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.


Sentierone is perfect for la passeggiata

Not to be missed in Bergamo’s Citta Bassa…


The elegant tree-lined Via Sentierone
The Sentierone, which means broad path, links Piazza Vittorio Veneto in the centre of the Città Bassa (lower town) with Via Torquato Tasso, a road that leads into the oldest quarter, where there are 15th and 16th century buildings.
Piazza Vittoria Veneto is dominated by the Torre dei Caduti, a tower built as a war memorial in the 1920s and positioned so that it did not spoil the view of the skyline of the Città Alta (upper town).
As you walk along the Sentierone in the direction of Via Torquato Tasso you will see shops and bars behind elegant colonnades on your left and the Teatro Donizetti and a little garden with a memorial to the composer on your right.
The Sentierone was built in the 16th century and used as a site for a fair which was attended by merchants and travellers from all over Italy and Europe. It was also traditionally the place where carriages were parked and horses allowed to take their rest.
The elegant colonnades were built in the 1920s and provide the perfect place to relax with a drink and watch the smartly dressed Bergamaschi go by enjoying una passeggiata.


Bergamo celebrates Sant’Alessandro festival

Porta Sant'Alessandro
Every year on 26 August,  Bergamo commemorates the date in AD298 that patron saint Sant’Alessandro was martyred by the Romans for refusing to renounce his Christian faith.
It is believed Alessandro was a devout citizen who had continued to preach in Bergamo, despite several narrow escapes, but was eventually caught and suffered decapitation.
A series of religious, cultural and gastronomic events will takes place in his name over several days throughout the city, which will be decorated with festive lights.
In 2010 for the first time there was a re-enactment of Alessandro’s execution in full costume at the place where it is believed to have been carried out, in Via Sant’Alessandro, where the church of Sant’Alessandro in Colonna now stands.
A Roman column outside the church marks the spot where the decapitation is said to have happened.
Porta Sant’Alessandro, which leads from the Città Alta (upper town) to Borgo Canale and San Vigilio, was built in the 16th century in memory of the saint. It was named after a fourth century cathedral that had originally been dedicated to the saint but was later demolished.
The gate became a checkpoint manned by customs officers, who would tax farmers from outside the city bringing in vegetables, eggs, chickens and wine to sell to residents of the Città Alta.


Roman column marks spot where saint was martyred

Not to be missed in Bergamo’s Citta Bassa…


Sant' Alessandro in Colonna by night
A Roman column in front of Chiesa di Sant’Alessandro in Colonna is believed to mark the exact spot where Bergamo’s patron saint was martyred by the Romans for refusing to renounce his Christian faith.
The column in Via Sant’Alessandro in Bergamo's Città Bassa (lower town) was constructed in the 17th century from Roman fragments. There are different theories about where the pieces came from.
Every year on 26 August Bergamo remembers Sant’Alessandro’s decapitation in 298. Last year for the first time there was a re-enactment of the event in full costume at the scene.
The church of Sant’Alessandro in Colonna was rebuilt in the 18th century on the site of an earlier church. Its ornate campanile was completed at the beginning of the 20th century.
The church houses a work depicting the martyrdom of Sant’Alessandro by Enea Salmeggia and one showing the transporting of Sant’Alessandro’s corpse by Gian Paolo Cavagna. It also contains paintings by Lorenzo Lotto and Romanino.


Lady Mary’s love of Lago d’Iseo

Lovere on Lago d'Iseo
One of the first travel writers to praise the beauty of Lago d’Iseo near Bergamo , was Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, who died 249 years ago today.
Lady Mary lived for nearly ten years in Lovere, a resort on the western side of the lake, during the later years of her life.
Perhaps the earliest female English travel writer, Lady Mary constantly praised Lovere as a holiday resort in her letters and diaries. She is reputed to have once declined an invitation to the Venice carnival saying: “There are plenty of things to do in this village, which, by the way, is one of the most beautiful that exists.”
Lady Mary travelled extensively at the beginning of the 18th century with her husband, who was appointed British ambassador to Turkey and wrote poetry and letters that established her literary reputation.
She became an advocate of inoculation against smallpox, having witnessed the practice on her travels.
But she left her husband in 1739 and went to live in Italy alone. It was on the advice of her doctor that she moved from Brescia to live in Lovere, where she bought an old palace. She spent happy years there designing her garden and reading the books her daughter sent out to her from England .
She enjoyed entertaining the local nobility and making the occasional trip to Genova and Padova.
She was inspired to write poetry by the beauty of Lago Iseo and the “impassable mountains” surrounding it.
While living in Lovere she wrote in a letter to her daughter: “I am now in a place the most beautifully romantic I ever saw in my life.”
She returned to live in England in 1761 and died on 21 August, 1762 . Her last words were reputed to be: “It has all been most interesting.”


