I spent my last day in Italy discovering the quaint little town of Bergamo, east of Milan. Unlike the rest of the week, it was cloudy and chilly, so I had to bundle up for the day. Bergamo is home to one of the smaller Milan airports, so many people just pass through on their way to catch a flight. However, after reading about it in my ever faithful Lonely Planet guidebook, I decided that I wanted to check it out. Medieval walls, spectacular views, Renaissance architecture, and The Bergamo Alps, check, check, check, double check. Sold, Lonely Planet, you’ve discovered all my key travel words.
Bergamo is divided into an upper town (città alta) and a lower town (città bassa), and a funicular carries you to the top, which is, trust me, where you want to spend most of your time. Bergamo is a very “Italian” city which was different than Como and the Italian Lakes farther north, which had more of a European, glam vibe to them. The città alta is full of quaint, old world kind of shops and cafes all along narrow, cramped cobblestone streets. Be careful on those streets though; I will always remember Bergamo as the city that ripped a hole in the sleeve of my favorite leather jacked (rusty nail). Sob.
However, all’s well that ends well, and I got it fixed as soon as I got back to Logroño. I spent the rest of the day getting lost, popping in and out of local artesian shops and bakeries, drinking way too many cappuccinos, stuffing my face with Italian pastries, and stocking up on pressies for friends and family (and myself haha). I decided to be adventurous and take a local bus to the top of the mountain town for views of the surrounding countryside and mountains, and managed to get completely and utterly lost before some kindly old Italian signora took pity on me and led me down the mountain on foot rambling on in Italian about god knows what for 30 minutes.
After that I tucked into a delicious three course meal of traditional local cuisine; I needed it after that long, cold walk, before heading back down to the città bassa to grab my stuff and catch a train back to Milan. My pervading memories of Bergamo are the spectacular views, a whole lot of intelligible Italian, polenta, a very Florentine looking cathedral and baptistry, and a torn jacket. Also, there is no wifi ANYWHERE in Bergamo, so be prepared. I started to have withdrawal halfway through the morning.
Have you ever been to Bergamo? Has a stopover city ever ended up surprising you?