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    Car hire in Bergamo - between the mountains and the sea

    Bella Italia is not just Rome with its glorious past, sun-kissed Sicily or magical Tuscany. If pasta, Venice or Cinque Terre are the first things that spring to mind at the mention of Italy, keep reading as Italy is hiding even more gems of a completely different nature. Alongside its sunny destinations, Italy is a great place to go mountain trekking or skiing and there are hardly any better places for such activities than Bergamo. The town is characterised by a double identity. Today’s Bergamo consists of the Upper Town (Cittá Alta) and the Lower Town (Cittá Bassa), connected by a funicular service. The dichotomy between the two is most obvious in their appearance. While the Upper Town is perched on a hilltop and is made of an intricate network of winding medieval alleys, the Lower Town is more modern,flat and developed.

    See and do more in northern Italy with an affordable car hire in Bergamo. Guarded by ancient walls and with settlements scattered across two hills, Bergamo is an echo of old times. Defined by its historic appearance, this picture-perfect town could easily be a backdrop to a fairytale with you being the main character in the story. Take your travels around northern Italy to the next level with our guide to Bergamo.

    Opt for Auto Europe's services for maximum comfort and flexibility on your travels. Call our reservation specialists on +353 768 887 790 or book a rental through our user-friendly booking engine.

    How is the traffic in Bergamo?

    Driving a car in Cittá Bassa should be carefree and fairly easy. The streets are well signposted so navigating them should not be a problem. However, Cittá Alta, due to its structure and narrow cobbled streets, is not suitable for driving a vehicle. This part of Bergamo is best explored on foot. Reach it comfortably with the funicular and have a stroll around the lovely old town.

    Where can I park my car hire in Bergamo?

    There are several options for parking your car hire in Bergamo. Check this website to see where you can park for free and where it is necessary to pay for parking in Bergamo. The information is offered only in Italian. Pay attention to the on-street parking bays as some are reserved for locals with a special permit. If you are staying longer in Bergamo, you could also apply for one.

    Bergamo Airport

    Located only about 27 miles from Milan’s airports, Linate and Malpensa, the airport in Bergamo serves numerous low-cost airlines which offer regular and chartered flights to northern Italy. Ryanair offers direct flights from Dublin to Bergamo on a daily basis. We also work with suppliers at the airport so that you can comfortably pick up your car rental in Bergamo right upon landing.

    Bergamo Orio al Serio Airport (BGY)
    Official website: Bergamo Airport
    Phone number: +39 (0) 35 326 323
    Email address: operativo@sacbo.it

    What to do in Bergamo

    Bergamo may be one of the most low-key Italian towns and, as such, it is still not affected with mass tourism. Packed with arts, culture and history, the town is ideal for a relaxed sightseeing holiday. Our favourite sites in Bergamo are:

    • Cittá Alta: Bergamo's Upper City is a mixture of medieval and Renaissance architecture, towering above Cittá Bassa. Take some time to wander around this perplexing maze of narrow streets and soak up the atmosphere. The old funicular will take you up to the hill. Make Rocca, an old fortress, your starting point. The heart of the old town is Piazza Vecchia, a must-visit square where you will feel the real heartbeat of Bergamo. Piazza Vecchia reminds vividly of Rome’s Capitol Square and its symmetry is highly appreciated by architects and connoisseurs. Roam Cittá Alta and pay a visit to old Renaissance basilicas hiding immense historic treasures. Visit one of the many art galleries and artisan shops. If you like Renaissance art, there is one single building that houses masterpieces of the most famous Renaissance painters; Raphael, Botticelli and Titian, to name a few. This is, of course, the Accademia Carrara. You could also visit the birth house of the bel canto opera composer, Gaetano Donizetti. After sightseeing, simply relax in a Gelateria or a quaint café where locals usually gather over a cup of Italian espresso. We also recommend exploring historic boroughs such as Santa Caterina with its fantastic shops, Piazza Pontida in the Lower Town, and Borgo Canale with wonderful panoramic views.

    • Capella Colleoni: Located next to Pizza Vecchia in the Upper Town, this wonderful church, the artwork of a local artist, stands out among other buildings with its unique façade, decorated with red, white and grey marble rhomboids. The interior is equally impressive and there is also a legend saying that everyone who touches the gate of the chapel, more precisely, the coat of arms, at midnight will be touched by a stroke of luck!

    • Urgnano Castle: Seven hundred years old and still charming, Urgnano Castle mesmerizes with its lovely gardens, artistic frescoed halls and wonderfully embellished rooms. Enjoy some peace and quiet, far from the hustle and bustle of the city, in the roof garden of the castle.

