Experience the gentle charm of the spa town where European aristocracy used to take the waters, 24 kilometres north of Bergamo.
The name San Pellegrino has now become synonymous with the bottled aqua minerale, which has been sold all over the world for more than 100 years. But since medieval times, San Pellegrino Terme in the Valle Brembana has been a place people visit hoping for a cure for their illnesses. The waters of the terme -- thermal springs -- are believed to be particularly effective against uric acid and kidney stones.
As a resort, San Pellegrino was very fashionable at the end of the 19th century when impressive buildings such as the Grand Hotel (pictured below), the Palazzo della Fonte and the Casino Municipale were built in elaborate Liberty style.
It is worth a visit, by car or bus from Bergamo, to see the opulent architecture and to take a stroll along the banks of the River Brembo, imagining what San Pellegrino would have been like at the height of its popularity.
There are plenty of elegant bars and restaurants on the main street looking out over the river.
But wherever you decide to stop for refreshment, make sure you order a bottle of San Pellegrino. Salute!
Language point Le terme
Terme on the end of a place name means that the town has thermal baths or springs, where water gushes out of the ground at a high temperature.
In Roman times elaborate buildings were designed in these places to enable people to bathe in the springs.
A modern example is Montecatini Terme near Pistoia in Tuscany, which is one of the most popular centres for thermal springs in Italy.
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.