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.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Bergamo palace built when Italy was a kingdom

The entrance to Palazzo della Provincia
One of the most impressive 19th century buildings in Bergamo is the Palazzo della Provincia (provincial government building) in Via Torquato Tasso in the Città Bassa (lower town).
If you walk to the end of Via Sentierone and cross Largo Bortolo Belotti, Via Torquato Tasso continues in a straight line until it reaches Piazzetta Santo Spirito.
Bergamo's seat of provincial government is on the right hand side of Via Tasso at number eight.
The palace was built between 1864 and 1871, the first public work to be carried out in Bergamo after the proclamation of the Kingdom of Italy.
The offices for the provincial government had previously been in the Città Alta (upper town) in Bernabo Visconti's palace in Piazza Cittadella.
The new building was designed on a grand scale to house both the offices of the provincial administration and the prefecture of police.
On the façade you will notice five carvings comissioned to depict significant events and personalities in Bergamo's history. The final cost of the project was 640,000 lire.
Look out for details of events and exhibitions taking place in Sala Manzù, an exhibition area that has been created inside the palace, named after Bergamo sculptor Giacomo Manzù.  

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Hotel in the heart of Cremona

Cremona's famous Torrazzo bell tower
Music lovers should not miss the chance of a visit to nearby Cremona while they are staying in Bergamo.
The historic Lombardian city, which was the birthplace of the modern violin, is within easy reach of Bergamo by car (about one hour) or by train (under two hours).
A must see is il Museo Stradivariano (the Stradivarius museum) in Via Ugolani Dati, which is so fascinating it could take up most of your day.
If you decide to spend a night in Cremona it is important to choose a hotel in the centro storico (historic centre) close to the main sights so that you do not have to spend time or money on travel while you are there.
The Hotel Astoria in Via Bordigallo is a few metres away from the main square of Cremona, Piazza del Comune, and within a short walk of the Duomo and the famous bell tower, il Torrazzo, which at more than 112 metres in height is the tallest bell tower in Italy.
The Hotel Astoria can offer double or triple rooms with private bathrooms, air conditioning, free wi fi, telephone and television. There is a breakfast room, bar and a reception desk manned 24 hours a day. For more information visit www.venere.com
The Museo Stradivariano's
 imposing entrance
As well as being the home of violin makers Andrea Amati, Andrea Guarneri and Antonio Stradivari, Cremona was also the birthplace of composers Claudio Monteverdi and Amilcare Ponchielli.
Along with sweet music, Cremona was also responsible for creating torrone (nougat) in 1441 to celebrate the marriage of Bianca Maria Visconti to Francesco Sforza.
Visit the famous Negozio Sperlari in Via Solferino (close to the Hotel Astoria) to buy some to take home with you.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

More passengers taking flights to Bergamo

Ryanair is the major carrier at Orio al Serio
Bergamo’s airport at Orio al Serio has become the fourth busiest in Italy, behind only Rome’s Leonardo da Vinci and Milan’s Malpensa and Linate airports.
Orio al Serio, which is sometimes referred to as Milan Bergamo airport, handled nearly 7.7million passengers in 2010 and traffic is expected to increase in 2011. The budget airline Ryanair is the biggest individual carrier, with flights from 67 airports in its 2011 schedule. You can find full details in our new, updated flights guide.
There are many advantages to choosing to fly to Bergamo. It is just a short bus or taxi journey to Bergamo’s Città Bassa (lower town), where there is a good choice of restaurants, hotels and shops.
Buses stop at the railway station in Piazza Marconi, from where there are services to Brescia, Milan, Cremona, Lecco at the foot of Lake Como and Sarnico on Lago Iseo. From Brescia you can board the Milan/Venice express which stops at resorts on Lake Garda.
From the nearby bus station there are regular coaches to Lago Iseo, and the pretty towns in the valleys north of Bergamo.
The town is also a gateway to the southern Alps, with a dozen ski resorts less than an hour and a half away.
But many visitors arriving at Bergamo’s railway station will find themselves intrigued by the view of the Città Alta (upper town) in the distance and be tempted to stay and explore it.
There are regular shuttle buses linking Orio al Serio airport with railway stations in Milan and Brescia and with Malpensa airport, making it easy to touch down in Bergamo and reach other places quickly. 
Bergamo’s airport at Orio al Serio is continually being developed to provide good facilities for passengers. The latest innovation to be publicised in the Italian media this month is Orio Kube, an interactive tourism information facility.
The Kube can provide information not just about Bergamo and the surrounding area but for travel throughout Lombardia and the rest of Italy.
It is claimed the Kube is the first such device to be located in an airport. It has four touch screens that make it easy to navigate between its different functions. Passengers can book hotels and restaurants, find out about events, contact a free multilingual call centre with their queries or Bluetooth any useful data to their own phones.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Past life of Bergamo's Torre di Adalberto

