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One Day in Bergamo: What the Others Haven't Told You Yet

Updated: May 6

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In planning my Northern Italian getaway, I knew from the get go I'd be flying to our Spanish vacation home in Zaragoza on RyanAir's convenient direct flight from Milan's Bergamo airport. It's cheap, it's direct, and it's a new route for us to try.


But I hesitated to consider Bergamo as an interesting place to visit.

In fact, being so close to Milan (been there, done that - I hate big cities), and Lake Como (trying to avoid due to crowds), I wanted to still see the mountains, the colorful lake towns, and experience the lake region for even just half a day, if our itinerary allowed for it.


That said, Bergamo was a complete after thought.


I focused in on getting from Parma to Bergamo by train, finding any side jaunts to the lakes to be longer and a tad more difficult. The day would have been spent in transit.


Then, I discovered - easy peasy Sicilian-lemon squeezy, Bergamo may actually be worth a visit in and of itself. The lakes could always wait for another visit when we had more time.


From there, it was a no brainer - we'd go directly to Bergamo and see what the town had to offer.


I had scoured other blogs, all telling me literally the same thing. The same must-try polenta sweets, the same tourist hot spots...but I wanted to find something a little bit more unique and off the beaten path.


So yes, some of this will be repeats to the other blogs, but I want to share with you how to spend one day in Bergamo that you haven't already heard from others. Let's see how I do!


stock image of bergamo

In this article we will explore:

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Getting to Bergamo by Bus

While everyone else is taking the train, we discovered a bus route that was direct from where we were staying the night before. Most people don't consider buses when the train system is so good, but I've always been a fan of Flixbus (or similarly well-established transport companies), especially when they provide me faster destination to destination service.


From Parma to Bergamo there is a direct bus, only 2.5 hrs, with no need to transfer in Milan. The bus company is Itabus, and costs around $5-10 per person for this ride.


Optionally, you can also go by Flixbus.




Where to Stay in Bergamo

While everyone else will tell you to stay in Citta Alta (the upper city of Bergamo's old town), we actually didn't base our hotel choice on location at all. Instead, I did my typical Booking.com search and put in the filters that mean the most to me. I've dived into this process on my link "how to find affordable accommodations".


pink flowers and a city view

What we ended up with was exactly what we needed:


We stayed at Angolo del Poeta for $137 for three people (2 adults +1 child), using our Genius discounts on Booking.com


  • Adorable antique covered interiors

  • Comfortable air conditioned rooms

  • Free breakfast

  • Airport shuttle

  • Charming service

  • Easy walk from the bus and train stations


About 20-25 minutes walk from the Citta Alta funicular (the launching point for a lot of activities), it was a perfect one night stay in Bergamo.


You can learn more about our stay at Angolo del Poeta or check out reviews from other guests at any of the links above.




One Day in Bergamo: Activities to Consider

Yes, go to the Citta Alta (the upper city) and go by way of Funicular. It's fun, inexpensive, and an excellent activity for starting your day in Bergamo.


Wander the piazzas, pop into any churches or buildings that pique your interest, or just snap photos of the many worthy places that you will pass.


I find when I'm researching that people are always telling me to visit this church and that gate, but then it becomes a marching game towards each dot on a Google map, and that's not a fun way to explore a city. At the end of the day, just wander. Really!


rolling hills of bergamo

If you want to add a couple pins to your walking route though, consider these more off the beaten path attractions in Bergamo:


The Lavatoio di Città Alta

Not far from the old piazza (piazza vecchia) you'll find tranquil solitude at the washbasins from over a century ago. Worth a quiet moment and a photo, and a unique slice of city history!


Castello de San Vigilio

This popular spot is a noteworthy place to venture to, and it requires an additional ride further up the funicular route. Take your time and consider staying for not only the views, but also the numerous restaurants at the top of the hill.


An enduring walk from the Citta Alta or an easy taxi ride, this is a lovely place to get out of town and feel the country air, without really leaving the city. There is an onsite terrace with drinks and food offerings as well!



Moroni Palace and Gardens (Palazzo Moroni)

Another fine example of a hidden gem in Bergamo, this palace is adorned with magnificent frescos and peaceful gardens in the Citta Alta. Get your ticket online in advance, if you wish.


This museum is full of artifacts from the 16th century, along with ruins, walls with murals, intricate archways and more, all explaining the history of Bergamo. This is located conveniently in the heart of the Citta Alta square.


Catch a Soccer Match at Stadio Atleti Azzurri d'Italia

Do something offbeat and truly Italian and catch a soccer (futbol) match for the Atalanta team. It's sure to be a roaring good time! Check the schedules at https://www.atalanta.it/biglietteria/


Bergamo hillside houses and green rolling hills

This small but enjoyable archaeological museum caters to those who loved Indiana Jones as a kid. See Roman tablets, mosaic tiles, statues and artifacts that explain the unearthed history of Bergamo and the Lombardy region.


If you haven't seen a lot of convents, then this is worth a visit for photos and history. This can also be found walking distance from the Citta Alta.


prosciutto plate


Guide to Eating In Bergamo


What to Eat in Bergamo


Upon researching, I found that Bergamo is known for several hearty Northern Italian dishes, and numerous sweets. Here's some of the most well known of the region:


vanilla and chocolate chip ice cream

  • Stracciatella gelato, more or less a chocolate chip vanilla - a classic

  • Polenta - served both in sweets (polenta e osei) and in hearty dishes like polenta with braised rabbit or ossobuco

  • Bergamasca salami

  • Casoncelli*- a stuffed pasta with aged cheese so rich, it does not require intense sauces

  • Foiade pasta* - folded sheets of pasta, similar to a wide noodle pasta, but thicker and cut to shape more like a ravioli (it is not stuffed)


*Try these two pasta dishes as part of the Bergamo Food Tour below!


If you find something on the menu that is "Bergamasca", you've found a local dish.



Bergamo Food Tours to Consider

Because for me food and wine take center stage in every vacation, it is without hesitation that I provide you with the below amazing food-centric tours in Bergamo:






Where To Eat in Bergamo


scenic restaurant view in bergamo

Trattoria Parietti

Pass the enticing terraces overlooking the scenic views from Castello de San Vigilio and hoof it about 20 minutes up the hill to this highly recommended gem in Bergamo's hillside. With classic busy decor and delightful homemade pastas, this authentic trattoria is worth the calorie-burn to get there. Request that a taxi bring you back down to your hotel.


La Fiaschetteria

Highly recommended for local salumi (meats like salami, proscuitto and bresaola), along with local cheeses and wine. Wonderful atmosphere welcomes guests for an end of day treat (open only from 7pm to midnight). Bonus: it's a short 15 minute walk from Angolo del Poeta .


Antica Hosteria del Vino Buono

Stone walls, checkered tablecloths and Bergamasca cuisine await at this typical Italian restaurant located centrally in the square at the top of the Citta Alta funicular. This would be a fine choice for those wanting to dine without leaving the main tourist zones.


Osteria Aneti

An inviting familiar atmosphere serves local cuisine with charming surrounds. Wines are served by the mug, which is fun, and the heaping meat plates are a great way to start. A 6 minute stone's throw walk from your hotel at Angolo del Poeta, it's an easy place to have a final meal before an airport run the next day.


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Guest
May 02

Love the Gelato pic. 😍

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Replying to

I know, doesn't that make you want to book a plane ticket?!

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