- Fabio Marcato
Detour to Bergamo: a cute village in North Italy
Planning a trip to Milan we found out a cheaper way to go by landing at the airport of Bergamo (BGY), so we decided to spend some days in this North-Italian city (recently ranked in the 52 Places to Go in 2023 by the New York Times) less than 50 km away from Milan. Reaching the city from the airport is easy and you can be there in just 6 kilometers with the help of a bus.
Bergamo (for the origin of the name or the story of the city, check it out on Wikipedia) is divided into 2 parts, one part higher (città alta) and one part lower (città bassa o nuova). The 2 parts are divide by Venetian walls (Mura venete), which are listed as a World Heritage Site and protected by UNESCO , since the city was also under the dominion of the Venetian republic. It is also famous for the Città dei mille (named for there being thousands of volunteers who joined to help Garibaldi for the unification of Italy in the XIX century) and as the city where Straciatella was born in the Pasticceria la Marianna.
First impact: finding accommodation in Bergamo
Our Ryanair's flight was (you’ll never guess🤪) 1 hour delayed so we had to do our late check-in even later. As often still happens in Italy, the check-in system was obsolete. We had an obscure phone contact and the person in charge came to meet us at the entrance of the building. Although the accommodation was located in a residential and industrial area just outside the city, we were lucky enough to find an Enoteca (Wine shop) open under the house and even though it was almost midnight they made us a savory hot panini with ham and cheese and served us a local dry white wine that was the best way to start our stay 🤩. Then we went finally can sleep in the pitch darkness of lovely Italian blinds (I missed them ).
The fancy side: Day and nightlife in Bergamo
The day after we had to work so we only got to the old city in the evening. The old city still preserves a medieval village feel. It is gorgeous and feels like you are time traveling back several centuries. But it is also very small and there is not a huge offer in terms of food that isn't touristy, so we went down to new city and had a good enough pizza at the pizzeria La Bruschetta.
Savoring a delicious and somewhat rare (outside of Italy) American pizza, with fries and a hot dog (wurstel) - Ryan couldn't even muster the courage to try it
On the way back we stopped at Mamo’s, the only gay bar in the city (sad but true). Here you can drink and eat for really good prices and they also do some weekly events like karaoke and single night.
Day 2 was chilled. I went to an Italian discount supermarket (I also missed these a lot) and got a bit carried away buying so much food, wine, and cakes. I bought all the ingredients to make a carbonara for lunch and a Salty cake (torta salata for dinner). I will let the pictures below speak themselves 😜 (I should be a chef). We also had a nice workout in McFit in Bergamo. It is just outside the city but easily reachable with an electric ride-share scooter, which are becoming more prevalent in the city.
On the way to Milan: how to get from Bergamo to Milan quickly
After an unbearably early check-out at 9 am we walked back in the old city to explore more. At first we walked across the old walls. It was quite foggy but still we could see the amazing landscape around just at the foot of Alps and some vines. Then we went to the cathedral, Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore. We had to pay the entrance (which is very rare in Italy), but it was worth it to sit there in solitude and enjoy the unbelievable design and detail. This is like a casket decorated inside and the colour of the Barocco Bas-relief roof reminded us of a Mandala.
After we ate 2 huge pizza focaccias at the old city's Il Fornaio, for the not-modest price of 10 euros each and numerous campari spritzes to kill the time. Finally we took a 18 a regional train that took us to Milan in just 50 mins.