English information about Bergamo

English information about Bergamo

1. Welcome to Bergamo.
2. General Information for foreigners in Bergamo:
2.1. Immigration Office – State Police (Questura)
2.2. First Aid
2.3. Pharmacies
2.4. University of Bergamo
2.5. Italian Language Course
2.6. Churches and religious communities
2.7. National Holidays in Italy
2.8. Useful information:
a) Important telephone numbers
b) City tickets
c) Internet
d) Post Offices
e) Parking places
f) Shopping

3. Tourist Information
3.1. About Bergamo
3.2. How to reach Bergamo
a) Airport
b) Buses
c) Taxi
d) Trains
3.3. Additional activities
a) Cinema, theatre, museums, concerts
b) Sport centre
3.4. International NIGHTs and EVENTs in Bergamo

1. Dear international guests and inhabitants!
We would like to welcome all of you to Bergamo, we wish you a pleasant stay and a lot of enjoyment in our city.
Bergamo is a city located in the north part of Italy, in Lombardy, about 40 kilometres northeast of Milan. The city is divided into two parts: upper and lower town. The upper town (Città Alta) is famous for its venetian style, narrow, paved streets and splendid landscapes that one can admire when walking along the venetian walls that surround Bergamo Alta. On the other hand, the lower town (Città Bassa) is a modern part of Bergamo where the general lifestyle is quicker and more frenetic, unlike the peaceful and joyful life in Città Alta.  There are about 117 000 citizens, not only Italians, but also people from all over the world who have made themselves at home here and do not feel like foreigners any more. They study, work and live in Bergamo and its province, increasing our culture and influencing the development of our city.  Bergamo is now a motherland for many foreigners for whom Bergamo has become their real home.
It is not important if your reason for staying here is touristic, connected with your work career, university or other. As a guest or an inhabitant of our city, you can face some difficulties that may cause you problems in finding yourself in structures that are unfamiliar to you. By trying to help you solve these problems, we have created this site which provides you with useful and practical information.
If you need any further information, please do not hesitate to contact us.

2. General information for foreigners in Bergamo:

2.1. Immigration Office – State Police (Questura)

Via Noli n.26
24100 Bergamo
telephone:  035276111
fax: 035276777
email: urp.bg@poliziadistato.it
website: http://questure.poliziadistato.it/Bergamo

Immigration Office
Via Noli n.26
24100 (BERGAMO – BG)
telefono: 035276111
fax: 035276702
email: immigrazione.bg@poliziadistato.it
Information for foreigners: http://www.poliziadistato.it/pds/cittadino/stranieri/stranier.htm
Opening hours: from Monday to Friday: 8:30-13:30 and 14:30-16:30

If your stay in Bergamo will last longer than 3 months, and if you do not have EU passport then you are obliged to apply for legal stay in Bergamo within the first 8 days of you being in the city. The document which allows you to stay in Italy is called a Permesso di Soggiorno. The Questura (State Police) is an institution issuing it. You may purchase it by going to a Post Office and sending off an application form (which you will be given in the Post Office). Thereafter, you will be contacted and given an appointment (usually you are called), for which you are obliged to go  personally to and leave all the necessary documentation:

– Form of request (application form)
– passport or other document allowing you to enter the country, if necessary
– a photocopy of the same document
– 4 photos ( ID card format)
– amount that is to be paid (at least 14,62€)
– all other documents necessary for receiving the Permesso di Soggiorno

2.2. First Aid

Every city in Italy has a different emergency number. In Bergamo the First aid number is 118.
EU members that possess a European Health Insurance Card are entitled to use the Italian National Health Service.
Non-EU citizens staying in Italy will be charged for the service provided and will have to pay the amount of 149,77 € for the Italian National Health Service. This can be done in any post office in Bergamo.
Azienda Ospedaliera Ospedali Riuniti di Bergamo
via Largo Barozzi 1
24128 Bergamo (BG), Italy
telehpone:   +39 035 269 255

Local Health Service for the Province of Bergamo:
A.S.L. Azienda Sanitaria Locale della Provincia di Bergamo
via Borgo Canale 130
Opening hours: Monday to Friday: 8:30 am to 13pm
Monday to Thursday: 14 pm to 16pm

2.3. Pharmacies:

Every pharmacy in Bergamo has its own working calendar so that one of them can remain open at night. Opening timetables are displayed in front of every pharmacy. To check information online visit www.asl.bergamo.itHYPERLINK “http://www.asl.bergamo.it/” , clicking on farmacie e farmaci and after orari.

