• Art & Culture

Bergamo in a weekend

A perfect square, the masterpieces of the Carrara Academy, the Venetian Walls Unesco World Heritage Site. Discover Bergamo!

Viewed from above, Bergamo is just like Stendhal described it: “The most beautiful place on earth.” Palaces, towers and domes, all within a single embrace.

The embrace of the city walls: built starting from 1561 by the Republic of Venice, the circle, just over five kilometres long, is perfectly preserved and has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2017. The sequence of impressive gates and bastions take us straight into a page of history, discovered as we walk all around them. On a clear day, it’s like a theory of infinity.

In the heart of the Renaissance. Piazza Vecchia is Bergamo’s historic lounge: it is the “perfect” square loved by Le Corbusier. Facing each other, two extraordinary wings create a play of perspectives: the Palazzo della Ragione and the Palazzo Nuovo (currently Biblioteca Angelo Mai) with its white marble façade. Behind the Palazzo della Ragione, yet another world reveals itself: from the intellectual Romanesque style of Santa Maria Maggiore, with its amazing wood inlays depicting stories designed by Lorenzo Lotto, to the mausoleum of the humanist condottiero Colleoni.

And that’s not all. Upper Bergamo offers unexpected glimpses as you slowly lose yourself among hidden courtyards, flavours, and ancient skills. From Gombito to Colle Aperto, where, surrounded by the vegetation, the elegant profile of another treasure, the former Chiesa di Sant’Agostino dominates the scene.

The rediscovered museum. The citizens of Bergamo love it, tourists flock to visit it, the social media give it awards. After a seven-year restoration, the Accademia Carrara (1794) is one of the most visited museums in Italy. Among the nearly 600 works, visitors can simply let themselves be enchanted by masterpieces like Raphael’s “San Sebastiano” or the “Ritratto di bambina” by Giovan Battista Moroni. Be prepared for a journey through five centuries of Italian art.

All aboard! Two funiculars: the first one, built in 1887, takes 2 minutes and 40 seconds to climb up to Bergamo Alta, the Upper Town. The other one reaches even higher, up to San Vigilio, in a pristine spot tucked away in the Parco dei Colli. Here the perspective is overturned, the Upper Bergamo is now low and becomes part of a boundless landscape.

From event to event. To mention just two: in June, the “Donizetti Night”, a big piazza festival, just like the composer would have wanted it. Opera music comes out of the theatres and takes hold of the alleys, cloisters and monuments. Alternative spirit, contamination to the rhythm of break dance and drums. In October, “Bergamo Scienza” offers lectures, workshops and meetings to learn about the human face of scientific discoveries, with guests from all over the world.

Gates and ramparts, the perfect square, a rediscovered museum, two funiculars, and a star of opera, Gaetano Donizetti. Five aspects that render Bergamo irresistible

Take me here: Bergamo in a weekend

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