The northern Italian city of Bergamo is situated in the Lombardy region, about 40km (25 miles) northeast of Milan. Its older upper district, the Città Alta, is accessible via a funicular and is characterised by cobblestone streets and an array of medieval, Renaissance and baroque architecture, encircled by 16th century Venetian walls. The Duomo di Bergamo, the city`s cathedral, the Romanesque Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore, and the grand Cappella Colleoni, a chapel with 18th-century frescoes by Tiepolo, can all be found here. The cafe rich Piazza Vecchia (Old Square) is a popular focal point.
These shots were all taken over 10 years ago during a city break when luckily, the weather stayed fine with good visibility which enabled views of the surrounding countryside from the city`s high point, San Vigilio, which is reached by a second funicular.
As of 2015, Bergamo was the second most visited city in Lombardy after Milan. No doubt the rise of low-cost budget flights have helped to boost its popularity with European travellers and the city`s Il Caravaggio International Airport was rated the third-busiest airport in Italy that year with 10.5 million passengers.
Base for our stay was the Hotel Excelsior San Marco in the Città Bassa, or Lower Town which was handy for reaching the bus and train stations. Milan and Lake Garda can be visited by public transport and if you hire a car, much more of northern Italy can be explored quite easily. The view from our balcony is shown below.
It was a surprise to discover that, unlike much of Italy, what many people would term traditional pasta dishes aren`t the norm here, with Polenta very much in evidence in the city`s restaurants and trattorias. The local staple is made by grinding corn into flour, or meal and has a rich yellow, yolk-like colour, with a slightly sweet flavour. Polenta can be cooked to be creamy and thick, or allowed to set and is then sliced, being an alternative to not only pasta, but rice or potatoes too. Trying it once was enough for me!