Bergamo (Italian: [ˈbɛrɡamo] About this sound listen ; Lombard: Bèrghem About this sound listen  or Bergum; from Latin Bergomum, a Celtic or Pre-Celtic toponym), also called La Città dei Mille ('The City of the Thousand') is a city in Lombardy, northern Italy, about 30 km (19 mi) from Switzerland, 40 km (25 mi) northeast of Milan, and about 30 km (19 mi) from the Alpine lakes Como and Iseo. The foothills of the Bergamo Alps begin immediately north of the town, where legend has it that Leonardo da Vinci visited the famous water source of S.Pellegrino, in San Pellegrino Terme.[1]

The city of Bergamo is composed of two parts: there is the elevated Città Alta ("Upper City", Sità Ólta in Bergamasque dialect), the historic core built high up on the hills, and the Città Bassa ("Lower City", Sità Basa in Bergamasque dialect), which is a lively financial centre of national importance. The two parts are separated, both physically and symbolically, by the powerful Venetian defensive systems, that are a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 9 July 2017.[2] The Funiculare Città Alta - Città Bassa connects the core of the suspended Upper City with the modern Lower City. Bergamo is situated within the Natural Park of Bergamo Hills. The Bergamo Alps begin immediately north of the city.

As of 2015, Bergamo is the second most visited city in Lombardy after Milan.[3] The region of Lombardy produces about a quarter of Italy's GDP, making it the wealthiest region in the country and one of the richest in the European Union.[4] Lombardy is Italy's second wealthiest region in terms of GDP per capita, after Südtirol/Trentino-Alto Adige.[5]

Bergamo is well connected to several cities in Italy, thanks to the motorway A4 stretching on the axis between Milan, Verona, Venice, Turin and Trieste. The city is served by Il Caravaggio International Airport (5 km), the third-busiest airport in Italy with 12.3 million passengers in 2017.

Fortified Upper City of Bergamo
Native name Città Alta di Bergamo
Panoramica Bergamo Alta - panoramio.jpg
Bergamo Upper City skyline
Location Bergamo, Natural Park of Bergamo Hills  Lombardy  Italy
Area Bergamo, Lombardy, Northern Italy
Type Cultural
Criteria iii, iv
Designated 2017 (41 Session)
Part of Venetian Works of Defence between 15th and 17th centuries: Stato da Terra – western Stato da Mar
Reference no. 1533
Region Europe and North America

The 2017 43rd G7 summit on agriculture was held in Bergamo, in the context of the broader international meeting organized in Taormina.[6] The Chart of Bergamo commits the Group of Seven to reduce hunger for 500 million people worldwide by 2030, to strengthen cooperation for agricultural development in Africa, to combat food waste, and to ensure price transparency.[7]

In 2015, Italy hosted Milan's Universal Expo 'Feeding the Planet. Energy for Life' encompassing technology, innovation, culture, traditions and creativity and how they relate to food and diet.

With a population of around 120,000, Bergamo is the fourth-largest city in Lombardy. Bergamo is the seat of the Province of Bergamo. The metropolitan area of Bergamo extends beyond the administrative city limits, spanning over a densely urbanized area with slightly less than 500,000 inhabitants.[8] The Bergamo metropolitan area is itself part of the broader Milan metropolitan area, home to over 8 million people.[9][10][11]

The Upper City and the Serio Waterfalls have been used as setting of the 2017 film Call Me by Your Name by Luca Guadagnino. [12]



Bergamo occupies the site of the ancient town of Bergomum, founded as a settlement of the Celtic tribe of Cenomani. In 49 BC it became a Roman municipality, containing c. 10,000 inhabitants at its peak. An important hub on the military road between Friuli and Raetia, it was destroyed by Attila in the 5th century.

Middle Ages

From the 6th century Bergamo was the seat of one of the most important Lombard duchies of northern Italy, together with Brescia, Trento, and Cividale del Friuli: its first Lombard duke was Wallaris.

