Italy is America’s favourite European getaway when the new winds of summer time start blowing.
A historic nation dwelling to a number of 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 yr after yr.
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, you might be questioning the place in Italy it is best to go subsequent – ideally, someplace you received’t want advance booking to enter, nor threat being fined when trying a selfie.
Believe us; it can happen.
This yr, 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 id and Italian tradition normally, had beforehand been awarded to different up-and-coming vacationer locations akin to Procida, a small island off the Bay of Naples and the gorgeous Parma.
This yr, 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 ignored 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 yr solely.
This could sound like quite a bit, 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 residing out their Italian summer time fantasy, Bergamo’s overtourism charges are manner decrease than the Italian common.
Why Is Bergamo Worth Visiting?
Divided into two components – Lower and Upper Bergamo – the town is finest recognized for its ‘upper’ half, or Città Alta, a walled historic core that’s been attracting a rising variety of History buffs and tradition fanatics in recent times.
This is basically attributable to UNESCO’s classification of the Venetian defensive techniques 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 for the reason that 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 the town as a day journey from Milan, however we might strongly suggest spending a minimum of three days right here savoring your manner via 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 embody:
- The Piazza Vecchia, the Upper Town’s foremost 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 wide ranging 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 by way of 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 towards 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, comfortable gelato, and abundance of contemporary fruit, owing it to a Mediterranean local weather, and Bergamo is not any totally different in the case 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 embody the creamy-textured Taleggio cheese, originating from the namesake valley near Bergamo. According to locals, it has been produced for the reason that Roman period – and naturally, there’s 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 inside the metropolis’s historic fortifications, and it’s attributed to restaurant proprietor Enrico Panattoni.
It obtained so fashionable the idea unfold all around 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 lately 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 price exploring, together with:
- Brescia, a medium-size metropolis dotted with UNESCO-listed monuments, such because the historic Tower of Pegol
- Crema, a standard 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 recognized 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 method to Lakes Como or Garda*
*Iseo and Sarnico are two of essentially the most lovely cities straddling Lago d’Iseo
Bergamo Is Easy And Cheap To Get To
As Bergamo is just 40 miles North of the mega-hub that’s Milan, getting there couldn’t be simpler. In reality, the regional airport markets itself as Milan-Bergamo (BGY), internet hosting tons of of low-cost flights from quite a few Italian and European locations.
Intra-Europe flights to Bergamo Airport might be as low-cost as US$10 booked upfront with funds 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 prepare 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 inside the defensive partitions of the Upper City, you may simply see it in a single day, although we might recommend a minimum of 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