Bergamo: The Paradoxical City

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If Bologna is the red city, Bergamo is the green. Lesser frequented by tourists, it is a paradoxical city that is filled with touches of the greenery that surround it. Known for its food, it also goes down in my books as having among the most fashionably dressed in Italy.

Let me be frank: getting there was a nightmare. As one of the most expensive and lengthly day visits from Verona, getting on to the wrong train was the last thing I wanted to happen. But alas, after getting another 2 trains and loosing 3 hours, I set foot in the city.

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The city is divided into two parts: Città Alta, a historical village perched on the hills, forming a backdrop for the lower, modern part of the city (Città Bassa). In between the two the city walls, marked and protected by the lion (symbol) of Venice.

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A relatively short, steep walk leads you to the historic part of the city (with cars speeding past in the narrow roads). The key places of interest in close proximity; the gothic church is a stone’s throw from the university. With a cable car ride, you can reach San Vigilio, home to a castle and panoramic views of the alta and basso parts of the city.

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IMG_9589Bergamo is the home of polenta. Polenta, delicious cornmeal porridge that can be sweet or savory. Pastry shops sell polenta cakes and PolentOne, a fast-food style restaurant offers it with a variety of sauces. To be honest, this is the main reason I came to Bergamo and yes, all of my polenta dreams did indeed come true here.

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To my surprise, Bergamo was filled with young people and their energy could be felt everywhere in the city’s modern half. Being here felt as if a step had been taken into someone’s computerized version of a futuristic city, with everything precisely placed and clean lines in the architecture. It’s what I imagine Germany to be like. Streetwear dons the bodies that hang out in the parks, on the stairs and walking about. Sneakers galore; street style heaven.

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