In mid-July, Dario had an afternoon meeting in Bergamo so we all decided to go along to see the city and have dinner. Bergamo is located about 1 hour southeast of Como (or about 1 hour north east of Milan). The city is divided into the old and new parts. The old medieval town sits on top of a hill, while the new modern town is spread out down below. The road up to the upper town is narrow and windy but that’s where all the good stuff is. Plus, the view while you drive up is incredible. For those who come in via train (the station is located in the lower town), there is a handy funicolare that connects the two parts of Bergamo. My guidebook says it is free, however I didn’t ride it so I can’t confirm this (in my previous experiences with funicolari, a one-way ticket has never cost more than €2).
After finding parking, we walked around trying to find a restaurant that turned out to be closed. On the way to this restaurant, we passed some beautiful sights…
Then we stumbled upon the Piazza Vecchia, which literally translated means “Old Square”. This piazza is beautiful! It felt very open (perhaps because it wasn’t crowded) and bright. The piazza connected to Piazza del Duomo – “The duomo square” – home of the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore and the Cappella Colleoni. Of course, they were both closed by the time we arrived, but from what I’ve read, every inch of the ceiling of the basilica is covered in frescoes.
Between the two piazzas is a covered area that has an Analemmatic sundial attached to the ceiling on one side, and in the ground a long piece of marble with the months, days, and astrological signs etched in. I’d never seen anything like it and thought it was pretty cool.
It was at about this time that we found out the restaurant we were planning on eating at was closed. So we started looking for the next option. We ended up choosing Da Franco Ristorante Pizzeria. They had a number of local dishes available, including polenta and pastas made “Bergamo style”. I had the homemade ravioli Bergamo style and the ossobuco with polenta. It was delicious and I was not disappointed!
Traditionally ossobuco is a winter dish, however I’m here during the summer and finding good ossobuco in the US is difficult so I ordered it anyway. Plus, I’d still have gelato if I came to Italy in the winter, so I see nothing wrong with ordering a “winter” dish in the summer 🙂
I’m definitely a fan of Bergamo and would like to come back and spend a day exploring the whole city. I’d also like to go inside the basilica to see the ceiling with the frescos. Of course, it’s a little out of the way for most people who visit Italy, but if you’re in Milan, Como, or Verona, you’re close enough to make a day trip.