A really good Italian hotel will cosset you with creature comforts, seduce you with style and elegance and make you feel at home with friendly service. Use this website to help you find the perfect place to stay during your visit to Italy. We have tried and tested every hotel featured and can vouch for the locations, standard of facilities and level of service.

Saturday, October 28, 2023

Duomo Hotel Cremona

An elegant hotel in the heart of the city of music

The Hotel Duomo and restaurant is very close to
the cathedral, which can be seen in the background
In a central location, the Hotel Duomo is the ideal choice for visitors who want to explore the historic city of Cremona in Lombardy.

Situated in Via Dei Gonfalonieri, the Duomo Hotel is just a few metres away from Cremona’s main square, Piazza Duomo, where the Romanesque cathedral and its huge Torrazzo, (bell tower), are a magnificent sight.

The Duomo Hotel is housed in a traditional brick building with pretty, wrought-iron balconies. It has its own restaurant next door, which serves guests with a generous buffet breakfast and offers a full a la carte menu at lunch times and in the evenings.

The hotel opened in 1959, taking its name from the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, usually referred to simply as il Duomo. Although housed in an historic building, the hotel’s guest rooms are presented with immaculate décor in a contemporary style. The rooms have air conditioning, direct dial telephone, satellite television, internet connection, mini bar and safe.

There are plenty of bars, restaurants and shops near the Duomo Hotel and it is a comfortable walk from the main attractions of the city and the railway station.

The Piazza Duomo is one of the most elegant central squares in Italy
The Piazza Duomo is one of the most
elegant central squares in Italy
Cremona is famous for the invention of the modern violin in 1566 and as the birthplace of composers Claudio Monteverdi and Amilcare Ponchielli.

Andrea Amati, who created the modern violin from the medieval fiddle, was followed into the profession by his sons, Antonio and Gerolamo and apprentices Andrea Guarneri and Antonio Stradivari, whose violins became recognised as the best in the world.

In Via Ugolani Dati, you will find the Museo Stradivariano, which is within the Museo Civico ‘Ala Ponzone’. The collection of items in the Stradivarius museum is displayed in the elegant rooms of a former palace.

Visitors can see how the contralto viola was constructed in accordance with the classical traditions of Cremona, view instruments commemorating Italian violin makers in the 19th and early 20th centuries, and look at more than 700 relics from Stradivari’s workshop.

Piazza Duomo, which is also sometimes referred to as Piazza del Comune, is considered one of the best preserved medieval squares in Italy. The decorative Duomo is connected by a loggia to il Torrazzo, which measures more than 112 metres in height and is the tallest bell tower in Italy and the third tallest, brickwork bell tower in the world. There is also a beautiful, octagonal Romanesque baptistery.

In the streets running off Piazza Duomo you will see the workshops of liutai (luthiers) who continue to keep up the tradition of violin making in Cremona.

Ristorante Pizzeria Cremonese has a spacious main dining room
Ristorante Pizzeria Cremonese has a
spacious main dining room 
Restaurant recommendation:

A short walk from the Duomo Hotel you will find Ristorante Pizzeria Cremonese in Piazza Roma, which is open every day at lunch time and in the evenings, and serves a big selection of classic Italian and Cremonese dishes.

There is a large, comfortable main room with plenty of tables and the family-run restaurant has friendly staff, who provide excellent service.








Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Hotel Luna Venice

Stay at the hotel where Lord Byron enjoyed the food

The Baglioni Hotel Luna has its own jetty, which allows guests to arrive by gondola or water taxi
The Baglioni Hotel Luna has its own jetty, which
allows guests to arrive by gondola or water taxi
The iconic Hotel Luna is the oldest hotel in Venice and is also one of the most centrally located, as it is just a short walk from Piazza San Marco and easily accessible from the Grand Canal if you arrive by gondola, water taxi or vaporetto (water bus).

