Bergamo, Italy is such a charming little town, and it’s absolutely worth a visit if you’re in Milan. It’s the perfect day trip destination with GREAT views, GREAT architecture, and GREAT food (polenta cakes yum). Here’s how to spend the day in Bergamo.
Bergamo, Italy is such an underrated place. Imagine tall golden buildings, sunshine, and narrow cobblestone streets lined with shop windows, cafes, and bakeries. And if you get a look from the top of the old town, you can see the rolling foothills before the Alps. Bergamo is simply charming and worth a day trip.
How to Get There
Bergamo is an easy day trip from Milan. It’s accessible by train, bus, and car. It takes about 50 minutes by train and 30 minutes by car.
What to Do
Visit the Old Town
The Old Town is actually ABOVE the new part of Bergamo, which means the best views are hidden here! I really enjoyed walking up the stairs, which took about 15 minutes, but if that seems like a little too much effort, of if you have bad knees, I suggest taking the cable car up. The cable car takes you straight up in to the centre of the city, whereas walking up takes you to the town walls. I personally loved the walk.
Polenta is THE dish of Bergamo – you can find polenta at nearly every restaurant, either accompanying a meat dish or on its own! There’s even a cake made out of polenta called Polenta e osei (translated as ‘polenta with wild birds’) that is absolutely delicious. The birds are marzipan and the cake is absolutely a must-try. You can find it at almost any bakery!
Wander Around Churches
The best churches of Bergamo can be found in Piazza Vechia. You’ll immediately be drawn to Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore, the ornately decorated church. The right door (underneath the clock) leads you to the small room of the church.
The left door, whilst modest compared the right door, leads you to the interior of the church. It’s ornate, colourful, and STUNNING. It’s absolutely worth spending some time here. Don’t forget to look up – the paintings on the ceiling are amazing.
Directly to the left of this church is The Duomo. While it’s easy to miss because of its simple exterior, the inside of the church is really lovely and definitely worth a visit. Don’t miss the room in the back with a statue of Pope John XXIII.
Where to Eat
Birreria di Città Alta: This place is inexpensive and has a large selection of beer. If you’re going for a side of polenta, skip the mushroom one and go for the three cheese polenta. I HIGHLY recommend the ravioli with butter and bacon. It was definitely the winning dish.
Al Donizetti: If you’re looking to sit outside, to people watch, and to soak up the beauty of Bergamo, this place is for you. It’s a cosy and cute restaurant.
Nessi: This is a GREAT bakery for a snack on the go. I recommend their polenta e osei and their white chocolate lemon pastry.
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