Italy is America’s favourite European getaway when the new winds of summer time start blowing.
A historic nation house to a few of the world’s most iconic sights, together with the Colosseum, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and Milan Cathedral, it has sufficient sights and sights to maintain 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, it’s possible you’ll be questioning the place in Italy you must go subsequent – ideally, someplace you received’t want advance booking to enter, nor threat being fined when making an attempt 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 identification and Italian tradition usually, had beforehand been awarded to different up-and-coming vacationer locations akin to Procida, a small island off the Bay of Naples and the beautiful 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 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 yr solely.
This might sound like so much, nevertheless it 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 elements – Lower and Upper Bergamo – town is greatest recognized 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 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 job 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 rapidly tick off town as a day journey from Milan, however we’d strongly advocate spending at the very least three days right here savoring your manner by way of 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 sights 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 surprise 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 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, mushy gelato, and abundance of contemporary fruit, owing it to a Mediterranean local weather, and Bergamo is not any completely different on the subject 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 high.
Other regional delicacies embrace 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 may be stracciatella.
The creation Bergamo locals appear to be pleased with probably the most. The creamy gelato taste consisting of milk and chocolate bits was first concocted throughout the metropolis’s historical fortifications, and it’s attributed to restaurant proprietor Enrico Panattoni.
It received so standard the idea unfold all around the world, however a few of the perfect stracciatella can nonetheless be present in Bergamo’s Upper Town.
Straight Out Of A Movie Scene
Lastly, Bergamo has just 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 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, greatest 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 solution to Lakes Como or Garda*
*Iseo and Sarnico are two of probably the most lovely 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 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 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 sights are all crammed throughout the defensive partitions of the Upper City, you possibly can simply see it in a single day, although we’d counsel at the very least 3 days within the wider Bergamo province to actually take within the ambiance of the Northern Italian countryside, and go to a neighboring village or two.
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This article initially appeared on TravelOffPath.com