Then it is time to explore the Milan surroundings, for example with a trip to Bergamo, a town with good food, good wine and – as it happens quite often in Italy – an outstanding cultural and historical heritage.
Gauls, Romans and medieval madness
Bergamo was originally a celtic settlement of Gaul tribes, but in 49CE “Bergomum” became a Roman municipality, part of the annected Gallia Transpadana, the sector of Gallia Cisalpina north of the Po River.
During the Barbarian Invasions it was targeted and destroyed many times. In 569 Bergamo becomes a Lombard Duchy (The Longobards / Lombards ethnicity give the current name of the region Bergamo is in: Lombardia).
In 774 Bergamo is conquered by the Franks, then it will part of the Lega Lombarda against the emperor Frederick I Barbarossa.
In 1428 Bergamo became part of the Repubblica di Venezia – the Venice Republic, then part of the Napoleonic Repubblica Cisalpina and finally part of the Kingdom of Italy in 1860, after the Risorgimento (the “Resurgence” for the unification of Italy) against the Austrian domination.
“Bergamo Alta” – the upper city – is the hilltop medieval town which still treasures churches and buildings and the Venetian wall built in the XVI Century.
Bergamo’s top attractions are the Palazzo della Ragione, seat of the local power between XII and XVII Century; the medieval Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore (Saint Mary Major, with later frescoes by Giovanbattista Tiepolo) and the castle. The Botanic Gardens host more than 900 species.
Great food in Bergamo
Bergamo is a joy for the eyes, but for the belly as well, as the local food combines the richness of the Lombard cuisine and the variety of the Venetian one: risottos, stews, the famous polenta taragna, and a wide variety of cheese: Taleggio, Gorgonzola, Stracchino.
And the Franciacorta, where the “Italian Champagne” is made, is not far…