Bèrghem (Lombard)
Città di Bergamo
The skyline of the old fortified Upper City
The skyline of the old fortified Upper City
Flag of Bergamo
Coat of arms of Bergamo
Città dei Mille ("City of the Thousand")
Map of the old walled Upper City of Bergamo
Map of the old walled Upper City of Bergamo
Location of Bergamo
Bergamo is located in Italy
Location of Bergamo in Lombardy
Bergamo is located in Lombardy
Bergamo (Lombardy)
Coordinates: 45°41′42″N 9°40′12″E / 45.69500°N 9.67000°E / 45.69500; 9.67000
ProvinceProvince of Bergamo (BG)
 • MayorGiorgio Gori (PD)
 • Total40.16 km2 (15.51 sq mi)
Elevation249 m (817 ft)
 • Total121,200
 • Density3,000/km2 (7,800/sq mi)
Bergamaschi (Italian)
Bergamàsch (Eastern Lombard)
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
Postal code
Dialing code(+39) 035 Edit this at Wikidata

Bergamo (Italian: [ˈbɛrɡamo] ; Bergamasque: Bèrghem [ˈbɛrɡɛm] ) is a city in the alpine Lombardy region of Northern Italy, approximately 40 km (25 mi) northeast of Milan, and about 30 km (19 mi) from Switzerland, the alpine lakes Como and Iseo and 70 km (43 mi) from Garda and Maggiore. The Bergamo Alps (Alpi Orobie) begin immediately north of the city.

With a population of around 120,000, Bergamo is the fourth-largest city in Lombardy. Bergamo is the seat of the Province of Bergamo, which counts over 1,103,000 residents (2020). The metropolitan area of Bergamo extends beyond the administrative city limits, spanning over a densely urbanized area with slightly less than 500,000 inhabitants. The Bergamo metropolitan area is itself part of the broader Milan metropolitan area, home to over 8 million people.

The city of Bergamo is composed of an old walled core, known as Città Alta ("Upper Town"), nestled within a system of hills, and the modern expansion in the plains below. The upper town is encircled by massive Venetian defensive systems that are a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 9 July 2017.

Bergamo is well connected to several cities in Italy, thanks to the motorway A4 stretching on the axis between Milan, Verona, and Venice. The city is served by Il Caravaggio International Airport, the third-busiest airport in Italy with 12.3 million passengers in 2017. Bergamo is the second most visited city in Lombardy after Milan.


In classical Latin the toponym is attested as Bergomum, while in late Latin Bergame. The toponym in the local Bergamasque dialect of the Lombard language is instead Bèrghem. There are various hypotheses put forward to trace the origin of the name of the city.

Local historian and politician Bortolo Belotti compared the toponym to previous Celtic and pre-Celtic names, of which Bergomum would then only be the Latinisation; the word berg in Celtic means a protection, fortification or abode. In the writings of early Roman period, the toponym Bergomum appears to be associated with Bergimus, the Celtic god of mountains or dwellings.

Historian Antonio Tiraboschi argued instead that the toponym stemmed from the Proto-Germanic language. The Bergamo toponym is similar to toponyms in various Germanic-speaking areas, and might be associated with *berg +*heim, or the "mountain home". The hypothesis of a Germanic derivation clashes however with the absence of documents regarding Germanic settlements in the area prior to the settlement of the Lombards who settled in the northern part of the Italian peninsula after the collapse of the Roman Empire.

The Città Alta


Fortified Upper City of Bergamo
Native name
Città Alta di Bergamo
LocationBergamo, Natural Park of Bergamo Hills
AreaBergamo, Lombardy, Northern Italy
Criteriaiii, iv
Designated2017 (41 Session)
Part ofVenetian Works of Defence between 15th and 17th centuries: Stato da Terra – western Stato da Mar
Reference no.1533
RegionEurope and North America


Bergomum (as it was known in antiquity) was first settled by the Ligurian tribe of the Orobii, during the Iron Age period. During the Celtic invasion of Northern Italy, around the year of 550 BC, the city was conquered by the Celtic tribe of Cenomani.

In 49 BCE it became a Roman municipality, containing c. 10,000 inhabitants at its peak. An important hub on the military road between Friuli and Raetia, it was destroyed by Attila in the 5th century.

Middle Ages

From the 6th century Bergamo was the seat of one of the most important Lombard duchies of northern Italy, together with Brescia, Trento, and Cividale del Friuli: its first Lombard duke was Wallaris.[citation needed]

After the conquest of the Lombard Kingdom by Charlemagne, it became the seat of a county under one Auteramus (d. 816). An important Lombardic hoard dating from the 6th to 7th centuries was found in the vicinity of the city in the 19th century and is now in the British Museum.

