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Citta Alta Tips (38)

Historic laundry

The historic laundry in the Upper city is near to the Gombito Tower. It was built in the XIX century and it was used till the '50es. Now it is one of the most typical place in the Upper City of Bergamo.

BergamoInsider's Profile Photo
Oct 22, 2013

Checking out VT venue

Ahhhh, we were not able to make the VT meet in Bergamo, but later that year we did make it for a quick stop and we wanted to see what drew VT there.
We had no "direction" and no previous information and the local information office was closed that day. So we just wandered, found a good restaurant to have lunch and saw -
1) The entrance gate
2) Old circular church
3) Water fountain
4) Outlook over the surrounding valley
5) Toucan Bar where they serve Guinness (that was for our friend Nathalie, just in case she missed the Guinness sign) ^O^
All in all we enjoyed the time there even without knowing all the history and facts.

Martin_S.'s Profile Photo
Aug 14, 2013

Visit Città Alta

Città Alta is the oldest part of Bergamo. It's a fortified part of town up the mountain with many towers.

Points of interest in Città Alta:
-The City Walls
-Porta San Giacomo
-Piazza Vecchia
-Torre Civica in Città Alta
-Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore
-Colleoni Chapel
-Cattedrale di Bergamo
-Theatre of Society
-Torre di Adalberto
-Civic Archaeological Museum
-Enrico Caffi Civic Museum of Natural Sciences
-Donizetti Museum
-Former Monastery of San Francesco
-Museo di Palazzo Moroni
-Botanic Garden
-San Vigilio Funicolar
-Città Alta - Città Bassa Funicular

pieter_jan_v's Profile Photo
Feb 06, 2013

A guided walk in Città Alta

On our first morning in Bergamo, Sue had arranged for us to have a free guided walk in Città Alta. Such tours are available to the general public, though they normally cost €10 (see website for details). If the public tours are even half as good as ours was (and I expect they would be, as the same guides do both) then they would make a great introduction to the sights and history of Alta for any visitor. If you’d like to do one, book at the tourist office on Via Gombito or just meet at the Piazza Mercato delle Scarpe (by the upper Funicular Station) at the times given on the website.

Or guide, Giulia, was very apologetic about her English (she normally guides in German) but need not have been. It was excellent, as was her knowledge of and enthusiasm for the city of Bergamo. I learned so much on this tour that stood me in good stead for later explorations on my own, and she took us to at least a couple of spots that I doubt I would even have discovered. We started in the Piazza Luigi Angelini, took in the Gombito Tower and other tower houses, then headed for the Piazza Vecchia and surrounding buildings. Giulia was particularly full of information about the beautiful Santa Maria Maggiore and the Colleoni Chapel. From here we went through back streets to the church of San Salvatore, where our tour ended. It had been a long and informative morning, and thanks to Giulia, and to Sue, we had had a wonderful introduction to Bergamo’s Città Alta.

My next few tips describe the main sights we saw on this walk, starting with the Gombito Tower and other tower houses – a classic sight of Bergamo.

toonsarah's Profile Photo
Aug 06, 2012
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Connecting Citta Bassa and Citta Alta

There are some old places where you can really 'feel the history' and imagine that you've stepped back in time...... well for me, one such place is when walking up or down the medieval scalettas.

The medieval streets and squares developed in the upper town, with markets dedicated to various goods - the meat market and peschiera (fish market) for example. Guilds, such as the shoemakers had their businesses in the square outside the upper funicular station. This was an important trading centre and soon, the settlement extended outside the city walls and into the plains of the lower town.
In the surrounding valleys and mountain villages, agriculture and husbandry were the main sources of income.
Their goods were sold at the markets in the upper town, and being long before motorised transport and internet shopping had been dreamed of, entailed the back breaking ascent to Citta Alta, loaded with their wares, and/or leading their livestock to market.

Well worn pathways developed on the hillside, which in turn were developed into stepped 'staircases' or scaletta's.

High stone walls or hedges flank the steps, behind which are trees and flowers,

Atmospheric lights illuminate the steps now, but it's not difficult to imagine these traders stumbling in the dark, with their flimsy footwear, or citizens of the upper town hurrying to return to the safety of the inner walls before the gates were locked for the night.

There are around 10 of these scaletta, each are named. A board at the entrance (pic 2) gives their name, length of the pathway, the streets that are connected and a map illustrating the pathway.
Some of the names of the scaletta are ; Paradiso, Santa Lucia Vecchia, More, San Martino, Scorlazzino and Scorlazzone.

