Italy is America’s favourite European getaway when the new winds of summer time start blowing.
A historic nation residence to among the world’s most iconic sights, together with the Colosseum, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and Milan Cathedral, it has sufficient points of interest and sights to hold you coming again for extra 12 months after 12 months.
However, now that overtourism is again to hang-out Italy, and the nation’s adopting more and more restrictive measures to fight the regarding development, chances are you’ll be questioning the place in Italy you need to go subsequent – ideally, someplace you gained’t want advance booking to enter, nor threat being fined when trying a selfie.
Believe us; it can happen.
This 12 months, the lesser-known cultural hotspot of Bergamo – and its surrounding provinces – await you:
The Italian Capital Of Culture This Year
Located solely 40 km Northeast of Milan, Bergamo is a small metropolis with a inhabitants of simply over 120,000, boasting unbelievable views of the Orobic Alps, and a wealthy heritage, a lot in order that it’s been named Italy’s Capital of Culture in 2023.
The coveted title, bestowed upon choose cities which have traditionally contributed to the formation of an Italic identification and Italian tradition basically, had beforehand been awarded to different up-and-coming vacationer locations corresponding to Procida, a small island off the Bay of Naples and the gorgeous Parma.
This 12 months, it’s the Bergamo province that takes the crown, alongside its sister metropolis of Brescia, although it’s Bergamo that stands out among the many two as the extra picturesque settlement perched on a hilltop and surrounded by medieval partitions.
An Overlooked Cultural Hotspot
Bergamo has been a cultural vacation spot within the making for some time now.
Often neglected by guests who journey to the North of Italy to marvel on the architectural grandeur of Milan or spend idyllic weekends at Lake Garda or Como, it receives on common 2 million guests per 12 months solely.
This could sound like rather a lot, but it surely represents merely a fraction of Italy’s staggering ranges of tourism, which reached an all-time excessive of 64.8 million in 2022.
Fortunately for crowd-wary vacationers nonetheless eager on dwelling out their Italian summer time fantasy, Bergamo’s overtourism charges are method decrease than the Italian common.
Why Is Bergamo Worth Visiting?
Divided into two elements – Lower and Upper Bergamo – town is finest identified for its ‘upper’ half, or Città Alta, a walled historic core that’s been attracting a rising variety of History buffs and tradition lovers lately.
This is essentially as a result of UNESCO’s classification of the Venetian defensive methods of Bergamo as a Heritage Site in July 2017, reaffirming the underrated metropolis’s relevance as a middle of tradition and the humanities, a task it’s undertaken because the Middle Ages.
Upper Bergamo is a fortified citadel the place the perfectly-preserved cobbled alleys are lined by Italy’s well-known pastel-colored facades and an imposing cathedral with an ornate duomo that towers excessive above a central piazza, flanked by alfresco eating spots and different spectacular medieval monuments.
Most guests to Bergamo shortly tick off town as a day journey from Milan, however we’d strongly suggest spending no less than three days right here savoring your method by and taking within the sights of Bergamo, and the Bergamo Province, that are plentiful.
The Top 7 Things To See In Bergamo
Some of the highest points of interest embrace:
- The Piazza Vecchia, the Upper Town’s essential assembly level and Bergamo’s beating coronary heart
- Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore, a Twelfth-century Romanesque marvel that includes elaborate stucco and vibrant frescoes
- The Colleoni Chapel, a beautifully-decorated mausoleum adjoining to the Basilica
- The Campanone, an Eleventh-century tower rising 43 meters excessive providing a panoramic panorama of the Bergamasque skyline and the Alps past
- The Porta San Giacomo, one of many Upper Town’s medieval gates, linked to Lower Bergamo through a stone footbridge
- Castello di San Vigilio, a fortified complicated located at Bergamo’s highest level, with eating places and romantic trails distributed alongside the route main as much as its outer partitions
- The Venetian Walls of Bergamo, a UNESCO-protected monument encircling the Upper Town that used to function a safety mechanism in opposition to invaders within the Middle Ages
A World-Class Foodie Destination
Italy is a renowned foodie hotspot, what with its award-winning pasta, freshly-made pizze, delicate gelato, and abundance of recent fruit, owing it to a Mediterranean local weather, and Bergamo is not any completely different in terms of healthful culinary experiences.
Casoncelli alla bergamasca is Bergamo’s signature dish, and a stuffed pasta hand-sealed and boiled earlier than it’s is served in butter, with grated parmigiano on prime.
Other regional delicacies embrace the creamy-textured Taleggio cheese, originating from the namesake valley near Bergamo. According to locals, it has been produced because the Roman period – and naturally, there may be stracciatella.
The creation Bergamo locals appear to be happy with essentially the most. The creamy gelato taste consisting of milk and chocolate bits was first concocted throughout the metropolis’s historic fortifications, and it’s attributed to restaurant proprietor Enrico Panattoni.
It bought so well-liked the idea unfold everywhere in the world, however a few of the very best stracciatella can nonetheless be present in Bergamo’s Upper Town.
Straight Out Of A Movie Scene
Lastly, Bergamo has not too long ago served as a filming location for Timothee Chalamet-starred coming-of-age drama Call Me By Your Name.
To the cinephiles on the market, it’s the place the main characters Elio and Oliver escape to on their romantic getaway forward of Oliver’s imminent departure.
There are quite a few different movie-like settings in, and round Bergamo value exploring, together with:
- Brescia, a medium-size metropolis dotted with UNESCO-listed monuments, such because the historic Tower of Pegol
- Crema, a conventional Northern Italian city that additionally featured on Call Me By Your Name
- Treviglio, a lesser-known small city solely 12 miles South of Bergamo, finest identified for its landmark medieval basilica and 14th-century Town Hall
- Lago d’Iseo, a picturesque lake lined with sleepy fishing villages and fairy-tale villas, that usually will get skipped by vacationers on their solution to Lakes Como or Garda*
*Iseo and Sarnico are two of essentially the most stunning cities straddling Lago d’Iseo
Bergamo Is Easy And Cheap To Get To
As Bergamo is barely 40 miles North of the mega-hub that’s Milan, getting there couldn’t be simpler. In truth, the regional airport markets itself as Milan-Bergamo (BGY), internet hosting lots of of low-cost flights from quite a few Italian and European locations.
Intra-Europe flights to Bergamo Airport may be as low cost as US$10 booked prematurely with finances airways like Ryanair, which use it as a hub.
Arriving in BGY, vacationers can both hop on a Milan or Bergamo-bound shuttle, because the airport serves each cities.
Guests arriving in Milan Linate, or Milan Malpesa, the Lombardian capital’s two main worldwide airports, can journey by bus or practice to Bergamo from central Milan for between US$6 and US$11.00 one-way.
How Long To Stay In Bergamo
As Bergamo is a compact metropolis, and a lot of the points of interest are all crammed throughout the defensive partitions of the Upper City, you may simply see it in a single day, although we’d counsel no less than 3 days within the wider Bergamo province to actually take within the environment of the Northern Italian countryside, and go to a neighboring village or two.
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This article initially appeared on TravelOffPath.com