Bergamo Warnings and Dangers

  • Bring your Crash Helmet
    Bring your Crash Helmet
    by EasyMalc
  • Warnings and Dangers
    by Kathrin_E
  • Warnings and Dangers
    by Kathrin_E

Most Recent Warnings and Dangers in Bergamo

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    Conkers

    by EasyMalc Updated Oct 28, 2012

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    Bring your Crash Helmet

    If you happen to be here in late September don't forget to bring your crash helmet.
    Bergamo has more than its fair share of Horse Chestnut trees which, at this time of year, shed their seeds on the unsuspecting general public below.
    Don't get me wrong I love Horse Chestnut trees and when I was a schoolboy I loved playing Conkers but there's not much enjoyment in taking a direct hit from these hard shelled seeds, believe me.
    It's not that I don't want them around because they're beautiful trees, especially in the Autumn, but it's where they were positioned here that puzzeled me. For example why did someone think it was a good idea to put a bus stop next door to these trees, especially when it seems like a good idea to shelter under them when it's raining. Wrong!
    Where I live you have to look up because the local menace are seagulls, and in some places you have to look down to make sure you know where you're walking, but here the best thing to do is look where your'e walking first and if you see any conkers around look up and make sure you don't get hit before it's too late.

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    Pebbles!

    by Gillybob Updated Sep 15, 2012

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    Pebble walkway
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    Many of the paths in the Citta Alta are paved with pebbles. Square cobbles can present their own difficulties (getting stiletto heels stuck between cobbles) but pebbles are even harder as they don't present a flat surface for walking on and, therefore, it is quite easy to twist your ankle.

    These pebbles also get quite slippery when there is rainy weather.

    Also, as the surface is not flat, it is important to wear shoes which have a good, solid sole, otherwise, you might find your feet hurting a lot from the (quite pointy in places) surface.

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    What Goes Up Doesn't Necessarily Go Down...

    by johngayton Written Jul 19, 2012

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    Coming Up But Not Going Down At Midnight Tonight!
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    ...that night anyway!!

    On our last night in Bergamo dinner was at Il Sole restaurant in the upper town. I'd had a few pre-dinner beers, a few snifters of wine with dinner and then a few post-prandial beers just to say "bye" to a few people. As a result I was feeling a bit melancholic - HA! - for "melancholic" read "squiffy". So I decided that instead of attempting to find the footpath down to Citta Bassa I'd take the easy option of the funicular.

    Well it was only about 11.30 and when I got to the station the bar was still open. I wandered in and enquired of the barman as to what time the last train was. "Midnight." I was informed.

    DING! Just time for another beer or two then ;-HIC!

    So a couple more beers were duly enjoyed, as too was the great view from the Caffe della Funiculare's terrace overlooking the lower city and then it was time to head downwards.

    There were a couple of dozen people waiting, mostly locals judging by the dress standards and accents. However when the car arrived at the top the driver got out and announced (well that's what I'm assuming he announced given that my Italian is limited to "Una Birra Preggo.*) that the service had finished for the night.

    Anyway all those waiting just sort of shrugged and dispersed. Me I went back to the bar and managed another quick beer before heading downwards ambulatory-wise.

    This turned out to be a very atmospheric little journey. The downwards path wound through the Venetian walls and the gateways in them and being slightly (SLIGHTLY!!) drunk my imagination ran wild. It was as if I was a Venetian night watchman patrolling the city walls and ready to save my city should the barbarian Huns, or whoever, appear.

    I hardly bounced off any walls at all ;-HIC!

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  • johngayton's Profile Photo

    Bleedin' Motor Cars!!

    by johngayton Written Jul 18, 2012

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    Al Fresco Conversationists
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    Whilst the upper city is relatively traffic free (because there is very little parking) there seems to be a constant stream of motor cars and scooters just driving around in circles in the late evenings. This was a real pain when we were trying to enjoy a little al fresco conversation in the street (via Borgo Canale) after dinner on the Saturday at Colombina. They weren't driving particularly fast but there just seemed to be a constant stream of them on what is a very narrow street that doesn't actually go anywhere.