2.4. University of Bergamo

Università degli studi di Bergamo
Ufficio Affari Internazionali (International Office)
Via S. Bernardino 72
24127 Bergamo

e-mail: relint@unibg.it
website: http://www.unibg.it/struttura/struttura.asp?cerca=intro_studioestero

AEGEE (Association des Etats Generaux des Etudiants de l’Europe) Bergamo: (Non-profit students organization responsible for international students abroad).


2.5. Italian language Course:

The university of Bergamo offers an Italian language course for foreigners during the academic year. The course is divided into 5 levels of difficulty and includes 4 hours a week (2 hours a day twice a week). Moreover, it is possible to attend business language and written language courses. Those two courses comprise 2 hours of classes a week.

For further information: at the bottom of the page there is all the essential information in English

2.6. Churches and religious communities:

Unfortunately there are no masses in foreign languages in Bergamo. However  you can find some in Latin and if you cannot communicate in Italian it is possible to use the French language.

2.7. National Holidays in Italy:

1st November – All Saints Day
8th December – Immaculate Conception
6th January – Epiphany
25th April – Liberation Day
1st May – Labour Day
2nd June – Republic Day

If any of the mentioned days falls on a Sunday, wages are paid double.

2.8. General information

a) Important telephone numbers:

Prefix number to Italy: 0039
Prefix number to the city: 035

Police: 112
State Police: 113
Children’s emergency: 114
Fire brigade:115
Ambulance: 116
Finance Police: 117
Red Cross: 118

b) City Tickets: It is not possible to buy tickets on the buses! There are automatic machines allowing to purchase them, situated in the train station, at some of the bus stops and close to the funicular. You can also buy them in news-stands or ticket offices, close to all main services. A ticket from the airport to the city centre costs 2€ and is valid for 90 minutes, whereas a ticket around the city costs 1,20€ and is valid for 75 minutes. A carnet of 10 tickets costs 10,50€.

c) Internet: In Italy wireless is paid even in public places like the airport, moreover access to the internet is difficult. There aren’t many places where you can connect your laptop to wireless. The best thing to do it to go to an internet Point to use it. In some hotels and B&Bs it is available for guests.

d) Post offices:  Post Offices are open from Monday to Friday 8:30 – 14pm, Saturdays: 8:30 – 12:30. For further information please visit: www.posteitaliane.it.
Stamps and postcards can be bought in shops called Tabacceria. Central Post Offices stay open from Monday to Friday: 8:30 a.m till 7 p.m. and on Saturdays: 8:30am – 12:30pm.

e) Parking places:
There are three main city car-parks in Bergamo. The fee for parking your car is about 1,50€ for an hour.  There are also parking zones on the street in the spaces marked with white, yellow or blue lines. Places with white lines are always free, blue ones are free only in the evenings and on festive days, during the weekdays you are usually expected to pay from 9 am till 7pm and yellow lines are for permit holders only, they are private, you are not allowed to park in them. http://parcheggi.informadove.it/locator.asp

f) Shopping:

During the week most of the shops are closed for a lunch break for about 2 hours, so it’s advisable not to go shopping after 12 p.m.
Another important piece of information is that nearly all the supermarkets are closed on Sundays in Bergamo. 24H shops do not exist here. The best way to purchase food in this instance is to go shopping in a shopping centre outside the city like the one in front of Orio al Serio airport (5 km from Bergamo), which closes at 21 pm on Sundays.

3. Touristic information:

3.1. About Bergamo:

Bergamo is a city which originated on a hill, which today is the old part of the town (città alta-upper town) surrounded by XVI century Venetian walls of 5 km. Contemporary Bergamo has been developing  down the hill, on the lowland.

The first inhabitants were Celts, Goths, Romans and Longobards. In the city there are also some parts remaining from the medieval period. However, the most essential role for the development of the city were the four centuries of Venetian command.

In the heart of Upper Bergamo, Citta Alta, there is Piazza Vecchia (Old Square), which is surrounded by Palazzo della Ragione (town hall), Palazzo del Comune (old town hall) with its tower and medieval clock. We can also see palazzo del Podesta (the base of Venetian governor) and the neoclassical Biblioteca Civica Angelo Mai (The Civil Library of Angelo Mai).

Going through The Old Square we can reach Cathedral Square. Here we can find a splendid Cathedral Santa Maria Maggiore with its renaissance pearl Colleoni’s Chapel and a famous font.

