The 10 Best Museums In Bergamo
A trip to Bergamo is like stepping into medieval times, with its unique structures, old buildings, and sites brimming with history. It’s a lesser-known tourist destination, often overlooked by many and overshadowed by Milan’s vibrant and lively city. But it provides unique experiences you won’t have anywhere else.
The city of Bergamo has two distinct parts separated symbolically and physically by the Venetian Walls. The Citta Alta is the upper part of the city that offers a solid medieval vibe. The lower town, Citta Bassa, still has buildings dating back to the 15th century but is more modern and vibrant with restaurants, shops, hotels, and bars. These areas provide a dramatic contrast, but both play a cultural and historical significance to the city. They’re home to numerous historic churches, temples, palaces, and beautiful Bergamo museums.
History buff or not, you’ll love its natural history museums and be inspired by its educational sites, art museums, and exhibition halls. But before you start your trip, plan where to put your bags, so you don’t have to drag them around while exploring the city. Thankfully, you can rely on a convenient luggage storage facility in Bergamo, delivering a safe and secure place to store your belongings.
Civic Museum of Natural Sciences in Bergamo
The Civic Museum of Natural Sciences (or Museo Di Scienze Naturali Caffi) in Bergamo was established in 1861 and housed in the Royal Technical Institute building. It was transferred multiple times and is now located in Piazza della Cittadella next to the Archaeology Museum. Its first exhibition featured collections of mementos and artifacts from the Royal Technical Institute Vittorio Emanuele II.
You’ll be welcomed by a giant mammoth when you enter the museum. Then you’ll discover thousands of artifacts, animals, fossils, plant species, and various specimens divided into several groups. The museum's Earth Sciences collections include finds from the Bergamo area and around the world, featuring minerals and ornamental stones. Its paleontological collections have more than 55,000 finds, including fossils from the Orobic territory.
Not only the Civic Museum of Natural Science in Bergamo has some of the most excellent exhibitions, but it is also jam-packed with historical knowledge. So if you and your family are interested in ancient history or want to know more about the physical world, this museum will undoubtedly be the perfect option.
The opening times are 9:30 am to 1 pm and 2 pm to 6 pm on Tuesdays and Fridays. You can also visit the natural history museum on weekends and holidays from 10:30 am to 6:30 pm.
Museo Adriano Bernareggi
The Museo Adriano Bernareggi, also referred to as Museo Diocesano Bernareggi, exhibits religious art and objects housed in a 16th-century former aristocratic palace. The Fondazione Adriano Bernareggi, in collaboration with the Università degli Studi di Bergamo, is currently in charge of the museum. It features a diverse collection of pieces of art ranging from the 15th century up to the present day.
The structure of the collections pursues an educational path that demonstrates the cultural significance of Christianity in current culture. Here, you’ll find paintings by C. Ceresa and L. Lotto and works of D. Crespi, G. B. Moroni, and A. Vivarini along the gallery trail.
If you want to see a range of historic and modern artwork, this museum is a great place to visit. You can check it out from Monday to Friday, from 3:00 to 6:00 pm.
Located on the first level of the Domus Magna at Via Arena 9, The Donizetti Museum is a place dedicated to the life and history of the renowned composer Gaetano Donizetti. He was born just outside Bergamo's city walls and went on to compose famous works, playing a pivotal role in the European musical scene of the early nineteenth century. Once you visit the museum, you’ll get to know this significant figure in the Italian opera through exhibitions and his personal objects.
Allow yourself to be enthralled by an extraordinary biography at the Donizetti Museum. You'll be able to admire the original scores, watch Gaetano Donizetti's visage evolve, and hear his music. When planning a tour, it is also best to visit the composer's birthplace and native house, "Casa Natale."
The Donizetti Museum is open with ticket purchases from 10 am to 5 pm Thursday through Sunday, including holidays. It’s a family-friendly museum, offering free tickets to students below 18, qualified guides, ICOM members, and journalists.
Accademia Carrara Museum
Many Italian municipal museums were formed after the dispersal of aristocratic picture galleries and the suppression of religious organizations. But the case is different for the Accademia Carrara. Although it was founded on the initiative of Count Giacomo Carrara, this art museum was created thanks to the generosity of numerous art lovers, collectors, and private individuals who donated their collections and art objects.
The number and quality of work in the art gallery grew to extraordinary extents. Near Bergamo Train Station, the Accademia Carrara started growing into an art museum from being a Renaissance painting museum. It now has a broad representation of visual genres from the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. The museum’s picture gallery results from Italian collecting and is one of the top-quality European art museums you can find today.
This Bergamo museum is a fantastic art gallery perfect for anyone who wants to explore different art collections or learn about art history. It is open Monday through Sunday from 9:30 am to 5:30 pm (although Tuesday is closed).
Civic Archaeological Museum
The Civic Archaeological Museum is located in the old Monastero Maggiore and San Maurizio church. Both of these churches were established in the 8th and 9th centuries. But from the 1st to 3rd centuries, a Roman building was located on the site. Archaeological discoveries from these various periods are what you can find displayed in the museum.
The Civic Archaeological Museum’s best feature is its prime location. The foundations of the Roman city wall, which are rather spectacular, will be viewable to tourists. Moreover, the artifacts are arranged by where they were discovered, and the museum’s initial area is oriented to historical Milan.
This museum is an excellent location if you're interested in magnificent artifacts and learning about the rich history. They’re open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 am to 5:30 pm.
