Bergamo it is located right in the center of Lombardy, less than 1 hour from Milan, and is a city rich in monuments and beauty. Its historic center is divided between the upper and lower cities, the first more Venetian and the second more Lombard. Bergamo Alta is in fact as if it were a medieval city still intact and was dominated by the serenissima, Bergamo Bassa on the contrary is more "Lombard", with ancient cafes, museums and shops. Not far from the beautiful lakes of Iseo and Garda, Bergamo is set in a natural setting of rare beauty that deserves to be visited. In its surroundings there are fascinating spas, the beautiful mountains of the Orobie Alps Franciacorta and villages on the Adda.
Bergamo: what to see in the surroundings
1. Park of the Hills of Bergamo
The Città Alta area and the surrounding hills are part of the Park of the Hills of Bergamo. It is the third regional park after those of Ticino and Groane and includes a large area in the municipalities of Almé, Bergamo, Mozzo, Paladina, Ponteranica, Ranica, Sorisole, Torre Boldone, Valbrembo and Villa d'Almé. I must admit I recently discovered it and I loved it! Starting on foot or by bike, both from the upper and lower cities, you cross terraces with vegetable gardens, woods, vineyards and meadows; the park also includes the San Vigilio Castle, from which you can enjoy a magnificent view of the upper town, and many farmhouses and restaurants where you can eat the typical products of the area such as casoncelli or polenta taragna. Above all, I recommend the Baretto di San Vigilio Restaurant, a nice rustic but elegant restaurant where you can eat well and with a nice terrace overlooking the city.
2. The villages on the Adda (Crespi and Trezzo)
Less than 20 km from Bergamo, along the highway to Milan, there are two truly fascinating “villages” overlooking the Adda river. The first you come across is Crespi d'Adda, recognized byUNESCO World Heritage Site. Crespi is a workers' village (among the best preserved in Europe) built by the Crespi family to house the workers of their cotton mill and their families. We therefore find the houses of the working families (complete with garden and vegetable garden), the villas for the managers (which were built later), the church, the school, the cemetery, the hospital, the sports field, the theater, the fire station and other community facilities. An ambitious project that took its final form around the 20s and that has remained unchanged since then (even if the houses were later sold to private individuals). It is a very special place that is worth seeing. Switch also to cemetery where the very particular tomb / mausoleum of the Crespi family is located.
A few kilometers away there is then Trezzo d'Adda, with the remains of the imposing Visconteo Castle and Taccani Hydroelectric Power Station on the banks of the Adda, still functional and can be visited by booking a visit through this site.
3. San Pellegrino Terme
Instead, moving north of Bergamo, in the heart of Val Brembana, there is the famous spa town of S.Pellegrino Terme, known all over the world for the homonymous mineral water, S. Pellegrino water. Since the thermal baths were built in 1840, this small village in the valley has been transformed into a renowned holiday resort for the wealthy international bourgeoisie. In addition to the thermal baths, other beautiful Art Nouveau buildings were gradually built, such as the majestic one Municipal Casino, the Grand Hotel and the water bottling factory. The spa complex was renovated in 2014 and houses the QC Terme S.Pellegrino, where it is possible to do over 35 practices, housed in two buildings rich in history and charm, including panoramic pools, whirlpools, hydrojets, sensory pools, waterfalls, Kneipp path, Vichy showers, saunas, relaxation rooms and natural solarium. If you are looking for a place to relax and pamper yourself .. it is the right place! Find more info in the article Spas and Spas near Milan.
4. Lake Iseo and Franciacorta
In the surroundings of Bergamo there are also the Iseo lake and Franciacorta, two areas that I particularly love because they are extremely varied and full of things to do and see. Franciacorta is famous because it is produced there the first Italian Classic Method sparkling wine that had the DOCG classification (in 1995), with grapes from the vines of Pinot nero, Pinot bianco and Chardonnay. These vines find an ideal climate here thanks to the breezy position south of the lake and Val Camonica and the wines they produce are excellent. In addition to wine tasting, however, Franciacorta offers much more. I recommend you also visit the peat bog of Sebino, the Monastery of San Pietro in Lamosa and the Olivetan abbey of San Nicola. Find more info in the article I wrote about Franciacorta. The Iseo lake then it is a real gem !! A body of water enclosed in the mountains with Monte Isola in the middle. Even the villages bordering the lake are no less like Lovere, Sale Marasino it's the same Iseo.
5. Orobie Alps
Lovers of nature and mountain walks cannot absolutely miss them Orobie Alps. The latter are a subsection of the Bergamasque Alps and Prealps and consist of many beautiful mountains on which you can walk / ski (the highest is the Coca lace, 3.050 mt), alpine lakes, medieval villages and views that will take your breath away. Between trekking more beautiful to do there are certainly those ai Twin Lakes, to the Val Vertova and the 5 lakes, near Branzi, while for skiing you will be spoiled for choice! THE districts best known are those ofAprica, Foppolo and San Simone. The hiking possibilities in these mountains are truly many. The biggest problem of the Orobie Alps is the road system of its valleys because the Val Brembana and Val Seriana they can be very busy on public holidays. This can be remedied by starting early in the morning, or at unusual times, or (see below) by organizing to sleep directly on site.
6. Lake Garda
I close this review on the most beautiful places to see around Bergamo with the Lake Garda, which is only an hour away. The largest Italian lake has so many things to see and do. The best known place is certainly Sirmione, the pearl of Garda, a popular holiday resort since Roman times. As evidence of the time, the Grotto of Catullus, which is actually an ancient Roman residence. Also worth seeing is the Scaligero castle, on which you can climb the towers to have a beautiful view, and the thermal baths. On the shore closest to the Bergamo area, on the other hand, it is worth taking a trip to the Vittoriale degli Italiani, a complex of buildings, streets, squares, an open-air theater, gardens and waterways erected since 1921 by Gabriele d'Annunzio. Not far away there is then Salò, the beautiful village of Gardone Riviera e Isola del Garda, the largest island on the lake, owned by the Borghese Cavazza family, who live permanently in the villa (but allows tourist visits from mid-April to mid-October).
How to get around Bergamo and surroundings: car or camper
To visit as much as possible and be free to move where you want and when you want you need to have a auto or camper. Well yes, why not travel directly with all your things with you and stopping to sleep where you want (or almost)? I have done several weekend / camper trips and find it a great way to travel. You can stop wherever you want, without the anxiety of having to find a place to eat / sleep, and often you can sleep almost immersed in nature, something that I personally appreciate very much. To rent a camper you can use Goobony, a new specialized platform where the owners of motorhomes share them with those who want to experience this type of travel. There is a risk that you will no longer be able to do without it!
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