    In the Citta Bassa you get the opposite - up and down the main drag of Emanuele/Roma/Papa Giovanni the boy racers zoom past with their souped-up engines screaming.

    Ban them from the streets I say!!!

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  • johngayton's Profile Photo

    Pollution!!

    by johngayton Written Jul 11, 2012

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    Masked Lady
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    As with most modern cities Bergamo's Citta Bassa has very busy roads and the location on the plain means that on windless sunny days the exhaust pollution from the vehicles tends to settle at street level.

    Coming from an Island in the Atlantic Ocean I particularly notice air pollution when travelling and the atmosphere here was pretty thick. I noticed a few people wearing these face masks and don't blame them. So if you have respiratory problems it might be advisable to pack one with you - me I just took another drag on my cigarette to counter balance the effect.

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  • Kathrin_E's Profile Photo

    Wear suitable shoes

    by Kathrin_E Written Jun 22, 2012

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    The typical pavement in the streets of Città Alta looks like this: fist-sized natural cobblestones and deep gaps in between.

    Adjust the selection of your shoes.

    Wearing high heels is not a good idea, and flipflops should not be too comfortable either. I walked best in my trekking shoes, city or not.

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    Cobbled streets!!

    by Benson35 Updated Jun 11, 2012

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    OK, this may not be classed as a danger to some people, but to me, it's VERY important!!
    I need to know when I'm holiday what to pack to put on my feet. I like to wear heels, whether they be small or large, and this is a place where this is NOT POSSIBLE if you want all of your bones to stay unbroken!!!

    In Citta Alta, the majority of the streets are cobbled. Any kind of heel would be a danger to your health! Go for flat (or tiny, tiny wedges) with a think sole. That way, your feet should not feel each individual pebble as you step on it!

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    Squat toilets

    by leics Updated Jun 10, 2012

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    Toilet entrance
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    I only found two lots of public toilets in Bergamo, one set being at the railway station (also squat toilets). It is, of course, perfectly ok to go into a cafe/bar, buy an espresso or beer and ask to use their toilet.

    The other set of toilets I found are in the Citadella, just off Largo Colle Aperto. Very clean and overseen by at least two very pleasantt gentlemen on different shifts (both cheerily wishing me 'Buongiorno' on each of my visits).

    They cost 30 cents (as of June 2012). But they are of the squat type and if you are female and, not used to this, it may come as a bit of a shock.

    There are hooks to hang bags etc, a pole to help you balance and a bidet. It's really much easier than you might think (although wearing a skirt does help enormously).

    Squat or not, I really appreciated their existence...more than once. :-)

    You'll find the toilets at the base of the Citadella tower. They're open from April to September, from 0830-1300 and from 1400-2000.

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  • suvanki's Profile Photo

    'No Go Areas! etc.

    by suvanki Written May 25, 2012

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    Bergamo pirates!!!
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    The area around the train station/bus station at night is probably the place to be careful. As in all cities, these areas seem to attract some seedy looking characters.
    Groups of men and hawkers hang around by the Halal kebab wagons in front of the station.
    Although not as threatening as in most cities, there is a different atmosphere here from most of the other areas of Bergamo.

    The park at the side of the Tourist Info Office on Via Papa Giovanni (Piazzale Deoli Alpini), also attracts a few dubious characters. There is a faint whiff of 'illegal substances' in the air, and a few men sleeping off their liquid breakfast/lunch.

    It's an Open park though-no 'hidden corners'

    If you're planning sitting here in a group, keep an eye on your possessions.

    Also keep an eye on your possessions at the airport/train station, as again these are prime spots for opportunist thieves/pick-pockets.
    Again, Orio al Serio and Bergamo Ferrovia are less crowded than the airports/train stations of Milan.