See church that is more than 1000 years old

Not to be missed in Bergamo’s Città Alta…


Il Tempietto
A tiny church that dates back to the year 1000 is still standing in Bergamo’s Città Alta (upper town).
Il Tempietto di Santa Croce (the small temple of the holy cross) is next to the south portal of the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore and is protected by iron railings.
The carefully preserved old church, which was built of stone on the plan of a Greek cross, was restored in the 16th century and still contains some 16th century frescoes along with 19th century ones.
To get the best possible photographs of il Tempietto, take your pictures from the side that can be seen from a small street going off Via Arena.
Il Tempietto is considered to be the finest example of Romanesque architecture in Lombardia.
The inside can be viewed on request. If you are interested, enquire about the arrangements at the Città Alta Tourist Information Office in nearby Via Gombito.


Sample a bird’s eye view from La Rocca

Not to be missed in Bergamo’s Città Alta

The towers of Città Alta seen from La Rocca

This distinctive circular tower was built as a fortress on a hill in the Città Alta (upper town) that had been the site of earlier fortifications.
It is surrounded by the Parco delle Rimembranze (park of remembrance), which is one of the best places to take photographs in Bergamo’s Città Alta as it provides extended views over the surrounding countryside. You can also see over the rooftops of the buildings in the Città Alta and have a bird’s eye view of the top sections of the Campanone and its neighbouring towers.
To reach the park, walk up the Via Rocca, which leads off Via Gombito opposite the Torre Gombito housing the Ufficio di Informazione Turistiche (Tourist Information Office).
The park was originally the site of a Roman building that was followed by the construction of an early Christian church.
La Rocca
The building of the imposing circular tower which became known as La Rocca was started in 1331 by Giovanni di Boemia. It was continued under the Visconti family and then under the Venetians, who both ruled Bergamo for a time. The Venetians used it as quarters for artillery men and called it the School of the Bombardiers.
During Austrian rule in the 19th century, La Rocca was used both as a barracks and a prison. In the period leading up to the unification of Italy, the tower was used to imprison the patriots. Prisoners were executed in what is now the Park of Remembrance .
The city of Bergamo acquired la Rocca and restored it in the early 20th century. It now houses il Museo del Risorgimento (Risorgimento museum), which contains important documents and exhibits relating to the history and unification of Italy.

OPENING HOURS: Tues to Sun 9.30 – 13.00 and 14.00 to 17.30. Closed on Mondays.


Enjoy a room with a view at the Hotel Excelsior San Marco in Bergamo's Città Bassa

The Hotel Excelsior San Marco
The unique views of the Città Alta (upper town) from its windows make a stay at Bergamo’s Hotel Excelsior San Marco a magical experience.
The four star hotel in Piazza Repubblica in the Città Bassa (lower town) has a roof top restaurant that serves both lunch and dinner, enabling guests to dine while enjoying a bird’s eye view of Bergamo’s 450-year-old city walls, the towers and cupolas of the Città Alta and the mountains in the distance. 
The Hotel Excelsior San Marco is handily located close to the funicular for the Città Alta and only walking distance from the main shops and restaurants in the Città Bassa. It is a short walk to the bus stops for the service that runs between the airport at Orio al Serio and Colle Aperto, the terminus in the Città Alta.
The hotel is set back from the main street in a big garden and has 155 rooms, either standard, superior, deluxe or suites, all with satellite television, minibar and free wi-fi internet connection. Either an American or Continental buffet breakfast is served.
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