Torre di Adalberto served as a
prison for would-be invaders
A 12th century tower on the edge of Bergamo's Città Alta (upper town) used to act as a prison for unlucky invaders who were caught alive.
The rather austere-looking Torre di Adalberto overlooks the entrance to Piazza Citadella from Largo Colle Aperto, where buses from the Città Bassa (lower town) arrive and depart.
On the opposite side of Viale delle Mura from Porta Sant'Alessandro, the tower adjoins an archway through which visitors walk to reach Piazza Cittadella.
The tower was built by the Crotta family in the 12th century but was later named Torre di Adalberto by local people in memory of the Count and Bishop Adalberto, who governed Bergamo in medieval times during a period when the city was under constant attack from invaders.
Soldiers who were caught trying to invade Bergamo probably did not get to see any more of the city than the interior of the tower, but nowadays visitors keen to see the splendours of the Città Alta pass through the tower's covered passageway without a backward glance.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Modern hotel in medieval setting

The 12th century Gombito Tower
seen from Piazza Vecchia
You can have the best of both worlds while visiting Bergamo by choosing to stay in an ultra modern hotel within the 16th century walls of the Città Alta (upper town).
GombitHotel in Via Mario Lupo is next to the 12th century Gombito Tower right in the heart of the oldest part of the medieval city, only a few metres' walk away from Piazza Vecchia.
But despite its stone facade, GombitHotel has a bright modern decor and is furnished in contemporary style with modern furniture and works of art.
This 'design' hotel has 13 rooms on four floors all with air conditioning, minibar, satellite television and free wi fi.

See booking details at Hotels.com

Via Mario Lupo is off Via Gombito at the point where the Torre di Gombito rises high above the street.
Nowadays the tower houses the tourist information office on its ground floor where you can get free maps and leaflets and ask for help and advice.
The tower is believed to have had Roman origins before being rebuilt in the 12th century in its present form. It was modified centuries ago to become a shop, which later caused it to become unstable.
In 1848 local people assembled in the Torre di Gombito to rise up against the Austrians who ruled Bergamo at the time.Towards the end of the 19th century restoration work was carried out to make safe and preserve the tower.

Book a room at GombitHotel with Venere.com

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Painter Moroni’s death at Gorlago

See paintings by Moroni in the
Palazzo della Ragione
Giovan Battista Moroni, who was considered one of the great portrait painters of the 16th century,  died 433 years ago today while working on a painting of the Last Judgment at a church just outside Bergamo.
Moroni was born at Albino near Bergamo somewhere between 1510 and 1522 and went on to train under a religious painter from Brescia,  Alessandro Bonvicino.
Although Moroni painted some acclaimed religious works, he is even more renowned for the vitality and realism of his portraits,  for which he was once praised by Titian.
Some of Moroni’s work is in the Uffizzi Gallery in Florence and some in the National Gallery in London.
But some fine examples of Moroni’s work are also in the collection of the Accademia Carrarra in Bergamo.  Although the Accademia is currently closed for restoration, you can see some of Moroni’s paintings in the exhibition currently being held in the Palazzo della Ragione in the Piazza Vecchia in Bergamo’s Città Alta (upper town).
Moroni’s legacy of portraits provides an illuminating insight into life in Bergamo in the 16th century, as he received commissions from upwardly mobile merchants as well as nobleman.
Moroni was the first painter to reflect the changes brought about by the Reformation in his art, as a consequence of working in Trento towards the end of his life when the Council of Trent was summoned by Pope Paul III.
One of Moroni’s finest religious works, the Coronation of the Virgin, can be seen in the church of Sant Alessandro della Croce in Via Pignolo in Bergamo’s Città Bassa (lower town).
Moroni’s unfinished painting of the Last Judgment can be seen in the church at Gorlago, where he was working just before his death on 5 February 1578.