Stendhal, a French writer who loved art and was passionate about Italy where he lived for a long time, described Bergamo as "the most beautiful place on earth". And Bergamo, split between the città Bassa (lower city), the more modern part of the city, and città Alta (upper city), with its medieval walls deemed a UNESCO site and ancient houses, is a genuine masterpiece.
The walls were built starting in 1561 by the Republic of Venice, when Bergamo was under its control, to protect it from enemy attacks, but in actual fact they never came under siege and this is why they have managed to remain almost intact to this day.
The Venetian walls extend over 6 km and the "città bassa" (lower city) stretches beneath them. On clear days, one can enjoy views up to the peaks of the Alps and even up to Milan.
Four imposing gates, San Giacomo, San Lorenzo, Sant'Agostino and Sant'Alessandro mark the entry points to the "Città Alta". Even today, at ten o'clock every night you can still hear the hundred chimes from the bell of the Campanone in Piazza Vecchia that warned the inhabitants of the closure of the four access gates to the city.
WHAT YOU CAN FIND IN BERGAMO
WHAT TO DO IN BERGAMO
Go up to Città Alta on the funicular railway, which connects the modern centre of Bergamo to the medieval heart of the city. Stroll along the Venetian walls, enjoying Bergamo's spectacular skyline. Visit the Carrara Academy and its excellent collection of great Italian art of the 1500s: Botticelli, Bellini, Tiziano, Raffaello, Lotto and Moroni. Visit the birthplace of the famous composer Gaetano Donizetti. Visit the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore and the Colleoni Chapel, the most majestic building in the city whose facade is a masterpiece of the Italian Renaissance. Climb up the Civic Tower, called the Campanone, which stands at a height of 52 metres offering breath-taking panoramic views of the ancient city.