in the middle
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Bergamo is a gorgeous city in the Italian region of Lombardy, not too far from Milan or the Italian Lakes, so you could consider taking a tour of the area if you arrange car hire after your flight lands in Bergamo. Divided into old and new, the two sides of Bergamo are literally separated by ancient walls, with the splendour of its medieval hilltop area standing distinct from the lowland sprawl which is more modern if a little less fantastical in its layout.
Take heed of the laid-back Italian way of life when you're in Bergamo and slowly take in the sights with plenty of stops for a coffee here, a beer with a view there. Staying in a hotel in the new town will certainly be cheaper, but the old town is much more atmospheric.
It's far cheaper to catch a direct flight to Bergamo, so avoid indirect flights! You should expect your Bergamo flight to take a little over two hours with all flights landing at Orio al Serio International Airport, sometimes called Milan Bergamo Airport by low-cost carriers. Rest assured it's right outside the city and not all that close to Milan! You can catch a cheap flight to Bergamo from East Midlands, Belfast, Bristol, Manchester, Liverpool, London Stansted and Edinburgh so you won't have far to go in the UK before you can hop on your cheap Bergamo flight.
Once you land you will find yourself about 10 miles outside the city centre. For your onward travel you can choose between the local bus, which offers a cheap if slightly erratic service, and taxis which are fairly steep in this part of the world. Why not look for people you can share the cost with on your flight to Bergamo! You can of course also get a cheap car hire deal to pick up on arrival, which is not really necessary if you're confining your holiday to the city itself, but a great idea if you want to head out and about in Lombardy.
Most of Bergamo's Old Town and New Town can be seen on foot, it's just going between the two that is generally the problem. There is a steep hill up from the new parts of the city to the old part and whilst it's a nice challenge and very rewarding to walk, there is an alternative. The funicular cable car will zip you between the two areas in next to no time, providing pretty views along the way as well.
For getting around the New Town there are also a variety of buses, as this area sprawls quite far and you might find that your cheap hotel is a little way out of the action. These are cheap and frequent although services are not renowned for sticking to their timetable!
The heart of Bergamo is the Old Town's Piazza Vecchia which showcases the blend of medieval and Renaissance influences which are rife throughout the city. Taking the brand new glass lift to the top of the Campanone is certainly the best way to take in the view from the elevated Old Town but it's probably not for the faint of heart! The Piazza Vecchia leads the eye down to the Palazzo della Ragione and another important attraction close by is the Rocca, which is a good place to learn a little more about the city's past whilst the Archaeology Museum goes back even further, with artefacts to enlighten and dazzle.
Other attractions include the magnificent Orto botanico Lorenzo Rota, that's the botanical gardens to you and me, the church of Santa Maria Maggiore, the Colleoni Chapel and the Accademia Carrara where you will find an impressive selection of Renaissance and Baroque paintings. If modern art is more your thing then you will want to head to the GAMeC instead.
For more try out our Bergamo guide.