The poet Lord Byron and his old university friend. John Hobhouse, dined in the restaurant at the Hotel Luna on 15 November 1816 and Hobhouse recorded in his journal that ‘the eating was good.’

The Hotel Luna’s history is known to date back as far as the 12th century because it was recorded as having given shelter to the Knights Templar in 1118. The hotel was built on the site of a former church and convent.

By 1574, the hotel had become known as Locanda della Luna, but the actual building in which Byron and Hobhouse dined was erected in the 18th century. The interior was decorated with frescoes by pupils of the great Venetian artist, Giambattista Tiepolo, which guests can still admire today while having their breakfast.

The Luna Hotel has recently been renovated and spacious new suites have been added with terraces that have beautiful views of the island of San Giorgio Maggiore and the lagoon.

The hotel’s award-winning Canova restaurant serves lunch and dinner, offering diners dishes created using modern interpretations of traditional Venetian cooking.

Harry's Bar, once a favourite celebrity haunt, is just a few steps from the Luna's entrance
Harry's Bar, once a favourite celebrity haunt, is
just a few steps from the Luna's entrance
You can arrive at the Hotel Luna in style, travelling down the Grand Canal and alighting at the hotel’s private jetty, but there is also an entrance from Calle Vallaresso. This is very handy for visiting the famous Harry’s Bar and the stylish boutiques and shoe shops situated along there, making the hotel convenient for shopping, sightseeing, and experiencing daily life in the centre of the city. But although the Hotel Luna is right at the centre of things, the interior is always quiet and peaceful.

The Hotel Luna is now privately owned by Baglioni Hotels. The high ceilings and original features have been carefully preserved and it has been beautifully redecorated in Venetian style, with Murano glass chandeliers and beautiful furniture and fabrics.

Editor’s note: “I have been lucky enough to stay at the Hotel Luna twice and found the location perfect for exploring Venice, as it is both handy for the lagoon and all the main sights of the city. I loved the hotel’s unique atmosphere and the way its history and traditions have been carefully preserved over the centuries. Staying at the Hotel Luna certainly helped to make my visits to the historic city of Venice magical.”

How to find the Baglioni Hotel Luna:

A few steps from Piazza San Marco, the Hotel Luna has entrances on Calle Vallaresso and Calle larga de l'Ascension, two narrow alleyways off Salizada San Moise, which is the street one joins when leaving the piazza through the archways beneath the Museo Correr, at the end opposite the Basilica. The nearest vaporetto stop is San Marco Vallaresso, right outside Harry’s Bar. For guests arriving by water taxi or gondola, the Luna’s landing stage is next to the entrance on Calle larga de l’Ascension.

Book a room at the Baglioni Hotel Luna


Saturday, December 31, 2022

Celebrate the New Year in Italy

Dine on pork and lentils and wear red underwear for a prosperous 2023

Why not spend the New Year in Rome, Italy's beautiful capital city?
Why not spend the New Year in Rome,
Italy's beautiful capital city?
Italy is a great place to see in the New Year as there is always a festive atmosphere with fireworks displays, concerts, and parties in even the smallest towns and villages.

In Rome, if you treat yourself to a hotel near the Colosseum or the Villa Borghese you will find plenty of free activities to enjoy.

If you choose to stay in elegant Milan, head to Piazza Duomo to see in the New Year, as it is traditional to gather in front of the beautiful cathedral.

In Naples, you will be able to watch fireworks displays from the sea front. It is worth staying near Piazza del Plebiscito, the main square of the city, where they have live music and processions to enjoy.

If you go to Turin, head to Piazza San Carlo to experience the musical celebrations and see the fireworks let off from the banks of the River Po.

Residents and visitors traditionally gather in Piazza San Marco in Venice to see in the New Year. Fireworks are let off from Riva degli Schiavoni after midnight, which light up the lagoon in spectacular style.

Firework displays are a major part of New Year celebrations all over Italy
Firework displays are a major part of New
Year celebrations all over Italy
New Year’s Eve in Italy is known as the Festa di San Silvestro in memory of Pope Sylvester I who died on 31 December 335 in Rome.

