So based on that, you'd think you would be flying into Milan, wouldn't you? But, you'd be wrong!
BGY is the code for Bergamo Airport, located 60 kms (36 miles) northeast of Milan.
Where we are right now.
But it turns out that we think we are happier here in Bergamo than we would have been in Milan. And we're thinking now that we may not even visit Milan. There is too much to see and do right here.
We're actually staying in the town of Ponteranica, just north of Bergamo. But Ponteranica is walking distance to Bergamo, so that's just what we did yesterday.
First on the agenda was to get an Italian sim card for our new Samsung phone. I did some research, and it turns out that the major cellular carrier TIM has a special program for tourists. It's called TIM for visitors. You fill out the application online, and pay €30 ($43.50 CAD, $33 USD) with your credit card, also online. Then, they email you a special code that you bring with you to any TIM store to pick up your sim card.
For the €30, you get 4 GB of data, and 100 minutes of calling including calls to your home country! Yep, we can even call Canada, all included. Great deal for tourists.
Our host Fernando was heading that way, so he offered to drive us to the TIM store which was on the way to Bergamo. Also, it was handy to have him there in case there were any communication problems.
The guys in the store did have to do some research because I don't think they had ever heard of this program. I'm sure that if we had gone to a store in a major tourist center, it would have been easier. But, they got it all sorted out, and we were on our way...fully connected!
We thanked Fernando for helping out, and we walked from there into the old walled city of Bergamo.
(Don't forget, you can click on any photo to make it full screen!)
The stone bridge leading to Garibaldi Gate was built in 1780.
The old city of Bergamo dates back to before the year 1100. And many of the buildings and structures in the old city were originally built between 1100 and 1600. There is a lot of history here! Around the old walled city, the new modern city of Bergamo (pop 110,000) has grown. Yesterday, we spent the entire afternoon walking the old city.
Looking back towards where we started.
And this is where we are headed...up to the old city of Bergamo.
There are two levels to the old city. Both can be reached via fenicular railroad. The first from the modern city to the old city, and the second from the old city to the castle. But we needed some exercise, so we walked both levels.
Yep, there are some old looking buildings up here.
The Bergamo Citadel, built in the mid 14th century.
Part of another one of the four original entrance gates.
Looking up towards the castle (near where the construction crane is).
The park where we had our lunch.
The wall was built in the 1600's.
The wall around the city is massive. Because of it's height, the walled city of Bergamo was never conquered.
Another old building.
We loved exploring the old alleyways.
The back of the Basilica.
We headed for the central square. It was beautiful Saturday afternoon, so there were quite a few people about. Funny, but we were still able to find a lot of the old town quite empty as in the photo above. Maybe everybody is in the restaurants...
This was a busy place!
And we have to admit, it looked really good!
This tower was built in the 1100's!
The Basilica is amazing.
They think it was built in the 1100's, but excavation work under one of the floors indicated that parts of it have been there since the 8th century. It's hard to comprehend, isn't it?
Oh, and it's all free...just as churches should be.
The wooden confessional was carved in 1704.
The interior of the Basilica
There's a kind of an odd hanging crucifix thing.
Exterior of the Basilica.
The Basilica sits right next door the to much newer Cathedral. It's not nearly as interesting, so I won't include any photos here.
View from a balcony.
Ruth, enjoying another view.
We hiked up to the castle, which in my mind wasn't really a castle. But, it does offer some fantastic views and was worth the effort.
Looking back at the old city on the hill.
Scenery along the way.
View looking back towards Ponteranica.
The peak just to the left of center is the one we climbed on Friday!
It was another 4 kms (2.4 miles) to walk back to the apartment, but at least it was downhill all the way! I didn't keep track of how much we walked in total, but I'd guess it was around 10 kms (6.2 miles).
So before this trip, we had never even heard of the city of Bergamo. It's amazing, isn't it? So glad that we ended up here. We were supposed to leave here Monday morning, but I think we've already decided to stay until Tuesday!
Since we are near Milan, the fashion capital of the world, we thought we had better offer you a related deal from Amazon...but be quick...there's only one left in stock!!
There's a similar one on sale in Canada...includes free shipping!