Bergamo, in the Lombardia region of northern Italy, is a fascinating, historic city with two distinct centres.
The Città Alta (upper town) is a beautiful walled city with buildings that date back to medieval times. But there are plenty of shops, bars and restaurants to make it comfortable and welcoming for visitors today.
At the heart of the Città Alta is the Piazza Vecchia, which was remodelled during the Renaissance and has been hailed by architects and writers as the most beautiful square in Italy.
It is surrounded by old palaces and has a 12th century bell tower that still strikes 100 times at 10pm each night to mark an ancient curfew.
With bars on two corners and prestigious restaurants along two sides, Piazza Vecchia is the perfect place to stop for something to eat and drink.
You can walk through the archways under Palazzo della Ragione to Piazza Duomo where you will see the Duomo, the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore, the Colleoni Chapel and the Battistero, all of them architectural gems.
Streets of shops and restaurants lead off Piazza Vecchia to other squares with fountains, beautiful buildings, old churches and museums.
The elegant Città Bassa (lower town) grew up on the plain below and still has some buildings left that date back to the 15th century.
But more imposing and elaborate architecture was added in the 19th and early 20th centuries and it is now a vibrant city with a wealth of shops, bars and restaurants and a good choice of hotels. There are also palaces, churches, art galleries and museums worth visiting as well as a theatre and other venues providing concerts and entertainment.
From the railway station in Piazza Marconi in the CIttà Bassa there are regular services to the cities of Milan, Brescia, Crema and Cremona and in the summer there are direct trains to Venice and further afield.
It is only a short train journey to Lecco at the foot of Lake Como and to Sarnico at the foot of Lake Iseo. By changing at Brescia you can quickly reach resorts on Lake Garda from Bergamo.
From the nearby bus station there are regular coaches to resorts on Lake Iseo, pretty towns in the surrounding valleys, such as San Pellegrino Terme, and the charming wine growing region of Franciacorta.