    • St. Vigilio Castle: For sweeping views over Bergamo be sure to head to St. Vigilio Castle located on the hilltop overlooking the Upper Town. If you are feeling adventurous, book a private guided tour and check out the secret passage which connects the castle with the San Marco Fortress.

    • Santa Maria Maggiore: The impressively painted ceiling of the Basilica of St. Mary Major is a true gem that you can see south of the Piazza Vecchia. The sole scene of the tall rising pillars holding the ornate golden dome is simply breathtaking. Romanesque on the outside, exquisitely embellished and baroque on the inside, the Santa Maria Maggiore church was built between the 12th and 14th century. One peculiarity about Santa Maria Maggiore is the main entrance. It does not exist! There are, however, side entrances to this opulent church adorned with marbles and gold, constructed with much love to detail.

    Best day trips with my car rental in Bergamo

    Rent a car in Bergamo and you will be able to explore most of Italy at your leisure. With so many stunning places to choose from, you will be truly spoilt for choice. Buckle up and hit the road with Auto Europe!

    Val Seriana

    One of the best qualities of Bergamo, in addition to its historic character, is the fascinating countryside and its stunning diversity. A great example is Val Seriana, just outside the town, a patchwork of various landscapes, forests, rivers and streams, surrounded by woodlands and mountains. Val Seriana lends itself to a visit year-round; in winter, it is a famous ski resort, while in the summer you can enjoy hiking and swimming in the river.

    Lake Como

    Lake Como is a popular getaway destination either for a day, weekend or longer. The best time to visit is the summer, although the town of Como, situated between Italy and Switzerland, tends to be packed with tourists. Typically, crowds will lessen after the peak summer season. You may wonder at the fact that a great portion of silk production in Europe comes from here! If you opt for a day trip to Lake Como, be sure to include the picturesque village of Bellagio in your itinerary. The old stone village is a wonderful place with dozens of restaurants, shops and a promenade at the lake shore.

    Milan

    A paradise for shopaholics and fashionistas, the elegant Italian city of Milan is a stone’s throw away from Bergamo. We recommend spending more days in Milan, but, if need be, try to squeeze in several must-see attractions. Start from the iconic Piazza del Duomo, the city’s landmark in Gothic style. Duomo’s Terraces should be the next place on your list as they count over 130 towers and more than two thousand marble statues. Needless to say, the view from the top is simply unbeatable!

    The next stop is Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, an opulent shopping mall with high-calibre shops. This is a fantastic place to visit and admire its architecture alongside its interior even if you are not planning on doing any shopping. The third highlight is La Scala Opera. Ideally, you will have opera tickets for one of the shows. If you don’t, you can still book a guided tour to admire the flashy interior of the building.

    Geographic Information & History

    Bergamo is situated in northern Italy. Not only does it enjoy a distinctive character due to its two completely different parts, but it also has a superb position, close both to the Mediterranean Sea and the Alps. Bergamo’s interesting location makes it a favourite destination for ski holidays, with popular Venice or Genoa being only 2-3 hours away. Winters in Bergamo tend to be quite chilly with snow, while summers are mostly hot with average temperatures around 27° Celsius. Once the summer is over, the town is less crowded and more pleasant for a nice, relaxed visit.

    A visit to Bergamo is a time travel at its best. Before Romans came to Bergamo in the 1st century BC, the settlement was inhabited by the Celts. Throughout the course of history, Bergamo was dominated by Romans, Lombards and Franks. After the fall of the Roman Empire, the ancient city walls remained almost intact. They are still a popular tourist attraction. A quintessential moment for Bergamo was in 1428 when it was incorporated into the state of Venice. The major influence of this union is still visible in the architecture of Bergamo, especially in churches and basilicas. There used to be differences between Cittá Bassa and Cittá Alta throughout history with  Cittá Alta being mostly preserved with its historic houses, buildings and palaces. The history of Bergamo was merged with Italian history in the 19th century following Austrian and Napoleon’s rule. In 1860 Bergamo officially became part of Italy.

    How to get around Bergamo

    Bergamo is served by city buses which connect not only the city with the airport, but also stop at some famous tourist attractions. There are also frequent train departures to neighbouring cities such as Milan or Brescia. The Lower and the Upper Town are connected by a funicular service. One funicular service runs between Cittá Alta and Cittá Bassa while the other one connects Cittá Alta with San Vigilio. If you are intending to use both bus and funicular services, it is recommended to buy a multiple-day ticket valid for both networks.

    Useful links

    Tourism Information