Bergamo and the Upper City
Bergamo is the capital of the province of the same name in Lombardy and is in the foothills between the plain and the Orobian pre-Alps, half-way between the rivers Brembo and Serio. It is one of the twenty-seven Italian cities decorated with the gold medal as “meritorious of the national Risorgimento” and can boast of the official title of the “City of the Thousand” because of the high number of volunteers who enlisted with Garibaldi.
The main characteristics of the city lies in its division into two distinct parts, the Upper City, the old part surrounded by walls, and the Lower City, the modern part.
Obviously the main monuments and places of interest are in the Upper City. These include the Venetian Walls, the Fortress, the Castle of San Vigilio and Piazza Vecchia, where there is the Contarini fountain, Palazzo della Ragione, the Torre Civica (or Campanone), Palazzo Nuovo (seat of the Angelo Mai civic library), the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore and the Colleoni Chapel. The Lower City can also boast of cultural centres of interest, such as the Donizzetti Theatre, the church of Sts. Bartholomew and Stephen, the Carrara Academy and the Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art.
As well as many parks, the city also has the Parco dei Colli of Bergamo, acknowledged at regional level as a protected area, the symbol of which is the red hedgehog and in which there is also a botanical garden.