After the conquest of the Lombard Kingdom by Charlemagne, it became the seat of a county under one Auteramus (d. 816). An important Lombardic hoard dating from the 6th to 7th centuries was found in the vicinity of the city in the 19th century and is now in the British Museum.[13]

From the 11th century onwards, Bergamo was an independent commune, taking part in the Lombard League which defeated Frederick I Barbarossa in 1165. The local Guelph and Ghibelline factions were the Colleoni and Suardi, respectively.

Feuding between the two initially caused the family of Omodeo Tasso to flee north c. 1250, but he returned to Bergamo in the later 13th century to organize the city's couriers: this would eventually lead to the Imperial Thurn und Taxis dynasty generally credited with organizing the first modern postal service.

From 1264, Bergamo was intermittently under the rule of Milan. In 1331, it gave itself to John of Bohemia, but the Milanese Visconti reconquered it.[citation needed]

Early modern

After a short period under the House of Malatesta starting from 1407, Bergamo was ceded in 1428 by the Duchy of Milan to the Republic of Venice in the context of the Wars in Lombardy and the aftermath of the 1427 Battle of Maclodio.

Despite the brief interlude granted by the Treaty of Lodi in 1454, the uneasy balance of power among the Northern Italian states precipitated the Italian Wars, a series of conflicts from 1494 to 1559 that involved, at various times, also the Papal States, France, and the Holy Roman Empire.[14]

The wars, which were both a result and cause of Venetian involvement in the power politics of mainland Italy, prompted Venice to assert its direct rule over its mainland domains.

As much of the fighting during the Italian Wars took place during sieges, increasing levels of fortification were adopted, using such new developments as detached bastions that could withstand sustained artillery fire.[15]

The Venetian works of defence were built between 1561 and 1588, and Bergamo was transformed into a fortified city. It was meant to be a stronghold on the Western frontier with the Duchy of Milan, and to protect the trade routes leading into the Three Leagues territories (Grisons) and the Rhine Valley.[citation needed]

While the countryside was seen as a cheap source of resources and workforce, the Venetian rule resulted in several urban improvements.[citation needed]

A Jacobin revolutionary municipality was established on 13 March 1797, in the context of the 1796 campaign led by the French Revolutionary Army, effectively ending more than three centuries of Venetian rule.[citation needed]

The Treaty of Campo Formio (17 October 1797) formally recognized the inclusion of Bergamo and other parts of Northern Italy into the Cisalpine Republic, a "sister republic" of the French First Republic that was superseded in 1802 by the short-lived Napoleonic Italian Republic and in 1805 by the Napoleonic Kingdom of Italy.

Late modern and contemporary

At the 1815 Congress of Vienna, Bergamo was assigned to the Kingdom of Lombardy–Venetia, a crown land of the Austrian Empire. The visit of Ferdinand I in 1838 coincided with the opening of the new boulevard stretching into the plains, leading to the railway station that was inaugurated in 1857.

The Austrian rule was at first welcomed, but later challenged by Italian independentist insurrections in 1848.

Giuseppe Garibaldi conquered Bergamo in 1859, during the Second Italian War of Independence. As a result, the city was incorporated into the newly founded Kingdom of Italy.

For its contribution to the Italian unification movement, Bergamo is also known as Città dei Mille ("City of the Thousand"), because a significant part of the rank-and-file supporting Giuseppe Garibaldi in his expedition against the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies came from Bergamo and its environs.

During the twentieth century, Bergamo became one of Italy's most industrialized areas.

In 1907, Marcello Piacentini devised a new urban master plan that was implemented between 1912 and 1927, in a style reminiscent of Novecento Italiano and Modernist Rationalism.



Climate data for Bergamo (1971–2000, extremes 1946–present)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 21.9
Average high °C (°F) 6.6
Daily mean °C (°F) 2.7
Average low °C (°F) −1.1
Record low °C (°F) −15.0
Average precipitation mm (inches) 66.1
Average precipitation days (≥ 1.0 mm) 7.1 5.3 7.0 9.3 11.1 9.1 6.3 7.2 6.5 8.3 7.1 6.6 90.9
Average relative humidity (%) 75 75 68 71 69 67 67 68 71 75 78 79 72
Source: Servizio Meteorologico (humidity 1961–1990)[16][17][18]
Walled city scheme


Lower City seen from Upper City

The town has two centres: Città alta ("upper city"), a hilltop medieval town, surrounded by 16th-century defensive walls, and the Città bassa ("lower city"). The two parts of the town are connected by funicular/cable car, roads, and footpaths.

