This scenic medieval city of 120,000 people is located in the Lombardia region of Italy in the foothills of the Alps. From Bergamo’s train station a one-euro bus ticket provides you with transportation up the hill to Bergamo Alta, the upper part and historic center of Bergamo. Like many small towns in Italy, Bergamo has two sections, the lower part or “cittá bassa” and the older historic center up on a hill, the “cittá alta”. The beautiful Piazza Vecchia (Old Square) is the heart of the old town in Upper Bergamo. In the center of this piazza sits a fountain which was presented to the city in the 18th century. Other landmarks here are Palazzo Nuovo (New Palace), the 14th century Palazzo Podestà and the Palazzo della Ragione with its 12th century bell tower. The tower is 174 feet high and you can take an elevator or climb the 230 steps to the top for commanding views of the city and the distant Alps. High on a hill is La Rocca, an old fortress. From this vantage point you find beauty in the panoramic view of the city as well as serenity in the park surrounding the tower. Inside La Rocca is a museum which is open to the public. At one time this former Roman military camp had been a prison and also a barracks. Executions took place in the park which is appropriately named Parco delle Rimembranze (Park of Remembrance).
The most famous church in Upper Bergamo is the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore in Piazza del Duomo. This 12th-century church has a reputation for being one of the most important buildings in this entire region. Inside you can find medieval art as tapestries, frescoes, paintings and sculptures. The exterior is equally impressive with sculptures of lions and intricate carvings on columns and exterior walls.
Two funiculars operate in Bergamo, one rides up to the highest point to see Castello San Vigilio (the funicular is closed between one and three).