Other precious monuments of Bergamo include a large number of churches and monasteries such as: San Agostino or San Alessandro. It is also worth going to Academia Carrara, where one can admire one of the biggest collections of Italian paintings.
The central point of the lower part of the city is Vittorio Veneto Square, which was extended in the period of the Fascism command,  in the neoclassical style.

So called borghi, old city districts, are also a characteristic of Bergamo. In those districts trade and crafts were developing. The modern city centre is divided by the walking boulevard called the Sentierone (Main Route).

Another attractive place to see is a vantage point from San Vigilio Fortress. It is reached by where by using the funicular from Colle Aperto funicular Station.

3.2. How to reach BG

a) Airport: The best way to get to Bergamo is to fly directly to the local airport ORIO AL SERIO  www.orioaeroporto.it, which is about 5 km from the city centre.

b) Bus: to get from the airport to the city centre you can take a Shuttle Bus Service (buses 1, 1A, 1C and direct Airport – Bergamo station service) which is available every 15 minutes. You have to buy a ticket for Zona 3 which costs 2€. It takes about 15-20 minutes to get to the city centre.

c) Taxi: In front of the airport there is also a taxi service available. It costs approximately 15-25€ to get to the city centre of Bergamo from the airport.
Radio TAXI:  035/4519090

d) Trains: It is advisable to travel by train for longer distances, which are cheaper than busses.
Timetables: http://www.ferroviedellostato.it/ on the website there is a possibility change to English. It is also important to mention that before getting onto the train you are obliged to stamp the ticket. If you do not do it, the ticket is not valid and you may have to pay a penalty.

3.3.Additional activities
a)cinema, theatre, museums, concerts: tickets cost about 7.5€  ( reductions on Wednesdays). Concerts Theatres tickets depend on the show and performing actors.
For more  information: http://www.mymovies.it/cinema/bergamo/.

b) Sport centres:
BergamoSport spa
Piazzale L.Goisis 6
email.: info@bergamosportspa.it
website: http://www.bergamosportspa.it/index.html


Bergamo is famous for hosting quite a big number of international students. They organize some meeting events. Usually they have a meeting point on fixed week day. Places they choose for meetings are worth visiting and usually the bar prices are suitable for students. The most famous places are Velvet (Tuesdays) Ribeca Social bar (Thursdays) and Bacaro (Wednesdays) in the academic year.

During the summer time there are international events in the park (outdoor parties) Parco della Trucca, 135, starting from 8:30 pm till 1:30am. For more information go to the AEGEE BERGAMO website: http://aegee.altervista.org/aegeebergamo/

Bergamo, Italy, a Medieval Town of Art and Architecture Near Milan


Published: December 17, 2010

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Dave Yoder for The New York Times

The Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore is a 12th-century church with a stunningly ornate interior.

Accompanied by my sister, Aditi, I stood in the middle of what could have been just another enchanting, tranquil Italian piazza. But underneath the quietude, we were surrounded both by centuries of history and a thriving modern cultural life.

Bergamo (pronounced BARE-gah-mo), less than an hour by car or train northeast of Milan, is at the foothills of the Orobie Alps, popular with Italian skiers. But those who simply pass through risk missing a world-class mix of diverse architecture, impressive art collections (often tucked away in unlikely spots) and special gastronomy.

A great place to start an exploration of Bergamo is Piazza Vecchia, the heart and centre of Città Alta, the medieval part of the city, which sits on a hill above the rest of the town. For nearly 400 years, starting in the early 15th century, Bergamo was part of the Republic of Venice; it was the Venetians who built the stone walls around Città Alta. And indeed, the areas around the square look distinctly medieval, with narrow and winding cobblestone streets.

But the 1400s were just the beginning in Città Alta. The centuries before and after are all around you in Bergamo. This historical richness came alive for us when Guja Ajolfi, curator of Palazzo Moroni, a museum housed in a 17th-century palace, took us on a walking tour.

We started at the Palazzo della Ragione, a Romanesque structure that dates from the 12th century; it is said to be the oldest existing town hall in northern Italy, though it ceased operating as one in the 17th century. We then saw Romanesque fused with Gothic at the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, a 12th-century church with a stunningly ornate interior.

Following a leisurely lunch, we wandered to Palazzo Terzi, one of the city’s several small palaces dating back to the 17th and 18th centuries. The palace is perched gracefully on the side of a hill overlooking the surrounding plains. When the writer Hermann Hesse visited Bergamo in 1913, he called the palazzo and the square that surrounds it “the most beautiful corner of Italy.” It hasn’t lost any of its loveliness in the years since.