It is not a public holiday, but it is always a festive occasion with special dinner menus offered by the restaurants.

Popular dishes include cotechino (Italian sausage), zampone (stuffed pig’s trotter) and lenticchie (lentils).

Pork is said to represent the fullness or richness of life, while lentils are supposed to symbolise wealth or money. Many Italians believe the coming year will bring prosperity if these foods are eaten on New Year’s Eve.

It is also believed wearing red underwear will fend off negativity and help people find happiness and love in the coming year.

The President of the Republic delivers an end of year message from the Quirinale in Rome, which is shown on most Italian television channels during the evening. A live concert in the open air from a town square somewhere in Italy is shown afterwards.

In some parts of Italy, you may witness the custom of throwing old possessions out of the window at midnight believed to symbolise readiness to accept the New Year.

Cotechino e lenticchie - sausage and lentils - is a popular dish on the New Year's Eve menu
Cotechino e lenticchie - sausage and lentils -
is a popular dish on the New Year's Eve menu
Sylvester I was pope from 314 until his death in 335, an important time in the history of the Catholic Church.

Some of Rome’s great churches, the Basilica of St John Lateran, the Basilica of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem, and the old St Peter’s Basilica, were founded during his pontificate.

San Silvestro in Capite, the Basilica of Saint Sylvester, is in Piazza San Silvestro on the corner of Via del Gambero and Via delle Mercede, on the opposite side of the Tiber from St Peter’s. Dating from the eighth century, it was bestowed on English Catholics by Pope Leo XIII in 1890. It is now known as ‘The National Church in Rome of Great Britain’ and mass is regularly celebrated in English there.


Friday, January 8, 2021

Hotel Imperiale Rome

Enjoy a taste of ‘la dolce vita’ at this stylish hotel on the Via Veneto

In one of the best locations in Rome, the elegant Hotel Imperiale offers guests luxurious surroundings with the convenience of being close to many of the city’s famous historical attractions.

The Hotel Imperiale is situated on Via Veneto,  one of the Rome's most elegant streets
The Hotel Imperiale is situated on Via Veneto,
 one of Rome's most elegant streets
Established in 1895, the Hotel Imperiale is located on the iconic Via Veneto, close to statues, fountains and old buildings that will seem familiar to millions of film goers.

The interior of the hotel has retained many of its original architectural features and these are complemented stylishly by contemporary furnishings and every modern facility visitors might require.

A generous buffet breakfast is served each morning and the hotel also has its own gourmet restaurant with chefs and a sommelier on hand to help guests discover the finest Italian cuisine and the best wines to accompany it.

Hotel staff will be happy to arrange visits to Rome’s many attractions or book theatre tickets for the guests and there is also a spa with a sauna to help them relax at the end of a busy day seeing the sights.

Editor’s note: ‘I have wonderful memories of both my stays at the Hotel Imperiale. I loved the hotel’s glamorous Via Veneto location, which is within walking distance of many of Rome’s most famous sights, and there is a wide range of shops, bars and restaurants close by. I was impressed with the facilities the hotel had to offer and the level of service given by the helpful staff.’


The Hotel Imperiale is in Via Veneto at number 24, in the heart of the most fashionable area of Rome. Situated close to the bottom of Via Veneto, nearest to Piazza Barberini, it is on the left hand side as you walk in the direction of the Villa Borghese complex of museums and gardens at the top.

Bernini's Fontana del Tritone in Piazza Barberini
Bernini's Fontana del Tritone in
Piazza Barberini
During the Empire, the Via Veneto was part of a suburb where the rich families owned luxurious villas and gardens. After the sack of Rome, the area became open countryside again, but started to recover its lost splendour with the building of Palazzo Barberini in the 17th century, which was designed by the architect Carlo Maderno for Pope Urban VIII. After 1900, Via Veneto developed into a street of grand hotels and cafes and featured in Fellini’s 1960 film La Dolce Vita, which helped to establish the Via Veneto’s fashionable status.