Upper city

The Upper City

The upper city, surrounded by Venetian walls built in the 16th century, forms the historic centre of Bergamo.[19] Città Alta is an extremely expensive place to live in, with properties being sold for 5 to twelve thousand euro per square meter. Walking along the narrow medieval streets, you can visit numerous places of interest including:

  • Cittadella (Citadel), built under the rule of the Visconti in the mid-14th century.
  • Piazza Vecchia
  • Palazzo della Ragione. This was the seat of the administration of the city in the medieval municipal period. Built in the 12th century, it was revamped in the late 16th century by Pietro Isabello. The façade has the Lion of Saint Mark ver a mullioned window, testifying to the long period of Venetian rule. The atrium has a well-preserved 18th-century sundial.

It contains the tomb of Bartolomeo Colleoni.

  • Battistero (Baptistry), an elegant octagonal building dating from 1340.
  • Rocca. It was begun in 1331 on the hill of Sant'Eufemia by William of Castelbarco, vicar of John of Bohemia, and later completed by Azzone Visconti. A wider citadel was added, but is now partly lost.
  • San Michele al Pozzo Bianco. Built in the 12th century, this church contains several frescoes from the 12th to the 16th centuries, including paintings by Lorenzo Lotto.
  • Museo Civico Archeologico. It is housed in the Cittadella.

Lower city

Bergamo Upper City, Lower City and Bergamo Hills

The lower city is the modern centre of Bergamo. At the end of the 19th century Città Bassa was composed of residential neighborhoods built along the main roads that linked Bergamo to the other cities of Lombardy. The main boroughs were Borgo Palazzo along the road to Brescia, Borgo San Leonardo along the road to Milan and Borgo Santa Caterina along the road to Serio Valley. The city rapidly expanded during the 20th century. In the first decades, the municipality erected major buildings like the new courthouse and various administrative offices in the lower part of Bergamo in order to create a new center of the city. After World War II many residential buildings were constructed in the lower part of the city which are now divided into several neighborhoods such as Longuelo, Colognola, Malpensata and Boccaleone, Redona and Valtesse among many others. The most relevant sites are:

  • Accademia Carrara
  • Galleria d'Arte Moderna e Contemporanea (Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art), known as GAMeC.
The old Angelo May library
Upper City
Lower City view from Upper City


In 2010, there were 119,551 people residing in Bergamo (in which the greater area has about 500 000 inhabitants), located in the province of Bergamo, Lombardia, of whom 46.6% were male and 53.4% were female. Minors (children ages 18 and younger) totalled 16.79 percent of the population compared to pensioners who number 23.61 percent. This compares with the Italian average of 17.88 percent (minors) and 20.29 percent (pensioners).

The average age of Bergamo residents is 45 compared to the Italian average of 43. In the eight years between 2002 and 2010, the population of Bergamo grew by 5.41 percent, while Italy as a whole grew by 5.77 percent.[20] The current birth rate of Bergamo is 8.4 births per 1,000 inhabitants compared to the Italian average of 9.3 births.[citation needed]


Bergamo is situated in Lombardy, Italy's northern region where about a quarter of National GDP is produced, making it the richest region in the Country and one of the richest regions in the European Union.[4]

As capital and main town of its province, Bergamo hosts the public administration offices of provincial interest. In the past, many factories were in the commune territory, mainly for electrical components, industrial mechanics and publishing businesses, but have then moved outward. In its province, the following corporations are based:

  • S.Pellegrino, brand of mineral water and assorted real-fruit sodas, based in San Pellegrino Terme.
  • UBI group, general headquarters of Italy's 4th largest banking group.
  • Brembo, general headquarters and plants of the manufacturer of automotive brake systems' leader, especially for high-performance cars and motorcycles.
  • Tenaris, is a global manufacturer and supplier of seamless and welded steel pipe products and provider of pipe handling, stocking and distribution services to the oil and gas, energy and mechanical industries.
  • ABB SpA, offices and plants of a multinational corporation operating mainly in the power and automation technology areas.


