Bergamo Italy

June 26 & 27
Bergamo, Italy

Bergamo is really two towns: Citta Alta, or Upper City (Upper Bergamo) and Citta Basse, the Lower City. It began with the upper city settled by the Venetians in the 17th century, surrounded by a wall with four large gates. The modern city now resides in Citta Basse, and it is a fair-sized city, but not unmanageable, unless you’re a tourist coming in from out-of-town and trying to find your lodgings. Then it feels impenetrable, like the fortress that resides on the northeast corner of Citta Alta.

After we recovered from the stress of trying to find our B&B (which involved multiple wrong turns, heading up a narrow drive and nearly taking out a girl on a scooter and paying the bartender in the bar to use his phone) and then from the shock that it wasn’t really a B&B but a guy who rents out rooms in a modern house (despite the fact that his website looks all charming and cutesy–it’s all business), we went back to Upper Bergamo.

San Giacomo Gate
Bergamo, Italy
June 2008

After dinner at a place called Franko’s and few pictures, we went back to our room in the basement and crashed. How do you get this shot with a digital camera and no tripod? Set it on shutter priority and guess on the exposure time (this was about 2 seconds) then–this is the critical part–set it for a delay shutter of at least two seconds. This gives you time to push the button, let the camera stop wiggling from your fingers, and be still for the shot. Of course you have to prop it on something, but hey, I’m improvising. A stone wall and the corner of our tourist map worked for us.

The next day we were more prepared, even after Elizabeth dissolved into tears at breakfast trying to explain to Fillippo that she had to have a phone to call her family and why didn’t this place have one and he disputing that notion saying he’d get stuck with the calls to London, to Brussels and the phone was only to let guests in at the gate and she tried to eat breakfast but it was fake juice and salami and wedges of cheese and coconut yogurt–all on her items on her Ick List (salami for breakfast???), so what else could she do but excuse herself for a private moment or ten of Travel Grief.

And so we began the day.

How hot was it? Hot enough that this customer coaxed the server into cutting off his sleeves.

Hot enough enough that the local who went to Market Day in the local square was still wearing her house dress.

Above is the bell tower from Bergamo. That’s where we were in the previous post when we tried to record the bells of Bergamo. It’s really lovely to look out over the city and it was about the only cool place as the open sides caught all the breezes.

We walked down to the Piazza del Duomo (Church Square) and saw some of Bergamo’s famous edifices. This one, the Baptistry, isn’t so famous, but it is nice with its symmetry and statues of angels.

This is the famous one. Colleoni Chapel. Mr. Colleoni, a very nice guy, promised to build the citizens of Bergamo a better cathedral if they’d let him build this chapel where to put his mortal remains. He built this, and the ornate doorway beside it that led to the cathedral and then died. Of course, I read all this in a Translated-from-Italian guidebook, so I may be a little fuzzy on the details. I think that Bergamo went ahead and built their basilica/church and billed Venice for it (the Vatican?) but were only partially paid.

Dave caught some nice details of the building. Rose and gray and white marble cover the exterior.


My shot from above–this looks like a row of sitting Yodas.

Inside the cathedral. Dave’s really good with landscape shots. He rarely took photos before getting his camera–too expensive–he said. All that film and developing. I’ve enjoyed our nightly slide shows on his computer. We sit in bed and go through all the photos we’ve taken for that day.

Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore
Bergamo, Italy
June 2008


Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore
Bergamo, Italy
June 2008

Years of children climbing the red marble lions outside have polished them in certain parts.

Dave caught the detail on the outside gate.

Gallery of Imagining. Not really. I’m sure it means images but I like my interpretation better.

A popular treat is Polenta e Osei. I think that means cornmeal and the swallows.

But it’s really like a Twinkie with chocolate filling and a grainy, sugary fondant coating on the outside (the “osei” are chocolate–I don’t know what the white thing is supposed to be–bread crumbs?).

Shot from the bell tower. In one of the gardens, we could see Disney statuettes of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. We export our best culture.

In other shots you can see a rotunda with a golden statue of St. Alessandro on top. This is the backside, where it was undergoing reconstruction on the roof. The scale of the workers to the building fascinated me.

From the bell tower. It was nice–they had an elevator to ride up in. Dave hesitated for a moment–wanting to be “authentic” about the experience, leaning toward climbing the 56 meters of steps. I didn’t hesitate to push the button for the elevator.

Bergamo Bell
Bergamo, Italy
June 2008

This picture was taken from the Rocca fortress in the corner of the old city. It’s really old. It also had nice breezes. (We kind of went wherever we thought there’d be a breeze, sighing when it died down.) I liked the towers all lined up–reminded me faintly of our visit to San Gimignano last year.

Bergamo Street


Window Wells
Bergamo, Italy
June 2008


Dave found this shot of a private courtyard and ornate gate.


Three Rooflines
Bergamo, Italy
June 2008

1 thought on “Bergamo Italy”

  1. Thanks for the pics and the interesting story. I’m planning to go there this spring so am looking for info on places to see there.

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