What to see near the Hotel Imperiale

Close to Hotel Imperiale is the beautiful Triton fountain (Fontana del Tritone) at the centre of Piazza Barberini, which was designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini in the 17th century. The hotel is also within a short walk of the Trevi Fountain (Fontana di Trevi) and the Spanish Steps, which lead down to the Keats-Shelley House, a museum commemorating the English Romantic poets, John Keats and Percy Bysshe Shelley.

What to eat in Rome

Look out on restaurant menus for Bucatini all’Amatriciana, a dish of long pasta served with a piquant sauce made from tomatoes and bacon, and Saltimbocca alla Romana, a veal dish with ham and sage. Saltimbocca literally means ‘jump in the mouth’, which refers to the combined taste of the ham and sage and Frascati, the wine in which the veal is cooked. Frascati, a town to the south of Rome, produces a delicious, light, dry white wine,. It is said the wine ‘non viaggia bene’ - does not travel well - but it is usually fresh and fragrant when sampled in Rome.

Book a stay at the Hotel Imperiale in Rome


Thursday, November 19, 2020

Hotel Scapolatiello Cava de’ Tirreni

Historic residence with wonderful views over the countryside

The Hotel Scapolatiello's elegant dining terrace overlooks beautiful countryside
The Hotel Scapolatiello's elegant dining
terrace overlooks beautiful countryside
In the wooded hills above Cava de’ Tirreni, which is ten kilometres (six miles) northwest of the town of Salerno, the Hotel Scapolatiello is the perfect place for a relaxing break.

Located in a wonderful position overlooking the surrounding countryside, Hotel Scapolatiello has large, comfortable guest rooms, a garden with a swimming pool and a restaurant that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner.

You can eat in either the elegant dining room or on the terrace looking out over the garden. The restaurant takes pride in using local cheeses, fruit and vegetables and has its own label wine and preserves. The menu features some unusual antipasto combinations, risotto, pasta and meat dishes.

The Scapolatiello's risotto with mushrooms and savings of provola cheese
The Scapolatiello's risotto with mushrooms
and savings of provola cheese
The Hotel Scapolatiello first opened its doors to visitors in 1821 and has entertained many of the famous people who have visited the nearby L’Abbazia della Santissima Trinita, known locally as La Badia. One of the most important religious centres in southern Italy, La Badia celebrated its 1000th anniversary in 2011.

Hotel Scapolatiello is in Piazza Risorgimento in the centre of Corpo di Cava, a small walled village three kilometres to the south of Cava de’ Tirreni.

Editor’s note

‘I have lovely memories of enjoying lunch on the terrace of the historic Hotel Scapolatiello overlooking their immaculate garden. I was given complimentary mini calzoni filled with cheese, tomatoes and ham before the risotto with provola that I had ordered. I sampled the hotel’s own label Falanghina, which was delicious.’

What to see in Cava de' Tirreni

Cava de’ Tirreni may not be as well known as Naples, Sorrento and Salerno, but it was once the preferred stopping off place for travellers on the Grand Tour visiting Pompei, the Amalfi coast or Paestum

For centuries, Cava enjoyed a free port at Vietri sul Mare and became prosperous through trading in silk tapestries, leather goods and ceramics. The city also became known for its skilled engineers and craftsmen..

Cava de' Tirreni's porticoed streets provide shelter from the summer heat
Cava de' Tirreni's porticoed streets provide
shelter from the summer heat 
Cava was given the full name Cava de’ Tirreni, acknowledging its earliest known inhabitants, after Italian unification in 1861 and it has remained an elegant, civilised town with beautiful architecture

The city has earned itself the title of ‘the Bologna of the south’ because of its half kilometre of elegant porticoed streets in the centre. The oldest porticoes were built in the 15th century in front of single storey shops so that goods could be displayed and trade carried out sheltered from the sun. At 47km (29 miles) south of Naples, Cava is hot during the summer.

