Set at the foothills of the Alps in Lombardy, the picturesque Italian city of Bergamo is admired for its medieval atmosphere and the wealth of art it treasures. Divided into two parts: the upper city and the lower city, Bergamo puts a history of over three centuries on display through its grand walls and fine monuments that include churches and piazzas.
There are some interesting facts about Bergamo that you should know. Go read!
1. The submerged Bergamo
Some 220 million years ago during the Triassic period, Bergamo was underwater. Except for some islands that were above the water, Bergamo was totally under the water. With the passage of time, the water level declined and fossils were found in the foothills of the mountains. You can check out these fossils in Bergamo’s Museo Civico Scienze Naturali.
2. Founded by the Celtic tribe of Cenomani
Before Bergamo there stood the prehistoric settlement of Bergomum. Celtic tribe of the Cenomani were the first settlers who started living in the foothills of the Alps. Later in 196 BC, Bergamo became a Roman town.
3. Game of thrones
In 49 BC Roman empire granted Bergamo the status of municipality. Attila the Hun destroyed the city in the 5th century. During the 6th century, Bergamo was a seat to the prominent Lombard duchy of northern Italy. Later in the 11th century, Bergamo was an independent commune. The Visconti family took over this town after 1329 and it became a part of Venice from 1428 to 1797. After 1797, the Cisalpine Republic ruled Bergamo and included it in the French empire. For a short period that started in 1815, it was ruled by Austria. Finally in 1859, it was again merged into the Italian Kingdom.
4. City of Bergamo is divided into two parts
The magnificent city Bergamo is divided into two parts: upper city or Città Alta is the medieval town nestled at the hilltop encircled by the massive Venetian walls. The other part was developed in the 19th century and is known as the lower city or Città Bassa. While the upper city features some prominent architectural marvels, the lower city is relatively modern and busier.
5. A UNESCO World Heritage site
Owing to the majestic defensive walls built around the upper city in the 16th century, Bergamo City is a very well known UNESCO World Heritage site. The walls are still in a very good shape as World War 2 didn’t cause much damage to this city.
6. Hop in for a fun cable ride.
The two parts: upper and lower parts of the city are connected by a cable railway. So, you can take this fun ride on the funicular which lets you glide across the defensive walls, gardens and several other notable monuments. One can even get a glimpse of Po plain and the Apennines during a clear day on this ride.
7. A paradise for Gelato lovers
Bergamo is the city where heavenly gelato flavor stracciatella was invented. It was invented in 1962 by Enrico Panattoni. He came across this flavor in his gelateria “La Marianna” which is open for the visitors even today! No doubt Bergamo serves some of the best gelatos in the whole world.
8. Second most visited city in Lombardy
Yes, you heard it right! After Milan, Bergamo is the second most visited city in the Lombardy region. Thanks to the wonderful architecture, museums, artifacts and lip smacking food, Bergamo attracts hordes of tourists throughout the year.
9. A running city tour
Did you know you can explore this ancient city while running? Yes, there is a tour around the city that lets you cover all the important tourist places in Bergamo while running. The tour is about 1 hour long and one can cover 4.5-10.5 kilometres during this tour depending upon their pace.
10. Largest Romanesque church of Santa Maria Maggiore and 800 years of music
The largest Romanesque church of Santa Maria Maggiore built in 1137 exhibits a unique blend of European and Romanesque architecture. It is claimed that from the past 800 years the church has contributed to the teachings of music and singing. Many notable musicians born in this city include Alessandro Grandi, Tarquinio Merula, Gaetano Donizetti and Pietro Locatelli.