Before continuing our journey around Lake Garda, we decided to meet up with one of my students for a day in Bergamo.
With a distance of only 90 km from Sirmione, it made sense to spend a day in Bergamo.
They said few tourists visit Bergamo. We say, it is worth the trip, Bergamo is a hidden gem. If you’ve just joined us, catch up on the story so far, [here].
My student and his son Luca met us at the parking below the old city of Bergamo. We walked up a winding road, along the Venetian walls leading to the Citta Alta * (upper city, high city)
My student was telling us all about life in Bergamo and the historic importance of the Citta Alta. Foreign places awaken the senses inspire as much as they inform. We’ve been sharing what we saw, heard and tasted during the journey.
We reached San Giacomo, one of the higher grounds and one of the old entrances to the city. From there we admired panoramic views of the new city below and the alps in the distance.
A blue sky, sunny winter’s day in Italy.
In the old city, we came across the symbol of the Lion with the wings again. The lions with wings originate from the city of Venice and they symbolise magnificence and power. These symbols are found in many other places in the Veneto regions.
The Venetians built a 6-kilometer circuit of defensive walls to protect themselves from enemy attacks. The republics of Milan, the French, and Spanish over 4 centuries ago would have been enemies. Today the Venetian walls are still intact as the city never underwent a siege.
The small Citta Alta of Bergamo, with its alleyways and cobblestone paths, has a medieval charm. Historic sites include the church of Santa Maria Maggiore, the Pizza Vecchia and the Cappella Colleoni. This church stands out due to its colourful marble facade and features Biblical scenes and mythological stories.
Like everything in Italy, sooner or later the subjects turn to food. Restaurants and locals fill the alleyways and the smell of Pizza is in the air.
Talking about food, here is something we did not expect. Stracciatella Ice cream has its origins in Bergamo and was invented by the owner of the Cafe, La Marianna in Bergamo, Enrico Panattoni in 1961. The cafe offers Stracciatella ice cream and all sorts of authentic Italian specialities. [Here] is a link to the cafe.
For those who have not had Stracciatella Gelato, you should try it, it’s a delicious, creamy white ice cream with irregular pieces of dark chocolate.
With the thought of food in mind, my student invited us to a delicious traditional Italian lunch at his home with his wife and their two sons.
Sharing good food and company, comparing interesting stories about Italy and the rest of the world. What a memorable way to spend a day in Bergamo.