A MAGICAL PLACE

Bergamo’s beautiful upper town, the Città Alta (pictured above), is a magical place well worth visiting. Use this website to help you plan your trip to Bergamo in Northern Italy and find your way to some of the other lovely towns and villages in Lombardia that are perhaps less well known to tourists.

Friday, September 12, 2014

New flights guide for Bergamo's easy-to-reach Caravaggio Airport

One reason for Bergamo's popularity with visitors to Italy is its close proximity to a major international airport.
Caravaggio is a Ryanair hub


Bergamo’s Caravaggio airport is situated in the suburb of Orio al Serio, which is just 3.7 kilometres (2.3 miles) to the south-east of the city.  It is so close to the city that visitors can sometimes enjoy a first glimpse of the Città Alta's beguiling charms even before they land.

Taxis to the city are in plentiful supply and there are buses every 20 minutes from outside the arrivals area, every half an hour at weekends

Bus tickets cost only a couple of euros and the journey time is short -- only 15 minutes to the railway station in Bergamo's Città Bassa, 30 minutes to the Città Alta.  Look out for the No 1 service, which runs along Viale Papa Giovanni XXIII and Viale Roma - the Città Bassa's main thoroughfare -- before climbing to the Città Alta along Viale Vittorio Emanuele II.  Most of the Città Bassa's major hotels are within a short walk of the bus route.

Caravaggio is the fourth busiest airport in Italy, just behind Milan Linate and ahead of Marco Polo airport in Venice. Almost nine million passengers used the airport in 2012. 

Currently you you can fly to Caravaggio -- usually listed in airline schedules as Milan Bergamo -- from 37 countries around Europe and North Africa. Ryanair has developed Bergamo as one of its major hubs and the majority of flights to the airport are operated by the Irish budget carrier.

Visitors to Bergamo from the United Kingdom can fly with Ryanair from Bristol, East Midlands, Leeds-Bradford, London Stansted and Manchester.  Flights from London Stansted accounted for 372,397 passengers arriving in Bergamo in 2012.

Ryanair has also become a major carrier within Italy, operating flights to Caravaggio from 10 departure points

In addition to the UK, countries with direct flights to Bergamo are: Albania, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Canary Islands, Cape Verde, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Kosovo, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Malta, Moldova, Morocco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Tunisia, Turkey and Ukraine. 

More details can be found in our flights guide, which has been updated to show the autumn schedules.

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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Bergamo Su e Giù

How to get the inside track on Bergamo


Visitors to Bergamo have a wonderful opportunity to see the architectural treasures of the city from an insider’s point of view.
A small number of dedicated tour guides with a wealth of local knowledge are available to show groups around both the upper and lower towns and point out some of the hidden gems and nooks and crannies that may not be immediately obvious to outsiders.
Looking down on Bergamo from San Vigilio

The guides, who are all committed to promoting the unique heritage of Bergamo, formed their association Bergamo Su e Giù to offer this service to discerning tourists nearly five years ago.
They can provide tours with commentary in English, French, German, Spanish, Russian and Japanese and can take groups from as few as six people up to around 30 people.
Bergamo Su e Giù, which literally means Bergamo up and down, can provide customised guided tours, according to the wishes of each particular group, concentrating on a particular aspect, such as art, history or religion, as required.
The secretary of Bergamo Su e Giù Elisabetta Campanini was born and brought up in the Città Alta and knows every stone and corner of the old town intimately.
She says: “We are all passionate about Bergamo and are dedicated to helping visitors to discover its uniqueness, its stunning natural beauty and its amazing architectural heritage.
“As we go around the city we are able to bring each area to life, by telling both funny and touching anecdotes about the stories behind each building.
“We also like to take our guests down the lesser-known side streets and show them surprises that many visitors never discover.”

For more information about Bergamo Su e Giù visit their website at www.visitbergamo.info or contact them on +39.035.234182. If you mention that you read about them on Best of Bergamo you will be offered a 10 per cent discount.

Flights Guide

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Friday, June 6, 2014

When the big bell tolls 100 times

A stunning sight silhouetted against the blue sky, the distinctive bell tower, il Campanone, in Bergamo’s Città Alta (upper town) is visible from miles away.
Il Campanone towers above Piazza Vecchia
Bergamo’s bell tower dates back to at least the 12th century. It is also known as the Torre Civica (Civic Tower) and stands next to the Palazzo della Ragione, dominating a corner of Piazza Vecchia. From the top there are wonderful views over Bergamo and the surrounding countryside.
If you are in Piazza Vecchia at ten pm on any evening you will hear the bell toll 100 times marking the ancient curfew, when the gates in Bergamo ’s walls were locked at night to keep the city safe from invaders. The bell tolled at ten pm to remind the Bergamaschi that it was time to come back inside the walls or be locked out for the night. Although residents and visitors to the Città Alta can now come and go as they please, the tradition of 100 chimes at ten pm continues.
Il Campanone and the city’s ancient curfew feature in a new crime novel set in Bergamo, Death in the High City by Val Culley. The book was published as a Kindle edition in May 2014 on Amazon and is also due out in paperback later this month.

