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, September 26, 2011

Permanent reminder of genius of Donizetti

Not to be missed in Bergamo’s Città Bassa…


Teatro Donizetti
Opera lovers will not want to miss paying a visit to the monument to composer Gaetano Donizetti in Bergamo’s Città Bassa (lower town).
It was erected in 1897 in Piazza Cavour, off the Sentierone, to commemorate the first anniversary of Donizetti’s birth.
An imposing structure in white marble, it depicts the composer sitting on a bench gazing at the figure of a female playing the lyre.
Set in the middle of a pond and surrounded by plants and trees, the monument is inscribed simply ‘A Gaetano Donizetti’.
You could almost imagine that the prolific composer of operas is looking longingly past the mythical musician in the direction of the nearby theatre, which was renamed Teatro Donizetti in his honour after his death.
The creator of Donizetti’s monument was Calabrian Francesco Ierace, who won a competition for the best design. His plaster model of the monument, along with the other competition entries, is among the exhibits in the Donizetti Museum in Via Arena in the Città Alta (upper town).

In November 2011, during Bergamo’s annual music festival, a production of Donizetti’s Maria di Rohan will be staged at the theatre.
The tragic melodrama in three acts by Salvadore Cammarano with music by Gaetano Donizetti, will be presented on the evening of Friday, 18 November and the afternoon of Sunday, 20 November.
One of Donizetti’s lesser known works, the opera portrays dramatic events during the reign of Louis XIII of France. It was premiered in Vienna on 5 June, 1843.
For more information visit www.teatrodonizetti.it

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Bergamo street reminds shoppers of historic day

Elegant buildings are typical of
Via XX Settembre
One of the main thoroughfares in the Città Bassa in Bergamo is Via XX Settembre, which leads from Piazza Vittorio Veneto in the centre to Largo Nicolo Rezzara at the lower end of Via Sant’Alessandro.
Dubbed ‘the shopping street’ by the Bergamaschi because of the wealth of smart shops that line both sides, Via XX Settembre is actually named after an important event in Italy’s history.
It was on 20 September 1870 that Italian troops under Victor Emanuel II finally entered Rome and completed the unification of Italy.
Rome had remained under French control even after the first Italian parliament had proclaimed Victor Emanuel of Savoy the King of Italy, despite repeated events by nationalists to liberate it.
But after the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian war Napoleon III withdrew his troops. Italian soldiers seized their chance and after a brief bombardment were able to enter Rome through a breach in the walls at Porta Pia.
Victor Emanuel II took up residence in the Quirinale Palace and Italy was declared officially united.
Shoppers can celebrate the anniversary today in the department stores, book shops, gift shops, jewellery shops and fashion shops located in Via XX Settembre. Top names gracing the elegant street include Calvin Klein, Stefanel, Benetton, Max Mara, Luisa Spagnoli, Marina Rinaldi and Sisley.

Friday, September 16, 2011

See masterpiece by Lorenzo Lotto

Not to be missed in Bergamo’s Città Alta…

San Michele al Pozzo Bianco
SAN MICHELE AL POZZO BIANCO (St Michael at the White Well)

The church of San Michele al Pozzo Bianco in Bergamo houses one of the greatest works by Renaissance artist Lorenzo Lotto.
Lotto is believed to have enjoyed the happiest and most productive period of his life while living in Bergamo between 1513 and 1525.
The Venetian-born painter became famous for his altar pieces, paintings of religious subjects and portraits.
While in Bergamo he lived near San Michele al Pozzo Bianco, which is probably why this ancient church contains one of his most important works, a series of frescoes entitled Vita di Maria (history of the life of the Virgin Mary).
A short walk down Via Porta Dipinta from Piazza Mercato delle Scarpe in the Città Alta (upper town) takes you to Largo San Michele al Pozzo Bianco.
The church, devoted to Saint Michael, dates back to the eighth century, but was rebuilt in the 12th and 13th centuries.
The stone façade was completed during restoration work carried out early in the 20th century, but the interior still has many medieval features, such as brick archways and an open truss roof.
The chapel devoted to the Virgin Mary, to the left of the altar, is entirely decorated with frescoes by Lorenzo Lotto.
San Michele contains many other beautiful 15th and 16th century frescoes and is a popular choice for weddings.
It is believed the church derived its name from a well that used to stand in the middle of the square and probably took water from the same cistern that filled the 13th century fountain in nearby Via Osmano.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Visit elegant 16th century palace

The terrace at Palazzo Terzi

Not to be missed in Bergamo's Città Alta...


Palazzo Terzi is said to be the most important baroque building in Bergamo and is well worth a visit. It is tucked away in a quiet square behind Santa Maria Maggiore in the Città Alta (upper town).
The elegant palace, which is still a private residence, was begun in the 16th century and modified in the 17th and 18th centuries.
From the Piazza Terzi, it is possible to look through the wrought iron gates of the palace’s elegant inner courtyard (pictured), which leads out on to a magnificent terrace adorned with marble statues and balustrading overlooking the plains below.
The Piazza Terzi, with its imposing entrance to the palace, was referred to by German novelist and poet Hermann Hesse as ‘the most beautiful corner of Italy’, when he came across it unexpectedly during a visit to Bergamo in 1913.
The palace has also impressed the many aristocratic figures that have stayed there, including Francis 1, Emperor of Austria.
During the summer some of the rooms in the Palazzo Terzi are open to visitors on Sundays, when treasures such as frescoes attributed to Tiepolo and 16th and 17th century tapestries can be viewed.
For up to date information about opening times, check with the Ufficio Informazioni Turistiche (Tourist Information Office) in Via Gombito or visit www.turismo.bergamo.it