From the 11th century onwards, Bergamo was an independent commune, taking part in the Lombard League which defeated Frederick I Barbarossa in 1165. The local Guelph and Ghibelline factions were the Colleoni and Suardi, respectively.[citation needed]

Feuding between the two initially caused the family of Omodeo Tasso to flee north c. 1250, but he returned to Bergamo in the later 13th century to organize the city's couriers: this would eventually lead to the Imperial Thurn und Taxis dynasty generally credited with organizing the first modern postal service.[citation needed]

Early modern

After a short period under the House of Malatesta starting from 1407, Bergamo was ceded in 1428 by the Duchy of Milan to the Republic of Venice in the context of the Wars in Lombardy and the aftermath of the 1427 Battle of Maclodio.

Despite the brief interlude granted by the Treaty of Lodi in 1454, the uneasy balance of power among the Northern Italian states precipitated the Italian Wars, a series of conflicts from 1494 to 1559 that involved, at various times, also the Papal States, France, and the Holy Roman Empire.

The wars, which were both a result and cause of Venetian involvement in the power politics of mainland Italy, prompted Venice to assert its direct rule over its mainland domains.

As much of the fighting during the Italian Wars took place during sieges, increasing levels of fortification were adopted, using such new developments as detached bastions that could withstand sustained artillery fire.

The Treaty of Campo Formio (17 October 1797) formally recognized the inclusion of Bergamo and other parts of Northern Italy into the Cisalpine Republic, a "sister republic" of the French First Republic that was superseded in 1802 by the short-lived Napoleonic Italian Republic and in 1805 by the Napoleonic Kingdom of Italy.

Late modern and contemporary

At the 1815 Congress of Vienna, Bergamo was assigned to the Kingdom of Lombardy–Venetia, a crown land of the Austrian Empire. The visit of Ferdinand I in 1838 coincided with the opening of the new boulevard stretching into the plains, leading to the railway station that was inaugurated in 1857. Austrian rule was at first welcomed, but later challenged by Italian independentist insurrections in 1848.[citation needed]

Giuseppe Garibaldi conquered Bergamo in 1859, during the Second Italian War of Independence. As a result, the city was incorporated into the newly founded Kingdom of Italy.[citation needed]

For its contribution to the Italian unification movement, Bergamo is also known as Città dei Mille ("City of the Thousand"), because a significant part of the rank-and-file supporting Giuseppe Garibaldi in his expedition against the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies came from Bergamo and its environs.

Bergamo Upper Town and Alpi Orobie from the airport

During the twentieth century, Bergamo became one of Italy's most industrialized areas.

In 1907, Marcello Piacentini devised a new urban master plan that was implemented between 1912 and 1927, in a style reminiscent of Novecento Italiano and Modernist Rationalism.[citation needed]

The 2017 43rd G7 summit on agriculture was held in Bergamo, in the context of the broader international meeting organized in Taormina.

The "Charter of Bergamo" is an international commitment, signed during the summit, to reduce hunger worldwide by 2030, strengthen cooperation for agricultural development in Africa, and ensure price transparency.

In early 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic in Italy, Bergamo's healthcare system was overwhelmed by patients with COVID-19. There were reports of doctors confronted with ethical dilemmas with too few ICU beds and mechanical ventilation systems. Morgues were overwhelmed, and images of military trucks carrying the bodies of COVID-19 victims out of the city were shared worldwide. An investigative report by The New York Times found that faulty guidance and bureaucratic delays rendered the toll in Bergamo far worse than it had to be.



Climate data for Bergamo (1991–2020, extremes 1946–present)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 21.9
Mean daily maximum °C (°F) 7.8
Daily mean °C (°F) 3.6
Mean daily minimum °C (°F) −0.2
Record low °C (°F) −15.0
Average precipitation mm (inches) 44.5
Average precipitation days (≥ 1.0 mm) 5.1 5.3 5.8 8.4 10.0 8.0 5.0 6.4 6.4 7.8 8.4 6.4 82.7
Average relative humidity (%) 71.6 69.1 64.3 64.8 65.5 64.5 63.2 65.0 67.9 74.0 75.9 74.2 68.3
Average dew point °C (°F) −0.8
Source 1: NOAA
Source 2: Servizio Meteorologico (extremes)


Lower City seen from Upper City
Walled city scheme

The town has two centres: Città alta ("upper city"), a hilltop medieval town, surrounded by 16th-century defensive walls, and the Città bassa ("lower city"). The two parts of the town are connected by funicular, roads, and footpaths.

Upper city

The Upper City
The Angelo Maj library

The upper city, surrounded by Venetian walls built in the 16th century, forms the historic centre of Bergamo. Walking along the narrow medieval streets, you can visit numerous places of interest including:

View of Bergamo Città Alta from Via Sudorno (2021)

Lower city

Bergamo Upper City, Lower City and Bergamo Hills

The lower city is the modern centre of Bergamo. At the end of the 19th century Città Bassa was composed of residential neighborhoods built along the main roads that linked Bergamo to the other cities of Lombardy. The main boroughs were Borgo Palazzo along the road to Brescia, Borgo San Leonardo along the road to Milan and Borgo Santa Caterina along the road to Serio Valley. Borgo Santa Caterina is one of I Borghi più belli d'Italia ("The most beautiful villages of Italy").

