We found out that it is most convenient to get from Zurich to Pantelleria via Bergamo. As we did not want to have to rush to the airport from Zurich in the early morning hours, we decided to arrive at Bergamo the night before and take a few hours to explore this beautiful town in Northern Italy.
We stayed at Antica Dimora, a charming B&B located inside an old palace in the Città Bassa. It’s in walking distance from one of the funicular stations that connects the lower parts of the city with the Città Alta – Bergamo’s old town and main attraction located up on a hill overlooking Lombardy. So, after arriving at the hotel, we quickly made our way there, already passing through arcane alleyways and stately villas on our way.
The Cobble Stone Streets of Bergamo’s Città Alta
The Città Alta is a beautiful maze of narrow streets, small squares, and churches. There are lots of little shops, cute cafés, and decent looking restaurants, as well as breathtaking views all the way to Milan. While Bergamo seems to offer many cultural and historical sights, there were significantly fewer tourists than in places like Venice, Florence or even Milan. We did spot some “Call Me By Your Name” fans, however, who seems to be on a pilgrimage to the locations where the Bergamo scenes between Elio and Oliver where filmed – and yes, we did spot some of those, too. Like the church doors where Oliver dances with a stranger.
La Dolce Vita around Piazza Vecchia
After a walk around town, we ended up at the stunning Piazza Vecchia – named one of the most picturesque squares in all of Italy. Here we sat down for an Aperitivo with Spritz, Italian beer and a rich offering of snacks at a place called Bar Flora. The boyfriend started raving about the proportions of the piazza, while I fell for the dolce vita spirit of the place.
For dinner, we spontaneously picked a nice looking restaurant across from Bar Flora, Caffe del Tasso 1476 . The food was delicious, so was the bottle of wine we shared. For dessert I tried, Polenta e Osei, a local cake that I had seen in many shop windows throughout the afternoon. Made of polenta, chocolate, marzipan, and nuts it’s sweet and delicious. After a nightcap at a bar called Il Dispensario, we went back to the hotel. We only had a few hours in Bergamo, but I think we made the most of them – and maybe one day we will be back.