Beautiful, even in winter
If you are looking for a European tourist destination, consider the city of Bergamo and Lake Como in the Lombardy region of northern Italy. You can get classic Italian food, and wash it down with fine local wine. It is hardly undiscovered, but that shouldn’t stop you from going. Be sure to read the companion articles in this series that present Milan, small town Lombardy outside of its capital Milan, and the Lake Garda district.
Bergamo was founded by the Celts over two thousand years ago. This medieval city tucked behind ancient walls overlooks the Alps. It is divided into two sectors connected by cable cars; the older Upper Bergamo and the modern Lower Bergamo. Can you guess which Bergamo I prefer?
The large Romanesque Church of Santa Maria Maggiore was started in the Twelfth Century and finished centuries later. The church sits on the old city’s Piazza Vecchia. Bergamo was home to the composer Donizetti, buried in this church. If you like opera visit the Donizetti Museum. The Cathedral of San Vincenzo and Battistero are situated on Piazza Duomo, the heart of the medieval city. Their beautiful neighbor is the Fifteenth Century Renaissance Colleoni Chapel.
Lake Como, a glacial lake shaped like an upside down Y, is Italy’s third largest lake. The village of Varenna is home to Italy’s shortest river, the Fiumelatte and the magnificent Thirteenth Century Villa Monestero convent. Situated in a magnificent park half a mile long, it is now an international cultural and scientific center.
Bellagio lies at the center of Lake Como’s Y. It was a tourist center even in Roman times. Las Vegas has a hotel with the same name, but definitely not in the same league. Make sure to see the early Seventeenth Century Villa Serbelloni surrounded by acres of gardens. The villa is now an international conference center.
Tremezzo is a resort town highlighted by Villa Carlotta, built over fifty years starting towards the end of the Seventeenth Century. Its spectacular grounds include over 150 varieties of azelias and rhododendrons. While you can’t stay at Villa Carlotta, the Grand Hotel Tremezzo is quite classy.
Mountain cuisine is based on polenta, a type of corn bread. Other mountain specialties include free-range chickens, kid, and game. Our companion article I Love Touring Italy – Bergamo and Lake Como provides a sample menu and more information on local wines plus an in-depth examination of tourist attractions. The best Italian sparkling wine Franciacorta is made near Bergamo.
Levi Reiss has authored or co-authored ten books on computers and the Internet, but to be honest, he would rather just drink fine Italian or other wine, accompanied by the right foods. He teaches classes in computers at an Ontario French-language community college. Visit his website www.travelitalytravel.com devoted to Italian travel with an accent on fine Italian wine and food. Visit his central wine website www.theworldwidewine.com with weekly reviews of $10 wine and columns devoted to various aspects of wine including wine and food, humor, trivia, organic and kosher wine and lots more.Click to access the original, longer article on this Italian tourist location.
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