Bergamo Bucket List: Best Activities and Amazing Places to Visit in Bergamo, Italy
If ever you’re exploring northern Italy, Bergamo is a definite must-visit. Bergamo is a small town in Lombardy just north of Milan with just over 120,000 citizens. It’s a unique city in Italy because it’s split into two parts: the upper old city surrounded by ancient Venetian walls, Citta Alta, and the lower, more modern Citta Bassa area. These two parts are connected by steep roads, but a more modern form of transportation called the Funicular is more commonly used.
There are a plethora of things to do and discover in town historic and modern town. Read further to find out the 15 best things to do in Bergamo, Italy.
1. Explore the Piazza Vecchia
Piazza Vecchia is the central square of the upper old town of Bergamo. It’s the best starting point to explore the town.
The square alone is surrounded by historic buildings with lavish architecture, it has a central fountain with lion sculptures, and travelers can have easy access to plenty of cafes and restaurants.
2. Walk Along the Venetian Walls
Built during the 15th and 16th centuries by the Republic of Venice as a form of defense against the Republic of Milan, Bergamo’s Venetian walls are a proud symbol of the town’s ancient history.
Much of the ancient walls remain intact today, and visitors can walk along with it and look down at Bergamo’s lower part.
3. Visit the Basilica of St. Mary Major
The Basilica of St. Mary Major was built on a Roman temple dedicated to the Goddess of Mercy. It was constructed in 1137 as a dedication to the Virgin Mary for protecting the town’s people against the plague.
This impressive Basilica is decorated with sculptures from top to bottom with breathtaking frescos covering its ceilings.
4. Check out Colleoni Chapel
Colleoni Chapel won’t be miss when visitors step foot in Piazza Duomo. The church and mausoleum overlook the square with its stunning beauty. The chapel features a curious design and a mixture of pink and cream hues in its facade.
Inside, visitors will be greeted with magnificent sculptures, frescoes, and the Colleoni family’s sarcophagus.
5. Explore the Museum of Natural Science and Archaeology
Visitors will find Bergamo’s Museum of Natural Science and the Archaeology Museum side by side. Explore the Museum of Natural Science first to learn about the ancient history of the area and other parts of the world.
Next, in the Archaeology Museum, visitors will learn the history of Bergamo. A joint fee to visit both museums is available.
6. Admire the Art at Accademia Carrara
Accademia Carrara is housed in a stunning palace in the northern part of modern Bergamo. This art academy is the oldest in Italy and has priceless artwork that visitors can view.
The museum displays hundreds of artwork and sculptures selected from their collection of works from notable Italian artists.
7. Walkthrough Bergamo City Gate
Bergamo’s Old Town Venetian Walls were already mentioned on this list, but its city gates are also a worthy and impressive sight for visitors.
These ancient city gates are well preserved despite their age, and several gates can be visited along the ancient walls.
The most popular one to visit is the white rosewood marble gatehouse, Porta San Giacomo.
8. Scale up the Rocca di Bergamo
Rocca di Bergamo is an impressive ancient fortress dating back to the 14th century located at the northern part of upper Bergamo.
The fortress houses a museum commonly referred to as Rocca Museum serving as a dedication to its independence struggle.
Visitors can scale up the fortress tower and view most of Bergamo.
9. Spend Time in Piazza Matteotti
At Bergamo’s lower town lies its square, Piazza Matteotti. The center of the modern part of Bergamo is a well-kept outdoors space showcasing monuments, impressive buildings, cafes, and restaurants.
Trees dot the plaza giving shade. From Piazza Matteotti, travelers can easily explore the surrounding attractions of lower Bergamo.
10. Take a Stroll through Orto Botanico di Bergamo
Founded in the 1970s, Orto Botanico di Bergamo is the first green space of Bergamo right above the Old Town.
This botanical garden originally only has alpine plants, but with the Museum of Natural Science collaboration, this green area boasts over 1,200 plant species today.
11. Walk on Ancient Roman Streets
Two ancient Roman roads have remained intact in Bergamo. These ancient Roman roads are the main streets of the town called cardo and decumano.
Cardo takes pedestrians to the north and south while decumano leads them to the west and east. These two ancient Roman streets mark the oldest symbol of the town.
12. Go Shopping at Via XX Settembre
Go shopping down at Bergamo’s lower town in its vibrant shopping district. Via XX Settembre, the area’s main street full of diverse and high-end stores.
Go shop for designer clothes, eat a meal at a restaurant, get refreshments at a cafe, or browse through an international selection of books at a bookstore.
13. Hop on the Old Funicular
There are several ways to travel through Bergamo and between its upper and lower parts. The most exciting method is definitely riding on the Funicular.
This mode of transportation goes back to 1887 and has then been modernized throughout the years. The ride up the rails to the old town takes a few minutes with modern Bergamo’s panoramic views.
14. Check out the Unique Baptistery of St. Mary Major
Travelers can find the Baptistery of St. Mary Major just right of Colleoni Chapel. It’s a unique structure dating back to 1340.
Its octagonal shape makes it stand out from other buildings in its surrounding. It used to sit inside the Bergamo Cathedral but was moved to its current location in the 1660s.
15. Climb Up the Tower of the Fallen
Located at the lower half of Bergamo, the Tower of the Fallen is both a memorial and a museum dedicated to those who died during the events of World War 1. Six stories of the tower is a museum dedicated to the history of Bergamo’s lower half. It also features frescoes and an observation deck.
Bergamo Travel and Tour Packages
To help you plan out your vacation to Bergamo, we listed places to visit and other amazing activities in Bergamo, Italy. We also listed some of the best travel deals and tour packages and excellent flight deals and accommodation.
Searching for the best hotels, resorts, and affordable flights in the nearby Cities? Check out our list of affordable Bergamo hotels and resorts via Agoda, Booking, or you may also see available Airbnb properties in the city.