If you looking for an day trip one not too far from Milan or Lake Como, to visit Bergamo is our suggestion. All you need is just a half day visit to realize the beauty of the art and history that surrounds Bergamo is one of the best places to visit in Italy the historic center of Bergamo or as it is known Bergamo Alta. This medieval city surrounded by ramparts built in the sixteenth century and located at the foot of the Alpine range is, the jewel of Lombardy.
In the Old Town Square, on the south side, you can visit the Colleoni Chapel. This renaissance work by Giovanni Antonio Amedeo fascinates with its prized marble and frescos by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo. The chapel was built as a mausoleum for Bartolomeo Colleoni captain-general of the Republic of Venice, and his beloved daughter Medea. There is also the cathedral dedicated to St. Alexander, Patron of the town, built on the site of the old Lombard church of San Vincenzo.
You can then continue to the octagonal Baptistery and the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore with its beautiful portals on the north and south side. It’s of John Champion construction began in 1133 by John Champion. The church has two layers of rich decorations: the ancient frescos of ‘300 (such as the tree of life that took up the entire wall of the church) and the one with tapestries and stucco wanted by St. Charles Borromeo at the end of ‘500.You can admire a beautiful inlay by Lorenzo Lotto, it is not a painting but a type of decoration that is realized by combining pieces of minute driftwood and taking advantage of the knots and imperfections you get different colors. And finally there is the tomb of Gaetano Donizetti, a monument full of allegories by Vincenzo Vela in 1855. The monument has designed paths for the disabled especially the visually impaired who can touch the keyboard of the piano and the wings that represent the music and thus have a direct contact with the monument .
Continuing in the Old Town Square is the Fontana Contarini , the gift made to the citizens by the mayor when he left his job and whose intent was to beautify the place but also to provide the residents a valuable tool used for domestic purposes and against drought. Also you will see the civic tower called the “great Bell” where even today at 10pm strikes a 100 times in memory of the curfew and from where you can admire a beautiful view of the city.
Then there is the New Palace that houses the Biblioteca Angelo Mai , and the Palazzo della Ragione , a new building in the Middle Ages that has a open floor plan with a large porch with a sharp arched loggia with pillars and arches adorned with Romanesque capitals. Inside you can visit an exhibition symbol of Italian collectors as the “Madonna and Child” by Lorenzo Lotto, the “Canal Grande viewed from Palazzo Balbi ” by Canaletto and ” The Adoration of the Shepherds” by Perugino.
Walking along the “Corsarola” (or Via Colleoni ) you will find handicraft shops. Another great walk is along the “Walls of Venice”, which was the symbol of the power of Venice 450 years ago. Its construction caused the demolishion of many important churches and monasteries. The walls were accompanied by gunboats with 100 guns and sentry boxes, stations with soldiers.
The favorite food of Bergamo is the polenta which is eaten also sweet. The famous “polenta osei “ consists of polenta cake covered with almond paste and decorated with yellow and chocolate birds. Another favorite is the “ casonsei” which is a kind of rectangular ravioli stuffed with pork , parmesan cheese and amaretti raisins cooked with browned butter , bacon and sage.