Bergamo is northeast of Milan, easily accessible by car or by train. Though Bergamo is quite close to its fellow Lombardy city of Milan, it actually was under the control of Venetians for much of its history.
The Orio al Serio International Airport serves Bergamo. It welcomes Italian and international flights, but none from the United States. If you are traveling from another Italian city or from another European city, it's possible for you to fly here instead of into Milan. The airport's website, with English available, is
Today, a walled hilltop known as the “upper town” remains in Bergamo, in addition to the “lower town,” which is a modern city that is home to about 115,000 people. The two towns are connected by cable cars, roads, and walking paths. Parking is extremely limited in the upper town, so most tourists opt to walk or take the cable cars.
Citt à Alta, as the upper town is known, is on a hilltop and surrounded by walls from the 1600s. Piazza Vecchia is the old town square, which is where you will first end up no matter where you enter the walled city itself. From there, you can get to the two museums inside the city walls as well as to the Palazzo della Ragione (which houses an eighteenth-century sundial), the Romanesque Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore, and the Rocca (a castle that dates to the 1300s).
Comfortable walking shoes are a must in Bergamo's upper town, especially if you want to hike up to the best lookout spots for a view of the lower town. There are signs marking the best walking routes, which can include steep stone steps. Bring water, a lightweight camera, and a small pair of binoculars if you want to make the most of the schlep.
The Museo di Scienze Naturali Enrico Caffi (the Caffi Natural Science Museum) has interesting sites, but not much for you to see or understand in English. The Museo Civico Archeologico (the Archaeological Civic Museum) is also mostly in Italian, although it offers an interesting glimpse into the walled city's history and remains. Both museums are inside the former citadel, which has an impressive courtyard if you'd prefer to stroll outside.
Citt à Bassa, as the lower town is known, is a modern city that expanded greatly during the twentieth century. You won't find many historical sites in this section of Bergamo, but, as with most modern cities, you can enjoy a couple of art museums.
The Accademia Carrara is an art gallery and academy with about 1,800 paintings that date to the fifteenth century. You can also see collections of bronzes, sculptures, porcelain, and furniture here. The gallery has been open to the public since the late eighteenth century and housed the art academy until the early twentieth century, when it moved to another nearby building.
Nearby is the Galleria d'Arte Moderna e Contemporanea (GAMEC), which opened in 1991 as a facility for showcasing more modern and contemporary works. This museum has a website with an English translation where you can sample a bit of the permanent collection and view the schedule for upcoming exhibitions: