One of my favorite memories from our holiday in Milan had incidentally nothing to do with Milan itself, but our rather spontaneous visit to Bergamo, Italy. Bergamo is a city in Lombardy, about 40km northeast of Milan. We'd been in Milan for two days and were looking for something a little different to do within an hour's drive, away from the crowd and noise of the city centre.
My dear friend Sarah, armed with her trusty guidebook, threw out the suggestion of Bergamo, which was quickly agreed upon by everyone. We weren't exactly sure what we were going to find, as we all know guidebooks can be misleading sometimes, but it was certainly the most pleasant of surprises as Bergamo wowed us at first sight.
Nestling in the foothills of the Alps, arriving at Bergamo was like stepping into an enchanted town. Bergamo is divided into a lower city built on a plain, and a medieval town perched on the hillside. It was at this medieval town that we chose to spend the afternoon.
The views were absolutely stunning, and the town oozed charm at every corner. This was the Italy I'd dreamed about and failed to find in Milan. I was immediately enraptured by the quaint, old buildings and medieval feel of the place. It's also a great town to spend a day in, as it's small enough to get to most sites simply by walking, and big enough for you to discover plenty of wonderful sights along the way.
We walked until we reached the Piazza Vecchia, the heart of this old town, where medieval and Renaissance architecture stand side by side to make you feel like you've taken a step back in time. We spent a good couple of hours seated on a bench right here, snacking on the most delicious pizza I've had in Italy from the wonderful bakery/cafe Il Fornaio, before indulging in double scoops of gelato each.
A few steps from the Piazza is the church of Santa Maria Maggiore, which we all paid a quick visit to just before leaving. The basilica is one of the most important building in the city with its rich historical and artistic heritage, and definitely worth a visit when you're in the area.
Sarah and I made a promise to return one day and share a bottle of wine together at one of the restaurants overlooking the old town and it's a promise I intend to keep! Arrivederci, my bella Bergamo.