Bergamo is the jewel of northern Italy. Situated in the Lombardy region near the lakes Como and Iseo. It dates back to 49 BC when it became a Roman municipality. It remained an important hub on the military road until its destruction by Attila the Hun in the 5th century. For some part of the Middle Ages Bergamo was the seat of one of the most important Lombard duchies. From the 11th century onwards Bergamo was an independent commune. After that Bergamo changed hands multiple times, belonging to the Republic of Venice, Papal States, France, the Holy Roman Empire and even Austrian Empire amongst others. Bergamo’s rich and fascinating history as left it with marvelous buildings and art collections as well as rich music history. As that Bergamo is a perfect destination to spend your holidays at as well as a launching pad from which to explore the rest of Lombardy.
Basic info and car hire in Bergamo
Location: North of Italy, Lombardy
Population: 119,381 as of December 2015
Official language: Italian
Currency: Euro € (EUR)
Weather: Bergamo has humid subtropical climate. It has more rain in the summer than in the winter. The average high temperature in the warmest months is around 28 °C, with the average low temperatures in the coldest months around 0°C.
Public holidays in Bergamo: When travelling to the foreign country it is good to keep in mind the dates of the bank holidays in order to avoid complications. For bank holidays in Italy take a look at this site.
Internet coverage: Bergamo municipality offers free Wi-Fi called Bergamo Wi-Fi. It allows a connection to the internet through 62 access points all over the city with a 3 Mb download and upload signal.
Road conditions: Bergamo has well maintained roads. For real-time road traffic news go to ViaMichelin site.
Car Hire in Bergamo: The most common collection spot as a car hire pick-up location is car hire at Bergamo Airport. There are also downtown locations where you can hire a car if you are arriving to the city by train or bus.
Driving in Bergamo
- Age limits: The minimum age to be able to have a driving licence is 18 years. However, you usually have to be 21 or 23 years old and in the possession of a driving licence for at least a year to be able to hire a car. In some cases there is a young driver fee for drivers under the age of 25. Be sure to check with your car hire company prior to you booking.
- International Driving Permit: If your driving licence is issued in European Union you do not need any additional papers such as International Driving Permit. To be on the safe side check with your car hire provider before the rental.
- Additional papers: ID (passport), voucher, proof of insurance and valid credit card with sufficient funds to cover your excess.
- Additional requirements: A warning triangle and a reflective vest are mandatory equipment.
- Children in the car: Children under the age of 12 must be sated in an appropriate child seat and are not allowed to sit in the front seat. To avoid the inconvenience of travelling with your own child seat you can book it with your car hire provider.
- Driving side of the road: Right
- Lights: Dipped car lights are recommended during day. At night the use of car lights is mandatory.
- General speed limits: 80 mph (130 km/h) on motorways (70 mph (110 km/h) in wet weather and on urban freeways), 55 mph (90 km/h) on other roads outside residential areas, 30 mph (50 km/h) in residential areas.
What to see in Bergamo
Our favourite spots
City Gates and Wall
The city of Bergamo is surrounded by more than four kilometres of walls build by the Venetians in the 16th century. This long stone structure encircles the old town – Citta Alta. The wall is magnificent – its high reaches fifty meters in some places. There are four gates – each more beautiful than the last.
Leave your hired car at the parking on the Parcheggio Piazza Libertá street.
Piazza Vecchia is a square in the heart of the old town and represents a core of Citta Alta. It is built exactly where the Roman forum was. It features the city hall – Palazzo della Ragione - and a beautiful assembly of patrician houses.
Leave your hired car at Parcheggio Piazza Libertá about 10 minutes' walk from the Piazza.
Cathedral of Sant'Alessandro
The Cathedral was built in 1459 with neo-classical façade and dome added in 1889. It is dedicated to Saint Alexander of Bergamo who is the city’s patron saint and a seat of the Bishop of Bergamo. In its close proximity stands the octagonal baptistery dating back to 1340.
Park your hired car at the Parcheggio Central Parking which is about 20 minutes' walk from the Cathedral.
Art Gallery of the Accademia Carrara
Accademia Carrara is an art gallery and an academy of fine arts. The museum is in a possession of a large collection of painting from 15th to the 19th century. Besides painting the museum exhibits drawing, prints as well as sculptures and collections of porcelain and furniture.
Park your hired car at Parcheggio Central Parking nearby.
Hotels in Bergamo
Hotel Piazza Vecchia
This charming hotel is situated in the 14th-century townhouse on the main street of Bergamo’s Città Alta district, near the Cathedral and the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore.
Nuovo Ostello di Bergamo
Ostello di Bergamo offers its guest a hotel comfort at the price of a hostel. You can choose between private rooms and dorms with a maximum of 6 beds.
L'Angolo del Poeta
This Bed and Breakfast is situated in a quiet location in the heat of the city in the old 15th century building. It was restored in the style typical of the 15th century building.
B&B Hotel Bergamo
Located just 650 m form the train station this hotel offers free Wi-Fi and features rooms with satellite flat screen TV, air-conditioning and private bathroom with shower and hairdryer.
Drive your rental car around Bergamo
While Bergamo will keep you busy for many days it would be a shame if you didn’t take the chance and explore the rest of the beautiful Lombardy. With a car hire in Bergamo you can easily plan daily trips to the nearby attractions and sights.
Take a day to drive with your hired car to and explore the splendid mediaeval town of Verona. Verona has inspired Shakespeare to set the Romeo and Juliet story there. Take a look at so-called Juliet’s House and roman Amphitheatre.
While in Bergamo, why not drive to Venice. This beautiful city doesn’t even need an introduction. Everybody’s heard of the picturesque canals, gondolas and exotic architecture. Take a romantic day trip to this fairy-tale city.
Where to eat, drink and party in Bergamo
Da Vittorio is one of the best restaurants in Italy thanks to the talented chef Enrico Cerea. It is located in a country house 9 km east of town.
La Tana is set in a beautiful house which features interior of exposed brick and colourful artwork. You can either have your lunch in side on out in the charming small front terrace.
Vineria Cozzi offers menus that change each season but it is most famous for its selection of wines. Once a wine dealership it offers more than 300 different wines.
Noi offers seasonal menus and features beautifully prepared dishes. It is set just a short walk away from the Accademia Carrara.
Major events and festivals in Bergamo
Bergamo with its rich history, art and music is an Italian city of festivals. Bergamo’s festivals are remarkable in their diversity. From numerous music festival through the whole year to art, literature, crafts festivals as well as a marathon that takes place each September and brings runners from the whole world to compete on this picturesque route.
This outdoors summer festival is held every year in the city centre, upper city and neighbourhoods. Events such as music performances, sports, activities for kids, dances and much more are held in the city parks.
This unique festival combines cinema and culinary art. Most famous foods and wines made in Bergamo blended with the best films about food from all over the world. Attend the screening of the film and then taste delicious local products.
Festival Danza Estate is a performing arts event dedicated to contemporary dance. It hosts thirteen unmissable performances as well as numerous side events held at different locations in the city.
Bergamo Science Fair is a prestigious international event. Conferences, round tables, labs and other events are attended by Nobel prizes.