Unsurprisingly, many of the scaletta lead to one of the gateways of the upper town -

In May 2011, we found that it was quicker to walk UP to Citta Alta from our accommodation in Santa Caterina by one of these ancient pathways Via Noca to Porta Sant Agostino (rather than catch 2 buses), but it's certainly a lot easier walking DOWN!

The pathway that I've used most frequently connects the splendid Porta San Giocomo (with its panoramic view over Citta Bassa and miles beyond) and Via Sant' Alessandro, with the lower funicular station on Via Vittorio Emanuele 11. I think this is known as Vicola Strada della Scaletta.

It was especially atmospheric in December, with a slight haze at dusk, and the lights giving a warm glow to the leaf strewn steps.

On my free city centre map, some of these scaletta are indicated with ladders

suvanki's Profile Photo
Feb 10, 2012


There is a lovely walk around the edge of Citta Alta. As you come out of the Funicular station, turn left and head down towards the gateway and wall. See the marvelous views over the city from this area, and even watch the aircraft landing at the airport in the distance. Follow the wall around the Citta Alta and you will eventually come to another gateway which leads to the funicular that goes up to San Vigilio. The walk is great with terrific views and the train ride up to San Vigilio is also terrific.

When you get back again, there is a great walk back down to Citta Bassa from the original location of the wall and gateway. The walk covers tiny streets and shops right into the centre of town again. Enjoy it.

Paolomusc's Profile Photo
Jun 04, 2010

Window Shopping

Once you arrive at the top of the funicula ride, you exit out the door to a small piazza. You will see everyone heading for the street ahead and to the right. This is the main street in Alto. You can follow it up to the big tower (see my page on things to do where I enclude photos of the view) and along the way are so many fine shops with all types of food, clothes, jewelry, crafts, and more.
Take a look at the photos I have included here to give you an idea of what foods are available. I am always fascinated by how different cultures make food, and how it is presented. For instance, the first photo is cakes made especially in the Bergamo area made of polenta. There were several shops selling these cakes.
I am also including a page on a shop run by two women who make rugs with their looms. Don't miss this shop as they will be happy to give you a demonstration. (If you take the elevator to the top of the tower, they will give you a ticket for a free gift from this shop--worth it....) Look for the page entitled rug craft making in my pages.

painterdave's Profile Photo
May 07, 2009

Go High Up

When you reach the main piazza of Bergamo Alto, look for the tower. There is an elevator inside. You have to pay a modest fee, or you can walk the stairs. The view of Bergamo Alto, then the castle, then the surrounding area of Bergamo with the villages on the hill sides, is so awesome. On a clear day you can see the beginning of the Alps to one side and the farmland with all its quaint villages on the other.
This is, to me the top choice of things to do in Bergamo. Don't miss it.
Here are some photos I took on a Sunday afternoon.

painterdave's Profile Photo
May 06, 2009
suvanki's Profile Photo


"My Tale of Two Cities!"
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toonsarah's Profile Photo


"A tale of two (Italian) cities"
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croisbeauty's Profile Photo


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leics's Profile Photo


"Town of two parts......"
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irisbe's Profile Photo


"Bergamo Città Alta, what a beautiful discovery!"
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medieval Bergamo Alta - old town above the new

Bergamo has two distinct parts - the lower more modern centre known as Bergamo Bassa and up on a rocky hill 1200 feet above the plains of Lombardy the medieval city of Bergamo Alta.
Up in this lively but easy going city with its wanderable lanes and fresh mountain air you will find one of Italy's loveliest city centres - with an interesting mixture of Neoclassical with medieval cobbled streets.

The Venetians ruled the town for over 350 years building its signature houses and palaces with fancy Gothic windows and adornment - along with its lion symbol of the republic.

The walls that surround the city managed to keep armies out until 1796 when the French Revolutionary troops successfully stormed the city and ended centuries of Venetian rule.