Upper City


Bergamo has a prominent place in music history. The large Romanesque church of Santa Maria Maggiore, begun in 1137, had a continuous and well-documented tradition of music teaching and singing for more than eight hundred years.

When the town was under Venetian control, the musical style of the Venetians was imported as well; in particular, a large instrumental ensemble grew up to support the choral singing.

Composers such as Gasparo Alberti produced music with polyphony using two organs, brass and viols, a style usually associated with Venice, but which flourished in the fine acoustic environment of Santa Maria Maggiore.

The city lent its name to a style of folk dance known as bergamask peculiar to the peoples of that region. Known as bergomasci and renowned for their buffoonery, the fool Bottom in Shakespeare's A Midsummer's Night's Dream refers to their Bergomask dance. This unconventional form gave Debussy a vehicle for the dissonances and irregular intervals of his "Suite bergamasque".

Prominent musicians born in Bergamo include Gaetano Donizetti, Pietro Locatelli, Antonio Lolli, Gianluigi Trovesi, Roby Facchinetti, Alfredo Piatti, Fabrizio Frigeni and Gianandrea Gavazzeni. Alessandro Grandi, one of the most progressive composers of the early 17th century after Monteverdi, was maestro di cappella there until his death in the plague of 1630; Tarquinio Merula, an even more progressive composer, and one of the founders of the early sonata, took over his post.

Notable natives

Bergamo was the hometown and last resting place of Enrico Rastelli, a highly technical and world-famous juggler who lived in the town and, in 1931, died there at the early age of 34. There is a life-sized statue of Rastelli within his mausoleum. A number of painters were active in the town as well; among these were Giovanni Paolo Cavagna, Francesco Zucco, and Enea Salmeggia, each of whom painted works for the church of Santa Maria Maggiore. Sculptor Giacomo Manzù and the bass-baritone opera singer Alex Esposito[21] were born in Bergamo.

The famous American electrical engineer and professor Andrew Viterbi, inventor of the important Viterbi's algorithm, was born in Bergamo, before migrating to the US during the Fascist era because of his Jewish origin. Designers born in Bergamo include the late Mariuccia Mandelli, the founder of Krizia and one of the first female fashion designers to create a successful line of men's wear.[22]





Bergamo is served by Il Caravaggio International Airport 5 km (3 mi) south-east of the town, the third busiest airport in Italy, serving 10.404.625 million passengers in 2015.[citation needed] The city is also served by Milan Linate Airport 50 km (31 mi) south-west of Bergamo.


Motorway A4 is the main axis connecting the city[citation needed] with the east and the west of the country, to cities such as Milan, Turin, Venice and Trieste.


Bergamo railway station is connected to Milan, Lecco, Cremona, Treviglio, Brescia and Monza with regional trains operated by Trenord.[citation needed]

The city is also served by two daily Frecciargento services to Rome operated by Trenitalia.[citation needed]

Urban transport

Transport within Bergamo is managed by ATB and includes a network of bus lines together with two funicular systems opened in 1887 (Funicolare di Bergamo Alta) and in 1912 (Funicolare di Bergamo-San Vigilio). The Bergamo–Albino light rail was inaugurated in 2009.[citation needed]

Two light rail lines are currently in the planning stage:

  • Line 2 Bergamo FS - Villa d'Almè - San Pellegrino Terme
  • Line 3 Hospital-Railway Station FS-Trade Fair - Bergamo Airport

International relations

Twin towns − sister cities

Bergamo is twinned with:[23]

Bergamo has a partnership with:


Bergamo is home to the following consulates:

