In northern Italy just east of Milan, Bergamo is what the locals call the mountain home. As home to more than 120 thousand residents, the city is also a popular tourist town bringing in over a million visitors a year through the Bergamo Airport. You cannot visit Bergamo without seeing the ruins of San Vigilio Castle or the Bergamo Alps.
Many come to see the Upper City of Citta Alta in old town, which is a UNESCO world heritage site due to its old walls and city gates. The Venetian walls were part of the Venetian defensive systems constructed in the 16th century and are also home to many old squares including Piazza Duomo, Santa Maria Maggiore, and Piazza Mercato delle Scarpe.
The Lower City, which is called Città Bassa, is where you can find quaint plazas like the Piazza Matteotti and Piazza Vittoria Veneto. But there are many other attractions like the Palazzo della Provincia, the Tower of the Fallen (aka Torre dei Caduti), and the Donizetti Opera House (aka Teatro Donizetti).
You should not have any trouble getting around in Bergamo, Italy. The city has an excellent public transportation system with a train station in almost every neighborhood, starting with Bergamo Train Station. Be sure to explore the foothills of the Bergamo Alps, also known as Spa Town. If you are taking a weekend break, add Bergamo to your itinerary.
Besides the palaces, plazas, and squares in Bergamo, you can also visit some of the museums and art galleries at night as well as many parks. And of course, there are quite a few pubs, bars, and nightclubs to enjoy as well. Hop over to one of the Bergamo luggage storage spots first and drop off your bags for safekeeping.
Bergamo Civic Museum of Natural Sciences
Also known as the Natural Science Museum, this family-friendly museum is open until 6:30 PM on weekends. With more than 55 thousand items from animal specimens to dinosaur bones, you can spend the whole evening here until they close and still not see everything.
Located in the Piazza Cittadella, the Northern Italy museum also boasts a library and interactive exhibits. But the most popular is the dinosaur items. There are tons of fossils and a huge life-size skeleton of an Allosaurus. Take a guided tour or explore on your own to try to take it all in before they close. It's a good starting point for your night out.
You can walk through Citta Alta at night, strolling along the landmark hotels in the upper town of Bergamo. This is one of the most popular spots in the city. Some of the highlights here in old town include Piazza Vecchia, Palazzo Nuovo, Borgo Canale, the Campanone Civic Tower, and Piazza Duomo.
The Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore next to the Cathedral is a huge romantic building that was built in the Middle Ages and features the Colleoni Chapel. It is open until 7 PM if you want to see the inside. Although you do not need a tour guide, it can be fun to learn more about Bergamo and all of the places that have UNESCO world heritage status while you are there.
Piazza Vecchia Bergamo
In Piazza Vecchia, which is the heart of Citta Alta, or upper town, you will find many historical buildings. Piazza Vecchia was constructed in the 1300s, with the first building of Palazzo della Ragione. Within the next 200 years, buildings were put up all around Citta Alta and the surrounding area.
Today at Piazza Vecchia, there are sunny cafes, Palazzo del Podesta, and the Vio Colleoni monument. One of the historic sites is the Caffe del Tasso, which has been serving the people of Bergamo, Italy since 1860. Next door is Cathedral Square and Piazza Duomo, giving you a variety of places to enjoy at night in Bergamo. Don't miss the Contanini Fountain from 1780.
Also known as the lower town of Bergamo, one of the main features here is also a tower, one known as the Torre del Caduti, or the Tower of the Fallen, which is one of the hidden gems of Italy. When visiting this modern part of Bergamo, most people start at the lower station of the funicular station, where you can get a ride up from the main street of the city for a small fee.
As one of Northern Italy's highly popular cities in the Lombardy region, it is full of some of the most ancient buildings still standing. One of these, the Gaetano Donizetti Theatre is from the 1780s and is still in use today. Some other great places to visit in the lower town include Colli Park, the Accademia Carrara, and the village of Colognola.
Piazza Matteotti Bergamo
In the middle of the lower town of Bergamo, you can find the Piazza Matteotti. This plaza boasts some spectacular gardens full of beautiful flora and quite a few monuments and statuary as well as the gatehouses of Porta Nuova.
This is an important spot and a great place to visit during your stay in Bergamo. Stroll around the grounds without the worry of traffic here because the plaza is now closed to vehicles. The grounds are connected to the Palazzo Uffici with a promenade for pedestrians only.
Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art Bergamo
This is a great place to go on a rainy day. Also known as GAMeC, this stunning art gallery is open until 7 PM and has so much to see, you may want to get there as early as you can. Located in the center of the city in a convent from the 1400s, the museum is situated just east of the Old City.
Besides holding a variety of works from artists such as Sutherland, De Chirico, Balla, and Morandi, the gallery has four collections of sculptures and paintings. These include Carrara, Manzu, Spajani, and Stucchi. There are about 3,000 pieces in all with the most recent from Warhol, Michelangelo, and Raphael.