    The safeness of Bergamo can lead to people being less careful - Gillybob and I were amazed to see a group of females leave their bags, cameras and phones on an outside restaurant table in San Vigilio, and all disappeared into the restaurant, without a backwards glance! This table was near to the path where people arriving on the funicular passed by.

    There are many places to enjoy a drink/snack on Via Papa Giovanni, which is a main thoroughfare, so again, be aware of not hanging your bag over the back of your chair here (or anywhere else)

    I've noticed an increasing number of hawkers and beggers in Bergamo recently. They are quite benign though, and I haven't been hassled by any - a shake of the head and "No grazie" and they've left me alone.

    Many of the beggers kneel on the floor, head down, with a plastic cup held in front of them. They seem to rotate around various sites. We recognised some of these in different areas of Citta Bassa.

    Around some church entrances during services, more active head scarved women, loiter and shake their plastic cups at anyone entering/leaving the building.

    All in All, Bergamo is a relaxed and safe place though!

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  • suvanki's Profile Photo

    Bring sturdy footwear with thick soles

    by suvanki Updated May 12, 2012

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    Road in Citta Alta Bergamo
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    The streets of Upper Bergamo are mainly constructed of stones or narrow bricks set into a base- they are bloomin' uncomfortable to walk on if you've got thin soled shoes or boots.

    They are sometimes uneven, or with loose or raised pieces, and are slippery when wet.
    The scaletto's (pathways between the Upper and lower towns) are of similar construction.

    Don't let this put you off walking around, just be careful and be aware of where you're putting your feet!

    I had to smile at some of the smart Italian women that I saw, 'skipping along' in flimsy stiletto heels without a problem though.

    Also be aware that the narrow winding streets of Upper Bergamo are used by cars and zippy scooters - How they get from A-B without scraping their paintwork is a mystery!
    I was taken by surprise more than once by a car suddenly appearing down a narrow 'Alleyway'

    If you do slip or fall - Medical Emergency - 'phone 118
    Bergamo Hospital -035 269111
    Bergamo Medical Service 035 455511

    Pharmacies in Upper and lower cities. There is a pharmacy next door to the Funicular station.

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  • suvanki's Profile Photo

    Bring your Umbrella!

    by suvanki Updated May 12, 2012

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    1 umbrella between 5!
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    The weather can change quite quickly here. We arrived in April to blue sky and brilliant sunshine, in less than an hour, the sky had turned black, and we were caught in a torrential downpour!
    One of my work colleagues was here at the beginning of September, and had the same experience. So come prepared for all elements. Also be aware that the 'cobbled' streets in Citta Alta are slippery when wet!

    Our solution was to find a bar to shelter from the precipitation! Other options for a rainy day are the museums (including the fortress of Rocca, Museum of Natural History, Donizetti Museum, Archeological museum and Historical Museum), Churches/ Cathedral, Accademia Carrara ( Art Gallery), shopping at Orio center etc.

    Pack waterproof footwear with a good grip, jacket/coat with a hood - Umbrellas aren't too practical in the narrow streets of Citta Alta.
    As soon as it starts raining, street traders will appear with umbrellas for sale (otherwise, they're trading sun glasses)!

    The dark sky made a dramatic background to my photos of the church dome opposite my hotel room (pics 2,4 and 5)
    UPDATE May 2011
    Shortly after arriving at our hotel, the heavens opened accompanied by thunder, lightening and hail stones!!! The storm continued into the night. Luckily there was a restaurant adjacent to the hotel, so we didn't have to venture far. Next day we had blue skies and sunshine.
    December 2011 The rain held off until our last day -Pheew!
    March 2012 -Only a few spotlets, while in Albino!
    So, out of 5 visits to Bergamo, it's rained on 4 of them - My first visit in October 2008 was dry!!

    Hopefully the rain will keep away for EurMeet 2012!!!

