Bergamo's Piazza Vecchia is one of the classic piazza of Europe
It has been a number of years since we have been in the Lombardy Region. It was good to return and our stay at the Hotel Gombit, located next to the 13th century Torre del Gombito in the old upper town of Bergamo, provided to be a great location and the rooms and hotel staff were great.
After a couple of days in Bergamo we made the big drive down to the Crete Senesi are of Tuscany.
It is a long time coming, but we were pleased to have the opportunity to be in Bergamo again. Located in the Region of Lombardy, we spent the first part of our arrival day in the lower "newer" town and then drove up to the città alta, the historic old town in the afternoon when we could check into our hotel. Bergamo is the second most visited city in the Lombardy Region, second just behind Milan. It is no wonder, being there again we were reminded how stunning the old city is in terms of feel and architecture.
But this year we did spend the late morning and early afternoon in the lower "newer" town. We were not disappointed. Beautiful architecture, and the town is quite pleasant, especially with a lower number of tourists. We had a great lunch, walked the streets, and visited the pen store when it opened in the afternoon.
We had a good lunch at a trendy restaurant: Zitto & Mangia, Corso delle Liberta, 21.
After lunch we explore the city and then headed over to the Casa della Penna on via Sant'Orsola, 19A - a very good pens store in Bergamo. A review of that store is found on www.glennspens.com
There is a funicular that leads up the hill but of course we had a car so we drove through one of the gates, and attempted to find our hotel. It was not that easy as we did not have our GPS working. At one point I stopped the car, jumped out and walked over to a policeman who was helping with traffic. He seemed surprised at first. When he asked me where my car was located, and I pointed to the car sitting at the stop sign, he quickly gave directions and we found the hotel in literally minutes.
Gombit Hotel, via Maria Lupo, 6 - Bergamo Alta, www.gombithotel.it
The staff at the hotel were very helpful, there was a play to stop, they gave me the garage opener and pointed me into the direction where the hotel had parking stalls. From them on we just walked about the town.
From the 6th Century on, Bergamo was one of the most important cities in northern Italy. In the 11th Century the city became part of the feud between the Guelph and Ghibelline factions. (That feud was all about the support for the Pope and the Holy Roman Emperor. The Hold Roman Empire started in the early middle ages and actually continued until it was dissolved in 1806. This included the Kingdom of Germany, the Kingdom of Burgundy and the Kingdom of Italy to name a few key areas. The Holy Roman Empire was not a centralized state, but rather individual entities that were governed by kinds, dukes, counts, bishops and abbots. The Guelphs supporting the Pope, tended to be wealthy mercantile families. The Ghibellines, supporting the Holy Roman Emperor, came from families whose wealth came from agricultural estates.
One of the reasons to return to Bergamo is that I particularly wanted to photograph the center of the old town, the Piazza Vecchia as it is lined with cafes and elegant architecture. It is lined with impressive buildings. Highlights include the Palazzo Nuovo (1611) which was started in 1611 but not finished until 1928!. Palazzo del Podestà was the home of the representative of Venice. Palazzo della Ragione should be a great photo site with its arches and columns which date back to the 12th century. The Torre del Campanone at night tolls the 10 pm curfew. It was built in the 12th century and in the 14th century was used as a jail. There is an elevator that takes visitors to the top. Well that was the plan.
The piazza was the sight of a major art installation. The stone piazza was covered with a green "grass covering", lounge chairs and balloons. The towns people seemed to be enjoying it. As a photographer hoping to see the original piazza, I was disappointed.
From the piazza it is a few feet until you enter the Piazza Duomo where the stunning Basilica di Santa Marie Maggiore stands. Work started on this church in 1137 and it was finally finished in the 15th Century. Next to the Basilica is the Bergamo Cathedral. The church is impressive but no where as much as the Basilica. Across the piazza is the small octagonal baptistery which was built in 1340. It is behind a closed gate.
The first night we were a bit tired so I walked down to Il Forngio which is located at via Colleoni 3, the main street, and it offers great take out pizza.
The Restaurante Bernabo, located at the Piazza Mascheroni, 11 was very good. We ate there a couple of times.
© 2017 Glenn & Karen Marcus
my travels in Italy