Flights Guide

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Saturday, May 10, 2014

Bergamo airport to close for runway work

Flights to Bergamo between next Tuesday (May 13) and Sunday June 1 will be subject to re-routing because of resurfacing work on the runway at the Caravaggio Airport, otherwise known as Orio al Serio.
Bergamo airport


No services in or out will operate between 00.01am on Tuesday and 06.00 on Monday June 2.  This will impact especially on Ryanair's extensive schedules and travellers should check with the airline should they have a flight booked during this period.

Ryanair's website advises that all their flights to and from Bergamo between these dates will instead arrive and depart from Milan's Malpensa Airport, which is located 91km west of Orio al Serio.  Those flying with other airlines should consult their websites or contact their customer service departments.

Work is continuing on an expansion of the arrivals and departure areas at Caravaggio, which is the fourth busiest airport in Italy, after Rome Fiumicino and the two Milan airports, Malpensa and Linate.

Flights Guide


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Thursday, May 8, 2014

Death in the High City

Brand new detective story taking place in Bergamo

A new crime novel set in Bergamo has just been published on Amazon Kindle.
The novel is the first in a series featuring detective duo Kate Butler, a freelance journalist, and Steve Bartorelli, a retired Detective Chief Inspector who is of Italian descent.
Believed to be the first British crime novel to put the spotlight on Bergamo, Death in the High City centres on the investigation into the death of an English woman who was writing a biography of the composer Gaetano Donizetti.
Of interest to anyone who enjoys the cosy crime fiction genre or likes detective novels with an Italian setting, the book is currently available as a Kindle edition, but can also be read on smartphones, tablets and computers using Amazon’s free Kindle app.
The dead woman had been living in an apartment in Bergamo ’s Città Alta and much of the action takes place within the walls of the high city. The local police do not believe there is enough evidence to open a murder inquiry so Kate Butler, who is the victim’s cousin, arrives on the scene to try to get some answers about her cousin’s death.
Kate visits many of the places in Bergamo with Donizetti connections and her enquiries even take her out to Lago d’Iseo. But after her own life is threatened and there has been another death in the Città Alta, her lover, Steve Bartorelli, joins her to help her unravel the mystery and trap the killer. The reader is able to go along for the ride and enjoy Bergamo’s wonderful architecture and scenery while savouring the many descriptions in the novel of local food and wine.

Death in the High City by Val Culley, published in May, 2014, is now available on Amazon.


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Monday, April 14, 2014

Don’t miss architectural gems of Bergamo’s lower town

The stunning medieval and Renaissance architecture of the Citta Alta (upper town) is understandably a magnet for visitors to Bergamo.
It can be easy to overlook the Citta Bassa and go straight up to the beautiful town within the walls that you see in the skyline when you arrive in the city.
But Bergamo’s lower town has a wealth of imposing 18th and 19th century buildings to admire as well as many areas of historical importance.
One square definitely not to be missed is Piazza Pontida, near the junction of Via Sant’Alessandro and Via XX Settembre, which would have been the hub of the city in the 15th century.
Decorative porticos in Piazza Pontida
The square is close to a point known for centuries as Cinque Vie (five roads), where traffic from Milan, Lecco, Treviglio and Crema would converge. It was the place where goods arriving in Bergamo would be unloaded before being sent up to the Citta Alta (upper town).
Some of the portici (porticos) date back to the 15th century, when farmers and merchants would shelter from the sun under them while negotiating over the goods. It would have been a lively scene in those days, with story tellers and poets roaming from one inn to the next, entertaining the crowds who had come to trade in the square.
There are now modern shops doing business behind the porticos, but the square is still a popular meeting place for local people and it is pleasant to sit at a table outside one of the bars or restaurants and watch the Bergamaschi going about their daily lives.

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Monday, March 10, 2014

Ancient palace has become Bergamo landmark

  
One of the most distinctive buildings in the Citta Alta, Bergamo’s upper town, is the 12th century Palazzo della Ragione, an imposing presence at the southern end of Piazza Vecchia.
The dark, medieval palace is perhaps Bergamo’s most frequently photographed building and has become an iconic image of the Citta Alta.
Medieval Palazzo at one end of Piazza Vecchia
The ground floor walls of the Palazzo were removed in the 15th century, allowing a view through the arches into Piazza Duomo. This provides a glimpse of the sumptuous fascade of the Colleoni Chapel, which is a bright contrast to the dark stone of the Palazzo.
It is claimed court cases used to be heard under the open arcades that now form the ground floor of the Palazzo and that prisoners were put on show there for the Bergamaschi to see.
Nowadays you will often be able to listen to musicians under the arcades while you sit and enjoy a drink at the Bar Tasso next to the Palazzo.
A grand covered stairway was added to the Palazzo della Ragione in 1453. This rises from Piazza Vecchia to the first floor of the Palazzo, where 13th and 14th century frescoes, taken from old churches and houses in the surrounding area, were used to decorate the upper hall. Known as the Truss Room, the upper hall is now often used for art exhibitions.

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