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.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year festivities in Bergamo

Piazza Vecchia is a popular place for
 crowds to toast the New Year
New Year’s Eve is known as la Festa di San Silvestro in Italy and families and friends traditionally get together for a special dinner.
There are midnight fireworks displays in many city squares as well as at private parties. A custom that is still followed in some parts of Italy is throwing old, unwanted possessions out of the window to symbolise your readiness to accept the New Year.
The bars and restaurants are usually busy in Bergamo as both local residents and visitors see in the New Year.
Piazza Vecchia in the Città Alta (upper town) and Via Sentierone at the heart of the Città Bassa (lower town) are where the revellers gather just before midnight .
Before that, Il Presidente della Repubblica, Giorgio Napolitano, will have delivered Un Messaggio di Fine Anno -- an end-of-year message -- from his official residence, the Palazzo del Quirinale in Rome, shown on most of the Italian television channels at 20.30.
This will have been followed on Rai Uno by L’Anno Che Verrà, a live programme of pop and entertainment to see in the New Year.
Buon Anno from Best of Bergamo.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Good food and great views at Il Gourmet Hotel in Bergamo

Just outside Bergamo’s Città Alta (upper town), Il Gourmet Ristorante Hotel offers guests a convenient yet peaceful location with stunning views from the terrace and many of the guest rooms.
Il Gourmet Ristorante Hotel
Il Gourmet, in Via San Vigilio, is a short walk from Porta Sant’Alessandro, one of the gates in the walls surrounding the medieval Città Alta.
It is close to the station for the funicular to San Vigilio and is also near Via Borgo Canale, the street with the house where Bergamo composer Gaetano Donizetti was born.
As the name implies, Il Gourmet prides itself on the meals served in its restaurant, which offers Bergamo specialities and Mediterranean cuisine. Il Gourmet’s wine cellar is stocked with many of the top labels from Italy and further afield.
Check prices and availability with
You can either dine on the terrace with panoramic views over Bergamo or in Il Gourmet’s smart dining room.
Il Gourmet’s building dates back to the 17th century when it was once a private residence. It was converted to a hotel at the beginning of the 19th century to accommodate the travellers and merchants that came to Bergamo with their goods.
Set in the green hills above Bergamo, Il Gourmet provides guests with a peaceful relaxing atmosphere while being handy for the Città Alta and the terminus of the bus route to the Città Bassa (lower town), the railway station and Bergamo Caravaggio Airport at Orio al Serio. There is also ample parking for guests with cars.
Il Gourmet has nine double rooms, one single room and an independent apartment with two double bedrooms, a sitting room and a private terrace.
The rooms all have air conditioning, a fridge bar and satellite television.

Map and street view:

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Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas in Bergamo

Christmas feast traditionally ends
with panettone 
Christmas is very much a family feast in Bergamo, just as in the rest of Italy and many other parts of the world.
After la Vigilia di Natale (Christmas Eve), when traditionally a fish meal is consumed and the adults go to midnight mass, Natale (Christmas Day) is a time for feasting.
While the children open their presents, the adults savour a glass of good Prosecco or uncork a special vintage bottle while they prepare the festive table.
Friends and relatives who drop in with presents or to exchange good wishes will be offered nuts, biscuits and torrone (nougat from Cremona).
Antipasti is likely to include Parma ham or bresaola (cured beef), served with preserved mushrooms, olives or pickled vegetables.
Stuffed pasta is usually served as a first course, either in the shape of ravioli or tortellini, which are said to have been offered as Christmas gifts to priests and monks during the 12th century.
For the main course, turkey or capon is likely to be served in the Lombardia region, with potatoes and vegetables as side dishes.
The traditional end to the meal is almost always panettone, served warm accompanied by a glass of sparkling wine.
Panettone is said to have been concoted by a Milanese baker, Antonio (Toni), to impress his girlfriend at Christmas time in the 15th century. The result was so successful that ‘Pane de Toni’ has become a regular feature of the Christmas season all over Italy and now even abroad.
The feasting and family parties continue on 26 December, the festa di Santo Stefano (Boxing Day).
Buon Natale from Best of Bergamo, Buon Appetito e Salute.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Bergamo celebrates start of Christmas

Banks and offices in Bergamo are closed today and special masses are taking place in the churches as residents and visitors celebrate the official beginning of  Christmas.
Christmas lights in Città Alta
Il Giorno dell’
immacolata concezione (the day of the immaculate conception) has been celebrated for centuries in Italy on 8 December.
It is an official festa (feast day) when the immaculate conception of Jesus is celebrated in the Christian calendar. It also marks the start of the Christmas season when the lights and trimmings go up.
Although the banks and public offices are closed, all the shops in Bergamo are open as usual with many people not at work and taking the opportunity to do some Christmas shopping.
As in many other countries across the world, Christmas shopping actually starts much earlier than 8 December in Italy, with Christmas trees, lights and decorations going up during November.
Via XX Settembre in Bergamo’s Città Bassa (lower town), which is known to locals as ‘the shopping street’ will be thronged with activity from now until Christmas Eve.
Buona Festa!