Notable people

See also


  1. ^ "San Pellegrino (Italy)". Water stories. 2013-06-28. Retrieved 2017-10-02. 
  2. ^ Centre, UNESCO World Heritage. "The city of Bergamo - UNESCO World Heritage Centre". whc.unesco.org. Retrieved 2017-11-02. 
  3. ^ "RSY Lombardia-Arrivals and nights spent by guests in accommodation establishments, by type of resort and by type of establishment. Total accommodation establishments. Part III. Tourist resort. Year 2012". asr-lombardia.it. Retrieved 4 November 2014. 
  4. ^ a b "European Commission - PRESS RELEASES - Press release - Regional GDP per inhabitant in the EU27
    GDP per inhabitant in 2006 ranged from 25% of the EU27 average in Nord-Est in Romania to 336% in Inner London"
    . europa.eu. Retrieved 2017-10-08.
  5. ^ "Lombardia, Pil più alto in Italia Bergamo disoccupazione ai minimi" (in Italian). Retrieved 2017-10-11. 
  6. ^ "G7 Agricoltura, approvata la Carta di Bergamo: "Zero fame entro il 2030"". Repubblica.it (in Italian). 2017-10-15. Retrieved 2017-10-16. 
  7. ^ "G7, nasce la Carta di Bergamo: cooperazione, trasparenza sui prezzi e lotta allo spreco alimentare". BergamoNews (in Italian). 2017-10-15. Retrieved 2017-10-16. 
  8. ^ "Urbanismi in Italia, 2011" (PDF). cityrailways.it (in Italian). Retrieved 4 November 2014. 
  9. ^ "OECD Territorial Review - Milan, Italy". [permanent dead link]
  10. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 5 December 2008. Retrieved 22 March 2015.  Competitiveness of Milan and its metropolitan area
  11. ^ ISTAT
  12. ^ "Enjoy a Sun-Drenched Italian Summer with Call Me By Your Name Amuse". Amuse. 2017-10-25. Retrieved 2018-01-29. 
  13. ^ "Collection search: You searched for". British Museum. 
  14. ^ Michael Mallett and Christine Shaw, The Italian Wars: 1494–1559. Harlow: Pearson Education Limited, 2012.
  15. ^ Max Boot, War Made New: Technology, Warfare, and the Course of History, 1500 to Today. New York: Penguin Group, 2006.
  16. ^ "Bergamo/Orio Al Serio (BG)" (PDF). Atlante climatico. Servizio Meteorologico. Retrieved 6 March 2015. 
  17. ^ "STAZIONE 076 Bergamo Orio Al Serio: medie mensili periodo 61 - 90". Servizio Meteorologico. Retrieved 6 March 2015. 
  18. ^ "Bergamo Orio al Serio: Record mensili dal 1946" (in Italian). Servizio Meteorologico dell’Aeronautica Militare. Retrieved 6 March 2015. 
  19. ^ "The city of Bergamo". UNESCO World Heritage Centre. Retrieved 1 February 2015. 
  20. ^ "Statistiche demografiche ISTAT". Demo.istat.it. Retrieved 15 April 2012. 
  21. ^ "Alex Esposito". www.roh.org.uk. Royal Opera House. Retrieved 25 February 2014. 
  22. ^ Fox, Margalit (2015-12-07). "Mariuccia Mandelli, Italian Fashion Designer, Dies at 90". New York Times. Retrieved 2016-01-04. 
  23. ^ a b c d e f g h "Gemellaggi e relazioni internazionali" (official website) (in Italian). Comune di Bergamo. 7 April 2006. Retrieved 2015-03-28. 
  24. ^ "Pueblo's Sister Cities Home" (official website). Pueblo, CO, USA: Pueblo Sister Cities Commission. Retrieved 2015-03-28. 
  25. ^ "Convenios Internacionales" (official website) (in Spanish). Cochabamba, Bolivia: Gobierno Autónomo Municipal de Cochabamba. Archived from the original on 4 April 2015. Retrieved 28 March 2015. 
  26. ^ "Bergamo firma il gemellaggio con Olkusz" (in Italian). Comune di Bergamo. Retrieved 31 March 2015. 
  27. ^ "Posadas y sus hermanas" (in Spanish). Primera Edición. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 28 March 2015. 
  28. ^ Consolato Onorario della BOLIVIA "Easydiplomacy" Archived 1 January 2012 at the Wayback Machine.
  29. ^ Consolato Onorario del Malawi a Bergamo > Company Profile Guida Monaci
  30. ^ "Rappresentanze svizzera in Italia". www.eda.admin.ch. 


External links