A funicular connects the upper and lower towns, but during our three-day trip, we opted for walking routes, down wide cobblestone steps and curving roads lush with overhanging ivy, that join them. Città Bassa, the city’s lower section, the core of which was designed in the early 20th century, has a more spacious, modern feel. But whichever part of town you are in, the art, much of it housed in small museums, mansions and churches, is exceptional.

“People come to medieval towns like Bergamo because they are beautiful, but there are so many of these throughout Italy,” Ms. Ajolfi told us. “Bergamo is different than many because it’s essentially an open-air museum with important artworks everywhere.” In fact, Bergamo has one of the more under-the-radar collections of Renaissance and Baroque art in the country. Ms. Ajolfi showed us several examples within steps of Piazza Vecchia, including Baroque stuccos and Florentine and Flemish tapestries at Santa Maria Maggiore.

But some of the city’s best art can be found at the Palazzo della Ragione, in the Città Alta, which is showing a rotation from the collection of the Accademia Carrara — nearly 2,000 works from masters like Botticelli, Raphael and Bellini — as that gallery undergoes a renovation, due to be completed next year.

You’ll also find two prominent artists with local connections: Giovanni Battista Moroni, a late-Renaissance painter who was born in a nearby village and worked in Bergamo for most of his life, and Lorenzo Lotto, a Venetian painter from the early Renaissance who resided here for more than a decade.

I saw my first Lotto by chance. One evening, Aditi and I went to drinks with Rebecca Stasko, a resident who helps visitors organize trips through her company, A Cup of Local Sugar. We were walking through Città Bassa when she stopped suddenly in front of the Chiesa di Santo Spirito and pulled us inside. There, hanging discreetly on a wall was one of his most famous paintings, “Madonna With Child and Saints,” circa 1521.

By the time we reached our destination, I Giardini, a popular happy hour bar that was packed with locals, I was still thinking about how unusual it was that such a well-regarded piece of art was so quietly tucked away. Over glasses of locally produced red Valcalepio wine, Ms. Stasko explained that the painting’s location was just one example of the understatement that characterizes the city. “There might not be very famous must-see sights here, but the ones that are known aren’t always exhibited in a grand way,” she said. “They, like much of what the city offers, are beneath the surface.”

While travellers might have to seek out some of the city’s artistic treasures, they can’t miss the imposing Teatro Donizetti in Città Bassa, an opera house that was built in the early 18th century and later dedicated to the composer Gaetano Donizetti, born in Bergamo. The frescoed ceilings in the auditorium and statues of composers adorning the entryway are typical of a 19th-century Italian opera house; residents say that the quality of the performances it hosts match their gilded surroundings.

“The town feels this responsibility to uphold Donizetti’s name as a great composer,” said Gian Paolo Pasini, who is married to Ms. Stasko and is a regular operagoer in houses throughout the country, “so the productions at the theatre are as high calibre as some of the more famous opera houses.”

Of course, for those with more athletic interests, drama of another sort is available outside town. The two valleys near Bergamo, the Seriana and Brembana, have more than 100 miles of skiing and hiking, and there are altitudes of more than 9,000 feet. After an endurance-testing uphill hike in the Seriana Valley, Aditi and I partook of yet another of the area’s draws: its hearty cuisine. Prominent are pork products like salami and Alpine cheeses like taleggio, and polenta, both sweet and savoury. The savoury version, paired with melted taleggio and large, sautéed mountain-grown porcini mushrooms, was part of our post-hike meal at the popular restaurant at the Hotel Milano, in the Orobie Alps town of Bratto.

And, of course, there are pastas: ravioli-like casoncelli, stuffed with ground beef, breadcrumbs and cookies and cheese, served in a sauce of browned butter, sage and bacon pieces; and pizzoccheri, a buckwheat pasta, mixed with winter greens, melted fontina cheese, Parmesan, sage and potatoes.

If those names are unfamiliar, it’s because when it comes to cuisine here, tradition reigns.

“In many parts of Italy, it’s the tourists who are a restaurant’s main support,” explained Roberto Iannotta, owner of Hotel Milano. “In the Bergamo region, we don’t get as many visitors, so it’s the locals who support us, and they expect the most traditional recipes.”

Aditi and I spent more than two hours tasting dishes prepared by Maria Tomasoni, Mr. Iannotta’s 81-year-old mother, who runs the kitchen. The ending to our meal was a torta di mele, an apple cake that is another local favourite. As we ate the sweet, buttery confection and took in the mountain views around us, Bergamo’s many pleasures melded into one.

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