zara, Benetton, Max and Co., Geox, Furla, Tod’s situated in the pedestrian street XX Settembre, or small boutiques, for refined tastes.
For the adults, M’Gibi in via Borfuro is a very cozy place where you can find a selection of tailored clothes and classical patterns. On the same street, Favoleria brings you to an enchanted world for under 14.
The parallel street, via Sant’Orsola hosts Rock’n’rose: a romantic concept store for women who, as the name says, love to be romantic and independent. And then in via Sant’Alessandro, at Spin Off, you can find niche brands discovered by the owner during his many journeys. At Hosio, you can find all the collections of the namesake brand designed exclusively for men.
Have a nice shopping!
From a quiet ride around on a wonderful bike path to the most extreme downhill descents: if you love to ride Bergamo will surely have the right trail for you!