The traders built living accommodation over their shops and many of the buildings have ornate facades and pretty balconies. Today, fashion boutiques, wine bars, restaurants and pastry shops do business behind the ancient porticoes..

Intriguing glimpses of the mountains on both sides of Cava de’ Tirreni can be seen from the end of many of the streets. Look out for Monte Castello, a triangular shaped mountain with a castle on the top, which appears in the skyline at different places in the centre of town.

The Abbazia Benedettina della Santissima Trinità - known also as La Badia di Cava - is three kilometres from the centre of Cava de’ Tirreni. Behind the 18th century façade lie the original 11th century church and cloisters, a chapel with a magnificent 15th century majolica floor and a museum and library. The abbey was built in 1011 after a nobleman, Alferio Pappacarbone, retired to the area to pray and other worshippers gathered around him. La Badia went on to become the religious hub of southern Italy and Pope Bonifacio IX made Cava a city in its own right, separate from Salerno, in 1394. The abbey was given a baroque facade in the 18th century but retains its original architectural details inside.

La Badia nestles in the wooded hills a few kilometres outside Cava de' Tirreni
La Badia nestles in the wooded hills a few
kilometres outside Cava de' Tirreni
Cava de’ Tirreni is surrounded by hills with pretty villages that have medieval towers, built for a dove hunting game. Starting from Annunziata you can follow a circuit, passing eight towers along the way, before arriving back at the same village.

North of Cava de’ Tirreni lies the nature park of Diecimare, also known as Parco Due Golfi because it has views over the bay of Naples and Vesuvius to the north and the bay of Salerno to the south. It is home to beautiful plants, flowers, birds and animals and visitors can choose to follow different panoramic paths.

There are regular trains and buses to Pompei, which is half an hour away from Cava de’ Tirreni. As well as the world famous scavi, the excavated remains of the original Roman town, Pompei has a church that has become a centre for pilgrims, il Santuario della Beata Vergine del Rosario in Piazza Bartolo Longo.

Cava de’ Tirreni has become known as ‘the green gateway to the Amalfi coast’ as it is close to  the resort of Vietri sul Mare and the village of Cetara, where you can sample their famous pasta dish, spaghetti with colatura di alici, a type of sauce made from anchovies, thought to derive from an ancient Roman recipe.

Eating out in Cava de’ Tirreni

Pacheri allo scarpiello, with fresh tomatoes, is a Cava speciality dish
Pacheri allo scarpiello, with fresh tomatoes,
is a Cava speciality dish
On restaurant menus you will see pacheri, the local tube shaped pasta, served either allo scarpariello with ‘shoemaker’s sauce’ made with fresh tomato, cheese and basil, or con carciofi e provola (with artichokes and cheese).

There are many dishes featuring fresh, local fish and southern Italian classics such as fritto misto.

Light dry, fragrant Falanghina is a white wine that goes perfectly with fish and dishes made with mozzarella, such as insalata caprese. Cava de’ Tirreni is in the prime territory for the best Falanghina wines made from grapes grown on the slopes of Vesuvius, along the Sorrentine peninsula or near the Amalfi coast. 

Book a stay at the Hotel Scapolatiello


Monday, July 27, 2020

Hotel Annunziata Ferrara

Wonderful views of one of Italy’s most impressive castles

The Hotel Annunziata is directly opposite Ferrara's star attraction, the magnificent Castello Estense
The Hotel Annunziata is directly opposite Ferrara's star
attraction, the magnificent Castello Estense
The Hotel Annunziata is in a great location on the opposite side of the square from Ferrara’s most famous landmark, the imposing Castello Estense.

There are lovely views of the castle from the windows of many of the hotel’s guest rooms.

The four-star Hotel Annunziata is set in a restored, historic town house with a contemporary décor. All the accommodation is immaculate and spotlessly clean, earning the praise of many of its guests.

