With its steep, narrow streets, flanked by high facades and encircled by sixteenth-century walls, Bergamo Alta – the upper town – remains in appearance largely as it was in the Middle Ages. The main public spaces – Piazza Vecchia and adjacent Piazza del Duomo – combine medieval austerity with the grace of later, Renaissance design. The funicular railway from the lower town arrives at the tiny station on Piazza Mercato delle Scarpe from where the main street, beginning as Via Gombito and continuing as Via Colleoni after Piazza Vecchia, follows the line of the Roman decumanus maximus, topped and tailed by evidence of Bergamo’s military past – the Rocca to the east, the Cittadella to the west. Just beyond the Cittadella, through Porta Sant Alessandro, another funicular ride whisks you up to the highest point of town, San Vigilio.

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