We didn’t fancy the three plus hour drive to Lake Como so we broke the journey up with an overnight stop in Bergamo.
It’s a good job we broke the journey up because it took us two hours just to get out off the Garda lake road. There was heavy traffic heading in both directions and the roads were really tight. Combine this with the unreal driving of Italians and the numerous potholes you’ve got an intensely stressful drive. As compensation, the road was incredibly scenic, hugging the lake all the way and going through epic tunnels that cut through the mountains. This road actually featured in the opening car chase scene in the James Bond film, The Quantum of Solace.
We eventually made it onto the main roads and into Bergamo, an eastern Lombard city. Our sosta was located about 3 miles from the city. We parked up, had some lunch and then got the bus into the new town. From here we needed to switch buses to reach the ancient hilltop city perched high above. The city has over 5km of Venetian walls and the views were stunning.
For a small city, Bergamo is a heavyweight when it comes to medieval Renaissance and baroque architecture and charm. We wandered through the tiny alleys and window shopped.
They really love their food here and every other shop was a patisserie or panificio. We snacked on an arancini and coffee granita. Polenta is a really big deal here and the locals enjoy it in every form including savoury with a rich wild boar stew and sweet as a set cake.
Bergamo’s mast famous landmark is the elegant Piazza Vecchio. It’s lined with lovely cafes and is home to the awesome Cathedral. With a striking black and white tiled floor and stunning frescoes, it was one of the more beautiful ones we’ve seen on our travels.
We loved our little wander around the old city which was small but perfect. Rather than take the bus, we walked back down to the new town along cobbled streets which was gorgeous.
We managed to make sense of the buses back to the sosta from there and cooked at the van, dodging some killer mosquitos. We got an early night in preparation for our trip to Como the next day.