    10 day weather forecast for Bergamo
    Another useful weather site Thanks to KShezz for reminding me!

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  • suvanki's Profile Photo

    Transport Strikes

    by suvanki Updated Feb 10, 2012

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    Flying over Bergamo 2009

    Strikes in Italy are becoming increasingly commonplace, particularly in the present political and economical climate. The strikes may be Nationwide, but are generally regional or affecting one city.

    Many of the strikes affect the transport services - local buses/trains and planes particularly. Apparently Alitalia flights are particularly prone to cancellation due to strikes.

    However, they are generally announced days in advance and last for about 4 hours. Sometimes they are even cancelled.

    There are quite a few web-sites/blogs that list forthcoming strike details

    The official strike website which is in Italian
    www.slowtra.com
    summerinitaly.com

    Following our EurMeet reccy to Bergamo in May 2011, Gilly and I stopped off in Padova to meet up with oriettaIT and painterdavebefore heading to Venice Marco Polo(Gilly) and Treviso (me) for our flights back home.
    Gilly had planned to catch the tram to Padova train station, then the train to Santa Lucia, Venice, spend a few hours wandering around Venice, then head to MPA. I had a later start.

    I was quite surprised to get a text, warning me that there was a transport strike, so no bus/tram service, which meant Gilly had missed her train, and ended up getting a taxi straight to the airport, costing nearly 100Euros!!!

    By the time I departed Padova, the traffic was running normally, and I arrived in Venice, just as the vaporetto workers returned to work - which meant that these waterbuses were extra crowded!

    Prior to our December EurMeet reccy, Gilly had learned that a strike was planned for our day of departure - Oh yes, she wasn't going to be caught out again!
    When she queried this at the TI office, the staff weren't aware of this, but checked and confirmed that there was a strike planned, but it wouldn't affect our transport arrangements (1A aeroporto bus to Orio al Serio) We still allowed ourselves, plenty of time, 'just in case'

    If we had needed to get a taxi, it's only a 10 minute drive (around 25Euros).

    So, check the websites, or hotel reception/TI office if you are planning a day out by public transport/needing to catch a flight/train etc.

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    Crossing the road!

    by antz Written Oct 20, 2006

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    You will find that in Bergamo there are loads of zebra crossing type things. Most of them also have little green and red men! 'Perfectly normal' I hear you thinking? Well, watch out when you are crossing the road!

    When the little green man comes illuminates, allowing you to cross the road - it does not at the same time stop all other traffic coming. Basically, you have to kinda run over the crossing to avoid being run over yourself! I think it is traffic from the right that can still come even when there is a little green man (I can't remember, I got confused!).

    Also, for the ones where there is no illuminated sign to say you can go - you need to take a deep breath and just go for it. The cars do not stop for you, and you could easily spend half an hour waiting at a crossing otherwise.

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    Steep, Narrow & Winding Street

    by freddie18 Written Sep 30, 2006

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    Yes. I must remind you to be careful walking on the narrow and steep street of Bergamo especially Citta Alta. The small streets are of hard stones or I would say cobble stones. Do not let yourself fall as it will surely hurt you. As a precautionary measures, be aware that you are in Citta Alta. There are small cars coming in this narrow and winding road.

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  • irisbe's Profile Photo

    Small streets

    by irisbe Written Jun 12, 2005

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    One way direction is not always one way direction!

    The streets in the old city are very small. That is quite normal as they have been there long time before there were cars and vans!
    Some parts are so tiny that the cars have to wait a long way down the streets to let others from the opposite direction pass.

    They are using here signs we know as one direction street and we were very much surprised that still cars drove in both directions?
    When we checked the other side, we noticed that same “one direction” sign again, but now with an additional “passage only for residents”.
    So be very careful if you think you are driving in a one way direction street, you could be terrible mistaken

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Panoramic picture! Click on it to enjoy the full view!

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