Museo Del Tesoro Della Cattedrale
The Cathedral Museum and Treasury is filled with a fascinating history of what transpired involving this Bergamo church. Besides the cathedral's sacred religious nature, visitors will also be awed by the life this church has experienced.
From the 1st to the 4th century BC, the place was occupied by a Roman district. Then in the 5th century, a cathedral was built in dedication to San Vincenzo. From 2004 to 2012, an excavation campaign of the cathedral’s basement led to the discovery of Roman sites.
To this day, these walls have been maintained and built on to become the current walls you see today. Touring the Cathedral Museum and Treasury will indeed take you on a journey through the evolution of this cathedral, as well as be able to witness the many treasures and artifacts preserved over time.
Museo Matris Domini
Housed in the oldest rooms of Matris Domini Monastery, the Museo Matris Domini holds around 20 fragments of historic frescoes that date back to the 13th and 16th centuries. It opened in 2000 and can be accessed in downtown Bergamo.
When you enter the museum, you’ll notice two groups of frescoes. The first one contains the most ancient frescoes placed in a room traditionally called Old Refectory. The second group was obtained from the apse area of the monastery’s ancient Romanesque church. The frescoes you can find here weren’t destroyed during the Baroque-style reconstruction that the church went through during the 17th century.
The museum is only open on weekends. You may visit from 3:30 pm to 5:30 pm on Saturdays and from 9-11 am on Sundays.
Opened in 1991, the Galleria d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea di Bergamo is a museum housed in a restored architectural complex that used to be occupied by the 15th-century Monastery of the Dimesse and Servite. It currently boasts 1,500 square meters of versatile exhibition space, welcoming contemporary and modern art by local and international artists.
The art museum has established an impressive collection of modern and contemporary art of Bergamo city. It includes works of global authors and artists from Italy. It also works closely with various contemporary art museums and centers in Italy and the rest of the world.
The art gallery is open on Monday and from Wednesday through Friday between 3-7 pm. But it accommodates schools and groups in the morning upon reservation. You can also visit Saturdays and Sundays, from 10 am to 7 pm. Since GAMeC is celebrating its 30th anniversary, it offers free admission to its new exhibitions until June 8, 2022.
Museo delle storie di Bergamo
Museo delle storie di Bergamo is a historical museum that consists of several sites that chronicle the evolution of Bergamo city over the centuries. Each site recounts the story of the Bergamo territory from a cultural, economic, social, and perspective. It was founded in 2002 and managed by Fondazione Bergamo nella storia to protect, enhance, and communicate the identity and historical heritage of the city through its stories.
The Museum of Donizetti is one of the museums in Bergamo included in the Museo delle storie di Bergamo. Other places include the Convento di San Francesco, which serves as the headquarters of the Foundation, providing ample space for temporary exhibitions, Rocca, Torre dei Caduti, Campanone, and Palazzo del Podesta.
Each of these unique places has an identity, and ticket prices and opening times vary depending on the site you plan to visit. But you can purchase an all-in-one ticket, allowing you to explore the six locations at a discounted price.
Giovanni Battista Rubini Museum
The Giovanni Battista Rubini Museum is housed in an old palace, a former residence of the Italian tenor Giovanni Battista Rubini. The converted museum is dedicated to his life and memory, established in 1872 at his widow’s behest.
The palace itself is a stunning sight, featuring a late-neoclassical style where you can appreciate stucco work, Venetian mosaic pavements, and frescos. The museum contains valuable pieces, including Giovan Battista Moroni’s painting of the Last Supper, works of Caniana, and other contemporary artists. Entry to the museum is free. You can only visit one day a week, from 10:00 am to 12 noon on Sundays.
What are the best museums in Bergamo?
There are countless museums in Bergamo that will take you to different parts of the city's past. The best one will depend largely on your interest and what you want to see. If you wish to see an art gallery and museum in one, you might want to check out Accademia Carrara. It has hundreds of artworks on display and offers a journey through centuries of art history in the country.
GAMeC is also a fantastic art museum to visit, situated close to Accademia Carrara. But if you’re interested in Natural History Museums, you’ll enjoy exploring the Museo Civico Scienze Naturali Enrico Caffi.
Which are the best free museums in Downtown Bergamo?
It’s good news for those traveling on a budget, as there are free museums in Bergamo you can discover. Even if you have to pay to enter, most fees are under $5 or $10, so you can visit as many places as possible without spending too much.
Additionally, most museums, if not all, offer free entry for individuals under 18, so don’t hesitate to bring your kids to these family-friendly cultural centers. Besides old palaces and churches, you’ll find the Museo Matris Domini in Downtown Bergamo. If you’re looking for a charming place that offers the city's best views. For more free things to do in Bergamo, see our guide here.
Are there any cheap museums in Bergamo?
If you’re looking for a natural history museum in Bergamo at a low price, you must visit the Museum of Natural Sciences. The cost of a single ticket is only below $5, and visitors under 18, accompanying teachers and school groups, as well as disabled and accompanying individuals, can visit for free. To save more and visit more than one cultural center, you can also switch to an annual subscription. It allows you to enter both the natural history museum and the Archaeological Museum at a very low price.
Discover Museums in Bergamo
Regardless of your reason for visiting, a trip to Bergamo is guaranteed to be filled with adventure, fun, entertainment, and cultural and historical experiences. Every museum is evidence of its colorful past and rich culture narrated through artworks, countless exhibitions, artifacts, and stunning displays. So no matter how long you plan to be here or where you want to stay in Bergamo, take your time to explore and immerse yourself with the wonders of its history through its museums and heritage sites.