Bergamo - Piazza Vecchia and Piazza Duomo
Bergamo and its province are ideal destinations for those who love art and culture but also sports, thanks to its efficient tourism facilities. Tourism in the area, in fact, takes advantage of artistic offerings, natural scenic beauty and a pleasant climate. The province of Bergamo is situated in eastern Lombardy and occupies the central section of the Lombardy Pre-Alps and a small part of the Po plain. The north of the province is a mountainous region, connected to the south by land straddling the hills and the Po Plain.
The territory of Bergamo boasts landscapes that combine nature and human presence in a harmonious way. Its valleys (Val Brembana and Val Seriana are the main ones, giving way to smaller, but no less evocative valleys), are the locations for ski slopes of varying degrees of difficulty which are served by a network of ski lifts to the numerous pistes.
These valleys are not only beautiful in winter: they seem to reveal their sweeter face during the summertime, offering beautiful excursions in lush vegetation bathed in light; in autumn the forests covering the hillsides are an explosion of browns and reds , a fairy tale landscape that changes with every day.
The lakes area at the border with Brescia boasts the Lake of Iseo, where you can take part in water sports, boat trips or visit the surrounding villages and Lake Endine, considered to be a wildlife oasis surrounded by woods and reed beds.
In the area incorporating Val Cavallina, Val Calepio, Alto and Basso Sebino, the lakes have more distinctive, geographical outlines, united with the surrounding hills and peaks, with their own particular environmental features and a wealth of historic and artistic heritage.
The International Airport of Bergamo – Orio al Serio, just 5 kilometres from the city – is served by various national and international airlines and is the ideal landing place in the province of Bergamo.
The streets of Bergamo, surrounded by city walls and nestled on a hill, retain the look of a medieval village, enclosed by its strong walls built by the Venetians in the XVI century when the Republic of the “Serenissima” was at the height of its power; more than three centuries of prosperity and economic development have left their mark in the monuments, institutions and the character of its people.
Testaments to this period are the well-preserved palaces, churches and public squares, such as the group of buildings comprising the Dome, the Colleoni Chapel and the Baptistery, just to mention few, along with Piazza Vecchia (the old public square) and Palazzo della Ragione.
The Carrara Academy, one of the most important art galleries in the whole of Italy, must not be missed, along with the Donizetti Theatre, dedicated to the most illustrious citizen of Bergamo where famous works are performed. Elsewhere in the Bergamo region, the medieval spirit alternates with more recent architecture of outstanding artistic value, such as the church of Saint Tomè, a Romanesque jewel dedicated to Saint Almenno Bartolomeo, the church of Saint Barbara which houses an important cycle of frescos by artists including Lorenzo Lotto andTrescore Balneario. The castles of Cavernago are powerful defensive structures, converted over the years into noble residences enlivened with frescoes, and many palaces - splendid patrician residences – are scattered throughout the territory.
Caravaggio is well worth a visit, with its important Marian sanctuary dating from 1451 and Pontida, the location of a Benedictine monastery where the Lombard municipalities met in 1167 and swore to defend their freedom against Federico Barbarossa.
The workers’ town of Crespi d’Adda (founded at the end of 1800) enjoys UNESCO status as a World Heritage Site; it’s a small town with an old, disused factory and houses built for the workers of that time, which are still in use today. The workers’ town of Crespi d’Adda is considered one of the most complete and best-preserved of its type in southern Europe; it can be visited with a guide or alone.
For winter sports’ enthusiasts, the pre-Alpine Orobiche ski resorts offer snowboarding, skating and ski slopes for holidays with the best in sport, nature and high-quality services.
Those who prefer a holiday devoted to wellbeing and relaxation in the mountains, enjoying fresh, clear air and lush vegetation, should head for the Saint Omobono spa in the Imagna Valley.
The Seriana Valley offers a range of tourist provisions for lovers of cycling, trekking and walking through villages of rare beauty, or visits to Gromo Castle, built in 1226 atop a rock dominating the valley and the waterfalls of Serio which, at 315 metres are the highest in Italy and among the highest in Europe.
There are many walks through oases of nature starting from the Parco dei Colli di Bergamo, which encompasses a large valley surrounding the city, and then onto the region’s nature reserve of Valpredine, a WWF centre, with the typical wildlife of the Apls and botanical gardens, where Mediterranean vegetation has been artificially cultivated, adapting to the climatic conditions. The evocative mountain pathway, the Sentiero dei Fiori ( the path of flowers) in the boroughs of Oltre il Colle and Zambla is worthy of note for it plants of ancient origin that date back to the Ice Age.
The lakes are the destination of choice for those who love sailing, windsurfing, mini-cruises or simply walking by the lakeside.
At Villa d’Adda, it’s possible to take a ferry on the river Adda aboard a craft invented by Leonardo da Vinci: a 60-metre wooden boat linking the river banks of Lecco and Bergamo, ideal for walks, picnics and excursions in the fresh air.
Finally, there’s the Terme di Trescore, a spa whose health-giving waters offer a pleasurable stay combinging health, well-being and relaxation.
Bergamo is a land boasting a varied and tasty range of gastronomic products: from cheeses to desserts, from cured pork meat to polenta. There are culinary delights to satisfy every palate.
The classic Bergamo starters are: “Casonsei de la bergamasca” and “Scarpinocc de Par,” prepared with fresh pasta, are real delicacies for those who love fine dining.
Bergamo remains the home of polenta, classic or ‘taragna’ (accompanied by the excellent, dairy cheeses of the local tradition), which is served with game or stew.
For those with a sweet tooth, there are plenty of tempting desserts: Clusoni biscuits, covered in chocolate; San Pellegrino; the famous polenta and Osèi de la Bergamasca made with sponge cake and butter cream, chocolate and nuts, the Tort di Treviglio and the Torta del Donizatti.
Traditional Sebino oil accompanies the dishes, produced in a vast area surrounding the Lake of Iseo from north to south.
The wines are varied and prestigious, especially in the hilly area that runs from the river Adda to Lake Isea (the Valcalepio area). Valcalepio has seen the renaissance of wine production in the land of Bergamo, above all at the beginning of the seventies, when skilful development of the vines began which, in 1976, led to the RED, WHITE and MOSCATO PASSITO wines being awarded the prestigious DOC certification.
Every district of Bergamo is also famous for its cheeses: branzi which comes from Val Brembana, the formai de mut and taleggio, which takes its name from Val Taleggio valley where production began –around the 10th and 11th centuries. This is regarded as the best cheese to eat with polenta dishes and the wines of Valcalepio. Another typical cheese is the stracchino bronzone, one of the most characteristic products of Basso Sebino: it’s a soft cheese whose authenticity and quality has made it a candidate for the DOP classification. Bergamo is also famous for its production of honey, regarded as the perfect accompaniment to cheese.
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