The city rapidly expanded during the 20th century. In the first decades, the municipality erected major buildings like the new courthouse and various administrative offices in the lower part of Bergamo in order to create a new city center. After World War II many residential buildings were constructed in the lower part of the city which are now divided into twenty-five neighborhoods:

Neighborhoods of Bergamo

The most relevant sites are:

  • Accademia Carrara
  • Galleria d'Arte Moderna e Contemporanea (GAMeC, Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art).



In 2010, there were 119,551 people residing in Bergamo (in which the greater area has about 500 000 inhabitants), located in the province of Bergamo, Lombardia, of whom 46.6% were male and 53.4% were female. Minors (children ages 18 and younger) totalled 16.79 percent of the population compared to pensioners who number 23.61 percent. This compares with the Italian average of 17.88 percent (minors) and 20.29 percent (pensioners).[citation needed]

The average age of Bergamo residents is 45 compared to the Italian average of 43. In the eight years between 2002 and 2010, the population of Bergamo grew by 5.41 percent, while Italy as a whole grew by 5.77 percent.


Bergamo is situated in Lombardy, Italy's northern region where about a quarter of the country's GDP is produced.

Nowadays, the city has an advanced tertiary economy focussed on banking, retail, and services associated to the industrial sector of its province. Corporations and firms linked to the city include UBI banking group, Brembo (braking systems), Tenaris (steel), and ABB (power and automation technology).


Notable natives

Gaetano Donizetti was born in Bergamo in 1797. He's considered one of the most important composers of all time, best known for his almost 70 operas. Along with Gioachino Rossini and Vincenzo Bellini, he was a leading composer of the bel canto opera style during the first half of the nineteenth century and a probable influence on other composers such as Giuseppe Verdi.

Bergamo was the hometown and last resting place of Enrico Rastelli, a highly technical and world-famous juggler who lived in the town and, in 1931, died there at the early age of 34. There is a life-sized statue of Rastelli within his mausoleum. A number of painters were active in the town as well; among these were Giovanni Paolo Cavagna, Francesco Zucco, and Enea Salmeggia, each of whom painted works for the church of Santa Maria Maggiore. Sculptor Giacomo Manzù and the bass-baritone opera singer Alex Esposito were born in Bergamo.

The American electrical engineer and professor Andrew Viterbi, inventor of Viterbi's algorithm, was born in Bergamo, before migrating to the US during the Fascist era because of his Jewish origins. Designers born in Bergamo include the late Mariuccia Mandelli, the founder of Krizia and one of the first female fashion designers to create a successful line of men's wear.

The physicist Fausto Martelli was born in Bergamo in 1982. Fausto Martelli is known for his fundamental contributions to the physics of liquids and glasses.



Gaetano Donizetti Theater

The main city theater is the Gaetano Donizetti Theater; another historical theater is the Teatro Sociale [it], in the Upper Town.

More modern is the tensile structure that houses the "Creberg Teatro Bergamo" with 1536 seats which make it one of the largest theaters in the province.

Another theatrical structure is the Auditorium in Piazza della Libertà. The building that houses the Auditorium was built in 1937 as the seat of the local Fascist Federation and known as the "House of Freedom".

Among the theatrical companies operating in Bergamo there are the TTB (teatro tascabile di Bergamo), La Compagnia Stabile di Teatro, Erbamil, Pandemonium Teatro, Teatro Prova, Ambaradan and Slapsus, Luna and Gnac, the CUT (University Theater Center) and La Gilda delle Arti - Teatro Bergamo.




Bergamo is served by Il Caravaggio International Airport 5 km (3 mi) south-east of the town. The city is also served by Milan Linate Airport 50 km (31 mi) south-west of Bergamo.


Motorway A4 is the main axis connecting the city with the east and the west of the country, to cities such as Milan, Turin, Venice and Trieste.


Bergamo railway station is connected to Milan, Lecco, Cremona, Treviglio, Brescia and Monza with regional trains operated by Trenord. The city is also served by three daily Frecciarossa services to Rome operated by Trenitalia and one operated by NTV.

Urban transport

Transport within Bergamo is managed by ATB (Azienda Trasporti Bergamo) and includes a network of bus lines together with two funicular systems opened in 1887 ("Funicolare di Bergamo Alta") and in 1912 ("Funicolare di Bergamo San Vigilio"). The Bergamo–Albino light rail operated by TEB (Tramvie Elettriche Bergamasche) was inaugurated in 2009.

Two light rail lines are currently in the planning stage:

  • Line 2 Bergamo FS - Villa d'Almè - San Pellegrino Terme
  • Line 3 Hospital-Railway Station FS-Trade Fair - Bergamo Airport




International relations

Twin towns − sister cities

Bergamo is twinned with:

Bergamo has a partnership with:


Bergamo is home to the following consulates:

See also

This page was last updated at 2024-03-18 04:16 UTC. Update now. View original page.

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