Bergamo Castello di San Vigilio
Museums and historical places are always a hit! On top of San Vigilio hill, overlooking Citta Alta, San Vigilio Castle has housed some of the main rulers of Bergamo, Italy for many centuries. Beginning in 889, the Romans started building forts and other military posts there because it has such a great view of the valley and they did not have to worry about anyone sneaking up on them.
A larger castle was built in 1166 and this happened several more times, including adding a moat, four towers, and defensive walls of the old citadel. In 1912, the castle was connected to the city by the San Vigilio funicular and became a tourist attraction as it is now.
Private Walking Tour of Bergamo
Walking along Viale delle Mura to the Venetian Walls of Bergamo is one of the most popular things to do in Bergamo, Italy no matter what time of day it is. You can explore the city on your own or take a private tour. On one of these Bergamo tours, you often get to go places others cannot, as well as visit after closing times.
One of the most popular of these tours is the Do Eat Better Tour which includes a walk inside the red and white marble walls of the old town with a local foodie. You will pass the Palazzo e Giardini Moroni, Basilica Santa Maria Maggiore, Civic Tower, and Vial Delle Mura on your four-hour trip with five different dishes and wines.
The Bar Scene
Both old town and new town have unique places to spend an evening, Craft beers, cocktails, and of course, wines are available for you to savor. Many places serve cheeses and sandwiches, and if you stop in a traditional pub you'll enjoy pub fare.
Get ready for Aperitivo time along with tasty snacks at places like Beer Garage for imported beer, Barrier for terrific cocktails, and Bu Cheese Bar for wine and cheese combos.
Porta San Giacomo Gate
Are you looking for free things to do in Bergamo? One of the four entrance gates of the Venetian Walls in Bergamo, the Porta San Giacomo Gate was constructed in 1593 and is one of the most stunning in the Old Town, made with pink and white marble. It gets its name from the church that was there until recently and you can visit any time day or night with free entry.
In the center of the gate, the winged lion was a symbol of San Marco and was made to show the grandeur of the city of Bergamo. It was the entrance for those coming from Milan and once had a wooden drawbridge, which was destroyed on the order of Venetian Governor Contarini in the XVIII Century.
Northern Italy Bergamo Orio Center
If you want to do any shopping, dining, or entertaining at night in Bergamo, check out the Orio Center Mall right next to the Bergamo International Airport. Whether you are looking for something specific as a souvenir or you just want to do some window shopping, Orio is the mall to visit.
With more than 200 stores over two floors, you can spend all day and night there until they close. They also have dozens of eateries from small snack bars to fine dining establishments. Get off your feet and watch a movie at the cineplex where you can see a box office hit before going back to shopping.
Santa Maria Maggiore
Located at the Piazza Duomo in Old Town, the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore is open until 7 PM every night and you should not miss getting a look inside this Romanesque church. From the ornate marble porch to the gilded inside full of tapestries, this is a stunning place to visit.
The Santa Maria Bergamo Church was built to satisfy a vow to the Virgin Mary in 1133 to protect Bergamo from the plague that was taking over the city. Just inside, the resting place of Cardinal Longhi with a memorial made by Ugo da Campione in 1313 is amazing and the Giottesque frescoes are from 1347.
Also known as the Cathedral of Sant'Alessandro Martire, you can find this historic church in the Piazza Duomo. Finished in 1879, the stunning building was built by Angelo Bonicelli. The facade is red Boveno granite and has three arches and pillars with statues of St. Peter and St. Paul.
Inside, you can find the Tiara from Pope John XXIII, which is simply gorgeous with emeralds, rubies, diamonds, and pearls. In addition, the Bergamo Baptistry, which was built by Giovanni da Campione in 1340 has some stunning reliefs of Life of Christ and John the Baptist.
Why not take a day trip to Milan? It takes less than an hour to get there from Bergamo by car and you can spend the whole night in this metropolis. Here you can take a guided tour of the city on foot, segway, or by vehicle. Some of the most iconic and beautiful attractions are found here.
The massive Gothic church filled with art, Duomo di Milano (Milan Cathedral) is within close proximity to the city center. Sforzesco Castle is another popular tourist attraction with several museums and art collections. Or you can go see the Da Vinci masterpiece, The Last Supper, at Santa Maria Delle Grazie.
Bergamo, Italy at Night
Whether you spend your night in Citta Alta, Citta Bassa, or the outskirts of Bergamo, there is always something to do and see. The stunning city centre may be the top spot to go during the day, but at night, you may have to check out the surrounding countryside or take a short train ride to another part of Italy.
Take a trip to Lake Como for a day of boating, swimming, and other water sports or you can try some polenta e osei at one of the many Italian eateries, take a walk in one of the Bergamo parks, or check out some of the museums and art galleries like Museo Donizettiano. If nothing else, you can just sit back and watch the world go by.