The Routes of Nature • • Visit Bergamo

The Routes of Nature

Description

The first part leads to the castle of San Vigilio, while other scenic paths will take you to the Monastery of Astino.


Funicolare S. Vigilio - Chiesa S. Vigilio

Take the funicular (in service since 1912) to reach the third level of the city: the hill of San Vigilio.

From the small square of the church shaded by a vigorous oak, next to the funicular arrival station, you can enjoy one of the most beautiful views of the Upper Town (that looks low from here!).

The area, once barren due to the presence of the castle, between the end of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries was transformed into a neighbourhood  with a park, residential buildings, hotels, restaurants and trees.

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Take the funicular (in service since 1912) to reach the third level of the city: the hill of San Vigilio.

From the small square of the church shaded by a vigorous oak, next to the funicular arrival station, you can enjoy one of the most beautiful views of the Upper Town (that looks low from here!).

The area, once barren due to the presence of the castle, between the end of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries was transformed into a neighbourhood  with a park, residential buildings, hotels, restaurants and trees.

1Church of S. Vigilio

Built at the beginning of the eighth century after the bishop of Trentino's alleged stay in the hills of Bergamo, in the thirteenth century it was managed by the Dominican friars and in the fourteenth century by the Order of the Humiliated, abolished two centuries later.

Renovated in 1512, it assumed its present appearance with the construction work carried out in the eighteenth and twentieth centuries that included the addition of a panoramic terrace overlooking the Lower Town and the western hills.

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2S. Vigilio funicular

If you have already taken the first funicular and reached Piazza Mercato delle Scarpe in the Upper Town, don’t stop your climb: go and try out the second one, to visit the San Vigilio hill!

This system leads you to a less-popular part of the city, worthy of being visited as it’s surrounded by nature and represents the perfect starting point for a walk across the wonderful “Parco dei Colli –Hills Park”, a protected green area of 4,700 hectares. It was inaugurated on August 27th 1912 and designed by Alessandro Ferretti, one of the best Italian engineers of that time, who planned tens of funicular railways and realized about 15 of them.

San Vigilio funicular covers 630 meters, with a 90 m difference in height and a slope going from 10% to 22%, which lets you enjoy a stunning view of the hills and the plain.

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Scorlazzone - Casa Natale Gaetano Donizetti

The steps of Scorlazzone, one of the most famous tiered streets in the Bergamo hills, cut through the village of Sudorno to bring you down to the Astino Monastery, located in the basin by the same name.

The dark forests of Astino and Allegrezza, named Sites of Community Interest by the European Union, stand out from the soft green valley.

Once you reach the valley, the path leads back up towards Borgo Canale, one of the city's oldest villages, renowned as being the birthplace of the famous composer Gaetano Donizetti.

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The steps of Scorlazzone, one of the most famous tiered streets in the Bergamo hills, cut through the village of Sudorno to bring you down to the Astino Monastery, located in the basin by the same name.

The dark forests of Astino and Allegrezza, named Sites of Community Interest by the European Union, stand out from the soft green valley.

Once you reach the valley, the path leads back up towards Borgo Canale, one of the city's oldest villages, renowned as being the birthplace of the famous composer Gaetano Donizetti.

3Tempio dei Caduti

Built on the ruins of the ancient church of S. Maria di Sudorno, destroyed specifically for its construction in 1915-16, the temple is also known as the church of Sudorno, named after the street where it stands and under which one of the two ancient Roman aqueducts ran.

Dedicated to the victims of war, the altar-piece of the old medieval church is housed inside (covered entirely with dark marble).

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4Via Ripa Pasqualina

The slope can be reached from the corner of a tower house, overlooking via Astino.

The initial path is rather flat. However, beyond via del Celtro (from the dialect term "selter" and the Latin word "ciltrum"Â_x009d_, meaning "arch"), it becomes narrower and slightly more steep, until it turns into a paved flight of steps that ends on a paved road that connects to via Sudorno (a place name that refers to the medieval cult of the god Saturn).

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5Scorlazzone and Scorlazzino flights of stone steps

The most particular and “local” way to move from Lower to Upper Bergamo is the “scalette”, our ancient flights of stone steps.

They are exclusively pedestrian pathways, paved with the typical cobblestones.

These steps climb up to the Città Alta, bordered by old dry stone walls, crossing fields, terraced gardens and beautiful mansions: with every step you’ll take, a new amazing landscape will appear. However, the “scalette” are also a beloved place for runners to workout, being far from the traffic, quiet and charming.

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6Donizetti Birthplace

With these words, one of the 5 most famous music composers of all times described his family’s first house, in a letter he wrote to Simone Mayr.
Donizetti’s birthplace, a national historic site, is here in Bergamo, in via Borgo Canale, where buildings used to be extremely poor and crumbling.
His family lived in the basement of a building whose ground floor can also be visited today, where you entered by means of a narrow staircase. It was a very humble house, consisting of two rooms - kitchen and bedroom - along with a well and an icehouse.
It seems that Donizetti’s destiny was written in the stars: over his life, he interlaced music notes creating immortal compositions, just like his parents used to intertwine fabrics. In fact, the Master’s parents were both tailors and were part of that humble people earning their living by working for the noblemen of the Upper Town. Donizetti managed to redeem its humble beginnings becoming famous all over the world and bringing prestige to his city.

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7Former Monastery of Astino

Located between the Bosco dell’Allagrezza (the “Cheerfulness Wood”) and the Benaglia Hill, the Astino Valley immediately conveys a sense of piece and serenity. That’s why in 1170 the vallombrosan monks decided to build their monastery and the Santo Sepolcro here.

A tight boundary was established between these religious buildings and the territory, to the extent that the name “Astino” indicates both the valley and the historical complex. In this little piece of heaven, space and time merge into something eternal.

Sit on the wide meadow surrounding this site: the beauty and the calm of the landscape will amaze you. Forests, hills and fields almost hide the network of streets all around the monastery: eastwards to the district of Longuelo, Bergamo, westward to the San Martino valley, heading north to San Sebastiano and the Bastia and San Vigilio hills.

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8Church of San Grata Inter Vites

The Church is dedicated to Saint Grata, Bergamo’s co-patron, and it’s the first place where the Saint was buried, till the year One Thousand: later it was moved to the other church with the same name, in via Arena, inside the Walls perimeter.

Dating back to the XIV Century, this building was destroyed two hundred years later to make room to the Walls. Afterwards, it was erected back in the XVIII Century.

If you’re wondering what does “inter vites” mean, you should know that the church used to be surrounded by vineyards, which disappeared in the XVIII Century.

In front of the church you can admire the majestic St Gottardo Stairway, named after the ancient monastery demolished in 1798.

Inside the building you will find a frescos cycle called “Living skeletons scenes” (“Scene di scheletri viventi”), painted by the artist Paolo Bonomini in the XIX Century. During that time, it was considered as an extremely edgy artwork, as the skeletons resembled some actual people living in the borough: a carpenter, two praying friars, a couple of newlyweds, a Cisalpine Republic tambourine and even the artist himself, next to his wife.

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