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Bergamo, the city with two different faces: Bergamo Bassa or "lower city", a modern and efficient urban centre, and Bergamo alta or "upper city", which jealously guards all the history and traditions of the city within its walls.


Bergamo - the Lower city

The combination of these two wonderful identities creates Bergamo, one of the jewels of Italy mentioned by many poets.


The name Bergamo is believed to derive from the Germanic Berg-Heim, or "home on the mountain", owing to the Cenomanian origin of the settlement, but some prefer to believe it derives from the linguistic area of the eastern Mediterranean. Place names like Prague, Parga, Barga, Pergamo, Bergamo are apparently all derived from the Akkadian word parakkum or high place in the temple, cell, shrine.


Bergamo alta - the Upper city

Walking along the nearby streets of Bergamo centre, the eye is immediately drawn to the majestic city wall, dating from the Venetian Republic, which encloses the heart of the city: Upper Bergamo, a beautiful masterpiece of architecture, historic houses and ancient churches whose beauty had enchanted visitors for centuries.

The suggestion is discovered in the medieval Piazza Vecchia with Palazzo della Ragione and Torre del Campanone, vantage point over the city. We must not forget the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore with its magnificent frescoes and the Renaissance masterpiece of the Colleoni Chapel.
Disappearing at an intersection of alleys and streets you will come across market squares up to check the fortified outpost of the Rocca.

For those who like retro shopping, you will enjoy the many shops, especially cakes and food, art exhibitions, small shops of jewelers and antique shops.

Fascinating places to visit are also found in most modern lower town: the Donizetti Theatre, the Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art and one of the most famous art museums of Italy: the Accademia Carrara.

Photo by Giorces (Own work) [CC BY 2.5], via Wikimedia Commons