Breakfast is served in the hotel’s elegant dining room and there is a bar serving drinks and snacks 24 hours a day. All the guest rooms have free wifi, satellite TV and air conditioning.

Although the Hotel Annunziata is located in a pedestrian only area of the city, there is a car park for the use of guests.

The Hotel Annunziata occupies an historic restored townhouse in Piazza Repubblica
The Hotel Annunziata occupies an historic
restored townhouse in Piazza Repubblica
When out and about in Ferrara, you will see many of the local residents travelling by bicycle. The Hotel Annunziata provides cruiser bikes free of charge to guests so that they can explore all corners of this wonderful city with ease.

The Hotel Annunziata is located at Piazza Repubblica, 5 in the centre of the city.

Editor’s note: ‘Right in the heart of the historic city of Ferrara, I enjoyed my stay at the Hotel Annunziata in a very comfortable guest room with wonderful views of one of the most impressive and beautiful castles in Italy.’

Click here for more information, to check prices and to book a room at the Hotel Annunziata.

What to see in Ferrara

Ferrara was ruled by the Este family between 1240 and 1598. You can still see the original, narrow, medieval streets to the west and south of the city centre, between the main thoroughfares of Via Ripa Grande and Via Garibaldi, which were the core of the city in the middle ages.

Building work on the magnificent, moated Este Castle (Castello Estense) began in 1385 and it was added to and improved by successive rulers of Ferrara until the end of the Este line. 

Lucrezia Borgia lived in the castle after her marriage to Alfonso I d’Este in 1502 and was reputed to have had an affair with the court poet, Pietro Bembo, there.

The castle was purchased for 70,000 lire by the province of Ferrara in 1874 to be used as the headquarters of the Prefecture. 

The Palazzo Diamanti is another Este palace in Ferrara, its walls studded with diamond-shaped stones
The Palazzo Diamanti is another Este palace in Ferrara, its
walls studded with diamond-shaped stones
It is open to the public every day from 9.30 till 5.30 pm, apart from certain times of the year when it is closed on Mondays. For more details and ticket prices visit www.castelloestense.it.

Another Este residence in Ferrara that is worth seeing is the Palazzo Diamanti in Corso Ercole I d’Este, which takes its name from the 8500 pointed, diamond-shaped stones that stud the façade, diamonds being an emblem of the Este family. It was designed by Biagio Rossetti and completed in 1503.

The palace now houses the Pinacoteca Nazionale di Ferrara on its first floor, where you can also see the 16th century apartments inhabited by another Este bride, Virginia de’ Medici. She lived in the palace after her marriage to Cesare d’Este, the grandson of Alfonso I, Duke of Ferrara. Visitors can see three of the rooms that Virginia used, which overlook Corso Biagio Rossetti. The Pinacoteca is open from 10.00 to 17.30 Tuesday to Sunday.

Eating out in Ferrara

A good place to try some Ferrarese specialities is Trattoria il Cucco in Via Voltacasotto, where they serve the traditional cappellacci con la zucca, a type of ravioli stuffed with pumpkin, sage, butter and cheese. You could follow that with salama da sugo, which is said to have been Lucrezia Borgia’s favourite dish. It is a spicy pork sausage made from different cuts of meat that has been boiled for about four hours.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Hotel Piemontese Bergamo

Smart hotel in an ideal spot for visitors

The Hotel Piemontese is in a handy location in Piazzale Marconi on the opposite side of the square from Bergamo’s railway station.

Guests can quickly access local buses that leave from outside the railway station or from stops near the top of Viale Papa Giovanni XXIII to go out and about.
The pink facade of the Hotel Piemontese

The hotel is within comfortable walking distance of the shops, bars and restaurants of the Città Bassa (lower town)

The Piemontese has a modern décor and there are 50 rooms served by a lift, all with telephone, satellite television and wifi connection.

A generous buffet breakfast is served each day in the large breakfast room on the lower ground floor and there is an internet point in reception and car parking available for guests.

