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.


Bergamo sparkles even more at Christmas

Bergamo's streets sparkle even more with Christmas lights
Bergamo's streets sparkle even more
with Christmas lights
Thousands of twinkling lights, colourfully decorated Christmas trees and lovingly recreated nativity scenes, known in Italian as presepi, make Bergamo an even more magical city  at Christmas.

And if you are a food lover, Bergamo is a good place to visit during the festive season because the focus is firmly on the feasting in the city’s restaurants.

On la Vigilia di Natale (Christmas Eve), a fish meal is traditionally consumed by Italians, consisting of several different courses, after which any adults who are still able to move may go to midnight mass.

But on Natale (Christmas Day) it is the time for the serious feasting to start. Some of the bars and restaurants will be open to serve church goers after the morning service and many families choose to go to a restaurant for their Christmas lunch. Booking in advance is essential, with restaurants taking names and contact numbers months in advance.

If you go to a Christmas feast in a friend’s home, the meal will begin with an antipasto course, which is likely to include Parma ham or bresaola - dried, salted beef - with preserved mushrooms, olives, and pickled vegetables.

Panettone is a traditional part of the Christmas table for families across Italy
Panettone is a traditional part of the Christmas
table for families across Italy
Stuffed pasta is usually served as a primo piatto - first course - either in the shape of ravioli or tortellini. This shape of pasta is said to have been inspired by a beautiful woman who was staying at an inn in the region of Emilia Romagna. The innkeeper is reputed to have tried to spy on her through a keyhole but all he could see was her navel.

Tortellini in brodo, traditionally served in capon broth, is a classic Christmas day dish and for the main course, turkey or capon is likely to be served 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.

Italian folklore has it that panettone was concocted by a Milanese baker, Antonio (Toni), to impress his girlfriend one Christmas 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).

A Happy Christmas and Buon Natale to all my readers!

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