A city bursting with contemporary and classic masterpieces, Bergamo is a cultural melting pot of Renaissance architecture, baroque beauty and cultural wealth. The city’s contrasting components are the magnificently medieval Upper Town and the modern and metropolitan Lower Town; these anachronistic aspects are connected by a smooth funicular and have equally enticing offerings. Fine food and astounding artworks are within reach in this culturally centred city, and panoramic vistas of the surrounding plains can be enjoyed from many venerated vantage spots.
The cultural climax of the city is undoubtedly the evocative medieval maze of Citta Alta, the historic upper town that oozes ancient charm. Hailed by some as Europe’s most beautiful square, the elegant and effervescent Piazza Vecchia is the social centre of the Old Town. Baroque buildings such as the pristine Palazzo Nuovo and the imposing Torre del Campanone border the café covered square, which leads to one of the city’s most alluring landmarks, the Cappella Colleoni. Within this incredible chapel resides the glorious tomb of an Italian colonel, fantastical frescos and a dramatic central dome.
Considered one of Italy’s most important art galleries, the Academia Carrara houses a sublime selection of artistic masterpieces from painting pioneers. Represented artists include Botticelli, Canaletto and Titian, whose works can be enjoyed in the cool and cultural atmosphere of this gorgeous gallery.
The lush valleys and vineyards that surround Bergama make it an ideal place to enjoy the rich, robust and unique flavours of Italian cuisine. Creamy cheese, smooth olive oil and polenta rank amongst Bergama’s most tantalising culinary traditions and a restaurant that honours these aged authenticities is Giopi e la Margi. Housed in a cosy, vaulted room in the modern lower town, this restaurant delivers dishes designed to delight and dazzle; the spectacular cheese platter comes highly recommended. (Via Borgo Palazzo, 27, 24125 Bergamo)