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.


PolentOne - the taste of Bergamo in a bowl

Journalist Jeremy Culley urges visitors not to miss a wonderful chance to enjoy a Bergamo speciality as soon as they arrive in the Città Alta

PolentOne's stall is tucked away under an archway opposite the funicular station
PolentOne's stall is tucked away under
an archway opposite the funicular station
Uninspiring and dingy takeaways often greet you when you arrive in a town or city by train but that is not the case when you emerge from the funicular station into Bergamo’s wonderful Città Alta.

Here, the first food outlet you see is an unassuming stall built under an archway leading from the Piazza Mercato delle Scarpe up some steps to the Piazzetta Luigi Angelini, directly opposite the entrance to the station.

PolentOne provides an immediate introduction to cucina bergamasca  and is about as far a cry from the ubiquitous kebab shop as is possible to imagine. 

As the name suggests, PolentOne’s menu is dominated by polenta, with its versions heralded as the best in the city. Aside from a few panini filled with local meats and cheeses, almost all dishes feature the local cornmeal and buckwheat staple. 

The owners clearly have a sense of humour, too. Polentone - meaning polenta-eater - is a term some southern Italians use to describe northerners, and not necessarily in a complimentary way!

PolentOne's dishes follow a simple format - a choice of bramata (plain) or taragna (made with cheese) polenta topped with a range of delicious local specialities.

After a morning’s sight-seeing in the Città Alta, PolentOne is the ideal spot to rest your feet for a quick, tasty and good-value lunch. 

My wife and I both opted for the delicious polenta taranga, usually made with Branzi or other Alpine cheeses. I picked the salamella (local salsiccia) as a topping and my wife, the ragù cinghiale (wild boar sauce), each costing just seven euros.

Polenta served with ragù cinghiale 
(top) and the local
salamella sausage
For very little extra you can add a bottle of Peroni and a glass of white wine before pulling up a pew at one of the tables to wait for your counter to buzz signifying your food is ready.

The aromas emanating from the kitchen make the wait seem long but in reality it is only five minutes or so. You are presented with steaming hot bowls of polenta taragna. The grilled salsiccia was worthy of a restaurant, while the ragù tasted like it had been simmering for hours despite being served in the time it took to have two sips of wine.

It is a perfect warming lunch - a taste of Bergamo in a bowl for the cost of a drink at a bar. 

The next time you arrive in the Città Alta by funicular do not make the mistake of writing off PolentOne as ‘just another station takeaway’. To do so would be a great disservice to a food outlet serving what must be the best polenta in Bergamo.

Home                       Main Sights                          Bergamo Hotels 

No comments:

Post a Comment