Bergamo and its Surroundings
Bergamo, at the foot of the Orobie Alps enclosed between Brembana and Seriana Valleys and in the high plains of Lombardy, is a splendid medieval town with about 130,000 inhabitants who are residents in a territory of about 40 square kilometers.
Bergamo arises in the heart of Lombardy and is bordered exclusively by other cities of Lombardy: Sondrio to the north, Brescia to the east, Cremona and Lodi to the south and Milan, Monza-Brianza and Lecco to the west.
At the first impression one is struck by the urbanite particulars of the city. The high part is thus named Città Alta, developed on a hill and the true artistic and cultural heart of Bergamo, going back to Roman times. It was a strategic refuge for defence from invaders, protected by the famous Venetian Walls that define its perimeter. The low part represents the more contemporary side of the city with modern buildings and the seat of the Municipality, the Province, the Prefecture and the principle city and national institutions.
Starting from the Railway Station in Lower Bergamo, the true starting point of the city, you go up Via Papa Giovanni XXIII, the main road of Bergamo that leads to Città Alta. You reach Largo Porta Nuova, with Piazza Matteotti, seat of the Municipality, which opens on one side toward Via XX Settembre, full of shops closed in by antique buildings. On the other side it opens to the famous "Sentierone", a tree-lined boulevard in the heart of the city, sided by porticos and paved in stone, realized by merchants long ago in 1620. In the tradition of the merchants, every year on the Sentierone street markets of all kinds are opened, famous for the stalls of Santa Lucia in the heart of Christmas time.
Continuing along Viale Papa Giovanni XXIII you arrive at Piazza della Repubblica where Hotel Excelsior San Marco is located, the oldest and most prestigious Hotel in Bergamo, in an envious position between Città Bassa and Città Alta.
Only 300 meters from the hotel is the first funicular that connects the plains to the hill, which is still used today by many tourists. The second funicular connects the center of Città Alta, near the Sant'Alessando door to the top of the San Vigilio hill.