Over the past few years, we have flown into Bergamo several times and find it a great hub for Northern Italy. We’ve rented cars and headed to the lakes. We’ve visited Verona – reaching it via motorway in about 75 minutes. We’d a great round trip a few years ago taking in Parma, Bologne, Ravenna and back via Ferrara. The shuttle bus has taken us to Milan from the airport door in under an hour for €5 each way.
Bergamo is a really useful base for exploring the region but if you’re booking a flight anytime soon, you should consider spending a night or two in this lovely city before picking up your rental or hopping on the Milan bus.
Just 5 kms from Orio al Serio airport, the local bus takes around 20 minutes to travel into town. You can buy a Bergamo Card at the airport (24/48/72 Hours) which includes the airport bus and unlimited travel on ATB buses, trams and the funicular railway as well as typical offers and discounts.
Bergamo is structured on two levels – the lower modern city – Citta Bassa – and the upper historical centre – Citta Alta. One full day will allow time to see the main attractions and to wander the medieval streets and alleys for a while.
1. The walls around Citta Alta were built in the 16th century and extend for almost 6kms, marking the boundary of the historical centre.
2. Piazzaa Vecchia represents the heart of the old city. Here you will find the Duomo, the Civic Tower, the old Town Hall and Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore.
3. Have a look at the amazing works of art inside the cathedral and basilica.
4. Spend some time wandering through the backstreets of the old town.
5. Enjoy the beautiful views across the plain.
6. If you still have time then check out the collection of Italian masterpieces in the Accademia Carrara in Citta Bassa.
There is a local bus service in the Citta Bassa and the funicular connects the 2 towns.
Food and Drink
There are plenty of options in both Citta Bassa and Citta Alta but be prepared to pay a bit more in the old town.
Lunch: Il Fornaio offers a great selection of pizza slices, focaccia, sandwiches etc. You can eat upstairs or just join most people eating on the street.
Dinner: On our first visit to Bergamo, we arrived late and the hotel receptionist sent us around the corner to La Bruschetta. It was exactly what we wanted on a first night in Italy – cosy, nice atmosphere, good food, better wine …….we go back every time and have never been disappointed.
Citta Bassa mightn’t have the same atmosphere but we find it convenient and better value.
Hotel Arli is located close to the airport bus stop and is about a 10 minute walk from the funicular.
For a budget option, B and B Hotel Bergamo is located a bit further out beyond the train station but you can still walk into the centre.