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High above its newer neighborhoods on the plain below, Bergamo’s old walled Citta Alta is a warren of stone buildings lining cobbled streets alive with cafes, restaurants and small shops. This is where many of Bergamo’s treasures are found, most centered around the beautiful Piazza Vecchia. Bordering this harmonious square are Palazzo del Podesta and the Pallazzo della Ragione’s columned staircase and triple-arched loggia. The Contarini Fountain in the center of the piazza adds a playful note with its amiable lions and serpents, and above stands the tall Torre Communale. Walk under the colonnade at the top of the piazza to find Piazza Duomo ...

High above its newer neighborhoods on the plain below, Bergamo’s old walled Citta Alta is a warren of stone buildings lining cobbled streets alive with cafes, restaurants and small shops. This is where many of Bergamo’s treasures are found, most centered around the beautiful Piazza Vecchia. Bordering this harmonious square are Palazzo del Podesta and the Pallazzo della Ragione’s columned staircase and triple-arched loggia. The Contarini Fountain in the center of the piazza adds a playful note with its amiable lions and serpents, and above stands the tall Torre Communale. Walk under the colonnade at the top of the piazza to find Piazza Duomo and its Romanesque Santa Maria Maggiore with the Renaissance Colleoni Chapel attached. This Renaissance polychrome marble mausoleum, designed by Giovanni Amadeo, contains tombs that are highlights of this region’s artistic heritage. Inside the duomo, now Baroque in style, 12th- and 13th-century frescoes survive, and opera lovers still lay flowers on the tomb of Gaetano Donizetti. Facing the piazza is the unusual Baptistry, which was originally inside the Duomo, eight 14th-century statues surrounding its roof. Inside the adjacent Aula della Curia, entry to the diocesan offices, are excellent 13th- and 14th-century frescos. Down the street is the composers home, Museo Donizettiano, where he wrote many of his operas. At the other end of the old city is La Rocca, a castle housing the Museo del Risorgimento, recalling Italy’s fight for independence and the resistance movement against the Facists during World War II. In the lower town, the Carrera Gallery contains one of Europe's major collections, with more than 1600 works by Titian, Tiepolo, Pisano, Botticelli, Durer, Velasquez and other masters.

Barbara Rogers
About the Expert

Barbara Radcliffe Rogers has written or coauthored more than 30 guidebooks, including The Portugal Traveler, Drive Around Portugal, City Spots Munich, City Spots Helsinki, City Spots Stockholm, Eating New England, and the Maine section of Thomas Cook's Independent Traveller USA.

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Barbara Rogers for Triporati

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Climate

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    All attractions are open year-round, but spring and fall are the most appealing seasons.