Bergamo

Bergamo is a city in Lombardy, a region of Italy, and the capital of the namesake province. One of the most scenic cities in Italy, it is located on and around a steep hill, green in the summer and white in the winter, complemented by pastel-coloured architecture, against the backdrop of nearby Alps. Its appeal to tourists is enhanced by the nearby Orio al Serio airport. Looking at its beauty, it is hard to believe Bergamo is also one of Italy's most industrialized cities, from which it derives its relative wealth.

Sunrise in Bergamo

Understand

Bergamo is a pretty town of some 120,000 people nestling in the foothills of the Alps. Widely acclaimed as a city of rare beauty, Bergamo is famous for its wealth of artistic treasures and enchanting medieval atmosphere. It is a real life tale of two cities: Città Bassa, the busy and modern lower city, and Città Alta, the upper city with its rich heritage of art and history.

Get in

Due to its subalpine location, Orio al Serio airport gets its fair share of snow in winter

By plane

Bergamo airport is the 4th busiest airport in Italy, serving a wider area than just the province of Bergamo. It mostly hosts low-fare airlines, many of whom market it as an alternative to Milan's Malpensa and Linate airports, and thus call it "Milan Bergamo".

Airlines serving Milan are either point-to-point low-fare carries like Ryanair or Wizz Air, as well as holiday charters going either to Italy from other European countries, or from Bergamo to warmer holiday destinations in the Mediterranean. If you would rather travel on a major airline, your only choice are the two daily flights to Munich Airport, operated by Air Dolomiti, where the Lufthansa-owned carrier connects to the Star Alliance network of European and intercontinental flights. Note that Munich is denoted Monaco in Italian when searching for the flights.

Many passengers get on a coach to Milan right after arrival, skipping Bergamo entirely.

From the airport to Bergamo

Bus line #1 operated by the city's public transit authority ATB runs between the airport and important points within the city, such as the train station or the lower station of the funicular. Tickets are €2 per trip, €5 for 24h ticket and €7 for a 3 day ticket. There is a ticket machine at the bus stop. You can find schedules and route maps on the site of ATB, the local mass transit authority.

Buses can be both unreliable and not punctual. You may want to take this bus then make sure you have 30-45 minutes before the time you actually have to be at the airport. Taxies will take about 15 min but are quite expensive given the length of the journey - cost around €15 (€21 after 21:00 in the evening)

Other bus connections

If you are at the airport and your destination is Milan or Venice, just take one of regular coaches. However be warned that the autostrada connecting Bergamo and Milan carries a lot of trucks and gets easily congested - do not therefore rely on the 'stated' journey time especially on weekdays. An alternative is to take the bus into Bergamo (see above) and take the train.

The train station of Bergamo is on a bit of a side line, so you will not find any high-speed connections from there

By train

There are regular trains to Milan (50 min), Lecco and Brescia, where you can change to trains towards Verona and Venice.

The bus no. 1 from the airport to Bergamo city, taking around 20 minutes, leaves you just in front of the train station. You can check schedules and fares on the website of the Italian Railways.

By bus

Regular buses to Milan. You can check schedules and fares on the website of Autostradale. The trip takes approximately one hour, depending on traffic conditions. Alternatively, you can take advantage of the direct bus connections to the Orio Al Serio airport from Brescia, Milan, Milan Rho fairgrounds, Milano Malpensa Airport and Turin.

Get around

By bus

The city's public transit authority is called ATB (Azienda Trasporti Bergamo) and provides a comprehensive website in English. ATB operates a number of bus lines, two funiculars and a tram line.

ATB's ticketing system is a complicated zone-based affair, with single-ride tickets starting at €1.30 (75 min) for zone 00 (24h card – €3.50). Basically, the whole city centre is included into this zone, but to travel to or from the airport you would need a 3 zone ticket for €2.30 (75 min). There are also "Whole Network" cards: 24h for €5.00 and 72h for €7.00. These tickets also valid at the funiculars and tram lines and allow you to travel with luggage.

Tickets can be purchased from automated or manned points of sale throughout the town - most importantly, at the train station, the airport, Porta Nuova and the lower station of the Citta Alta funicular.

ATB buses are painted orange

Bus line #1 is the most convinient for tourists, as it connects the airport with the railway station, the Citta Alta and several other points of interest. The important stops are:

The journey from Aeroporto or Orio Center to Colle Aperto takes not more than 25 mins (unless there is major traffic congestion), and within the city all of the stops are not more than 15 mins from each other. Buses leave the airport three times an hour from 6AM until midnight, which is complemented by two hourly departures from Orio Center on the other side of the Autostrada. Within the city, the intervals are 10 mins at daytime. On Saturdays ("Sabato") and holidays ("Festivo") the schedule is slightly less intensive, but still workable.

Do note that the route has a few variations which do not run to the airport, so check the schedule and look for buses stopping at "Aeroporto". If you end up on a bus heading to Grassobbio, get off at "Orio Center", the shopping centre opposite the airport, and head to the airport via an underground passage under the Autostrada. The stop called "Orio al Serio" is for the village and is on the other side of the airport, from where you cannot get to the terminal, so make sure you do not get off there (wait for "Orio Center"). Buses to "Scanzo" and "Torre de Roveri" do not go anywhere the airport at all.

Lines 2-11 can be useful for getting around between other localities. Lines with numbers over 20 only run during weekdays and are mostly structure to handle peak hour traffic. Do take a look at the pretty extensive and exhaustive information at the ATB website, where you can find maps and schedules for all lines.

By funicular

Bergamo funicular

There are 2 funicular lines in Bergamo:

By tram

By bike

Bergamo has a public bike system called La BiGi. It is run by Bicincittà and features 22 stations. It appears to be usable only after paying the yearly fee of €20 and between the hours of 6 and 23, so it might not be the best option for short visits.

By foot

The town is not large, and most of the sights can be seen comfortably on foot. To get from the Città Bassa up to the Città Alta can be quite tiring on foot, though, due to the steep and winding streets, but there is a funicolare (or cable railway) linking the two parts of the town.

See

Citta Alta

Fontana Contarini (1780) in Piazza Vecchia
Santa Maria Maggiore
Plan of the Venetian Walls

Venetian Walls

The upper town is surrounded by stone walls, built in the 16th century by the Venetians, which survive to a large extent to this day. The four gates that led through the walls to the city do survive as well.

Citta Bassa

The upper station of the funicolare connecting Città Bassa and Città Alta

Do

View over Bergamo from San Vigilio

Eat

Drink

Lower town of Bergamo at nighttime

Sleep

As Bergamo is not as popular as some other destinations of Northern Italy, while being a major business hub and domestic tourism destination, it has a well-developed accommodation base at reasonable prices compared to e.g. Milan. The latter, being around 1.5 hrs away, can be a target of a day trip - a convenient option if you arrive on a flight to Orio al Serio airport.

Città Alta (Old Town)

Città Bassa (New Town)

Via Pignolo, one of the charming streets of the lower town

There are a number of good hotels in Citta Bassa - many on Viale Papa Giovanni XXIII (The main street from the station to the funicolare).

Stezzano

Stezzano is a commune 8 km south of Bergamo. It is very easily reached both by train and by bus. The train takes approximately five minutes and Milan is also easily reachable.

Go next

Crespi d'Adda, factory entrance
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