angiebabe's Profile Photo
Dec 17, 2008

Getting around Bergamo with a pushcart

Be careful with your spelling! Pish can be a rude word in Scotland!
Of course you can take a pushcart, or pushchair with you. There are lots of parking places around the town. Try and park near the Lower funicular railway station. You can buy day tickets for buses and both the funicular railways, just make sure you stamp them when you get on the bus. (Please note that the lower funicular is being repaired, but should be completed by end May)
A suggested itinerary with a pushcart is take the funicular to the Citta Alta. The main street, which isn't very wide is in front of you and slightly to the right. Just walk up there sampling the gelati and all the delicious take away food on the way! (The cafe "Alba" on the left does the best hot chocolate ever. Good for kids and pushcarts as there's loads of space)There are no steps here, but the streets are cobbled so be careful. Keep on walking up hill on the main street and eventually you'll see an arch in front of you. walk through and the path bears to the right. Pass under the next arch and you're in Colle Aperto. There's a great cafe there! You'll see another arch on your left. Walk under it and there on your right is the upper funicular station (Borgo Canale)that will take you to San Vigilio. Once you're at San Vigilio there is a fantastic view, on a clear day! There are some rigorous descents down some steep steps,but there is also a gentle walk back to Borgo Canale, just bear left just past the upper funicular station, and keep going. On your walk back there are some great views. Repeat your journey down through Citta Alta to the funicular station and go back down to the bottom. You will have covered a lot of ground without any steps. There is also a great cafe in the Citta Alta station. Again great views from the terrace. If you're too tuckered out from your stroll down from San Vigilio, The number 1 bus at Colle Aperto will take you back to the lower town.
Good Luck

May 19, 2008

Worth Half a Day

If you go to Bergamo, you really need to visit the Citta Alta. In my opinion, it was one of the only parts of the city worth going to see! If you are a church & museum sort of person, it is definately the place for you with some fantastic sights.

I took a wander up from the Ostello armed with my map and proceeded to get completely and utterly lost! As it was, I ended up at the Castle, which was good as I wanted to go there anyway! It is quite a walk, uphill all the way, and as it turns out you can actually take the 'Furnicular' which is a kind of railway. However, I would advise taking the time and effort to walk all the way up as the views on the way are amazing - you can see right out across the whole town! I followed the city walls for a part of the way taking plenty of photographs as I went...

I found the Citta Alta to be a bit of a maze (once I found my way back) but to see some of the architecture, it is well worth being stared at by italian schoolchildren as you pass by them for the 5th time! I didn't actually go into any of the buildings (which I now regret) as I wanted to do and see as much as possible while I was there. Sometimes not the best thing to do!

antz's Profile Photo
Oct 19, 2006

Upper Part of Bergamo

You will see in pictures that I posted: View of Citta Alta. As the name implies, it is the upper city of Bergamo. This is one of the historical part of this town being surrounded with Venetial walls and old building architecture. This tourist attraction is not popular to tourist alone. It is also frequented by locals of Bergamo and people from its neighboring towns and cities. I arrived at Bergamo airport from Paris on a very smooth and short journey and took a bus right from the airport straight to Citta Alta. It was April 2, 2006 and being a Sunday, people from all over the world enjoy strolling at the grassy space behind the wall overlooking the lower city. In a few minutes, you will be going up the narrow and sometimes steep streets leading to the old square, Piazza Vecchia. From there, you will be spending time seeing for yourself the adjoining old city hall Palazzo della Ragione, Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore and the Capella Colleoni.

You can go around Citta Alta on foot. It is rather amusing to see the details by doing so. I enjoyed it for sure but I had to leave. Coming back is not a question as I loved the place. Join me when I come back to Bergamo. I will be staying a little bit longer next time!

freddie18's Profile Photo
Oct 08, 2006

Things To Do in Bergamo

Things to do

Piazza Vecchia

This beautiful square in the centre of Bergamo has a lovely fountain in the centre. This is decorated with white marble lions donated to the city by Alvise Contarini in 1780. On the north side there...
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Things to do

Basilica S. Maria Maggiore

'The left-hand transept porch' doesn't sound like a very exciting title, does it? But, believe me, spending a few minutes having a close look at the left-hand porch of Basilica Santa Maria Maggiore...
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Things to do

Bernareggi Museum

The Bernareggi Museum is a religious museum in Bergamo. It is in via Pignolo, in the lower part of the city and it collects a lot of painting, sculptures and ornaments that were commissioned by the...
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Things to do

Colleoni Chapel

The Cappella Colleoni makes a very strong statement about the person who had it built. Its entrance adjoins that of Santa Maria Maggiore, but it is much, much bigger and much, much more impressive....
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Things to do

Brescia Castle - Castello di Brescia

Brescia Castle is also known as the falcon of Italy, presumably because of its high vantage point over the town. Construction of the castle began in the thirteenth century and continued until the...
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Things to do

Brescia Castle - Sculptures

The castle had attractive grounds and there were also some interesting statues and sculptures spread out around the castle grounds. We spent quite a while wandering around here. It is well worth a...
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Getting to Bergamo


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