Transport advice

The hotel is a short bus or taxi ride from Bergamo Caravaggio airport at Orio al Serio.

There are coaches to the lakes and nearby towns from the bus station, which is close to the hotel in Via Bartolomeo Bono. Trains leave frequently to Milan, Brescia, Lecco, Cremona and further afield from the railway station.

To visit the Città Alta (upper town) you can either take the bus to the funicular railway station in Viale Vittorio Emanuele II, from where you will be conveyed up the steep hill by the funicular, or you can take the bus round the 15th century walls that surround the upper town and get off at Colle Aperto, which is next to Porta Sant’Alessandro, one of the city gates.

Editor’s note: ‘It was great to be able to just cross the square to the station in the mornings and board a train to Milan or Cremona and not have far to walk from the station back to the hotel at the end of an enjoyable day out.’

What to see in Bergamo

Città Bassa

Walk down Viale Papa Giovanni XXIII until you reach Via Sentierone. Turn right to see the 18th century Teatro Donizetti and next to it the monument to the composer Gaetano Donizetti, erected in 1897 in the centenary year of his birth in Bergamo. Opposite is Balzer, a bar founded in 1850 under the portici that has now become a Bergamo institution. 

The Accademia Carrara is one of Italy's finest art galleries
Further along Via Sentierone is the church of San Bartolomeo, which houses a large altarpiece by Renaissance artist Lorenzo Lotto depicting the Virgin Mary and child on a throne surrounded by saints.

Walk down Via Torquato Tasso to Piazzetta Santo Spirito, where the church of Santo Spirito also has a work by Lorenzo Lotto. Turn left into Via Pignolo and walk along until you reach the church of San Bernardino in Pignolo, also home to a Lotto masterpiece. Further along Via Pignolo you can turn right into Via San Tomaso, at the end of which you will find the Pinacoteca di Accademia Carrara, one of Italy’s finest art galleries.

Città Alta

If you ride up to Bergamo’s upper town on the funicular railway and step out into Piazza Mercato delle Scarpe you will feel as though you have travelled back in time.

Walk along narrow Via Gombito, which is thought to have existed during the Roman era. It is lined with shops and bars occupying the ground floors of medieval houses. 

The Cappella Colleoni and (bottom left) il Battistero in Piazzetta del Duomo
The Cappella Colleoni and (bottom left)
il Battistero in Piazzetta del Duomo
Via Gombito lead to Piazza Vecchia, a beautiful square with a 12th century building, il Palazzo della Ragione (Palace of Reason). Next to it, the big bell tower, il Campanone, dates back to at least the 12th century. Just in front of the Palazzo della Ragione is a statue of Torquato Tasso, one of the greatest Italian Renaissance poets, who was the son of a Bergamo nobleman. 

If you walk through the archways of the Palazzo della Ragione you will find yourself in the Piazzetta del Duomo, where in addition to il Duomo you will see the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore, the Cappella Colleoni, and il Battistero.

In nearby Via Arena is the Palazzo della Misericordia Maggiore, which houses a museum dedicated to the life of composer Gaetano Donizetti, who was born and died in Bergamo.

Another fascinating street leading off Piazza Vecchia is Via Colleoni, which is lined with shops, wine bars and restaurants housed in medieval buildings.

Bergamo food and wine

Sampling melt-in-the-mouth casoncelli alla bergamasca, topped with chopped bacon, sage, butter and grated cheese, is an unforgettable part of a stay in Bergamo.

Casoncelli alla bergamasca is a traditional Bergamo dish
Casoncelli, also sometimes referred to on menus as Casonsei, are a type of ravioli, filled with sausage meat, which has been mixed with several other vital ingredients, including finely chopped pears, sultanas and amaretti.

Casoncelli are believed to have originated in the countryside outside Bergamo, where they were originally created as a way of using up left over meat.

Enjoy your casoncelli with a glass of chilled Valcalepio Bianco, a light, dry white wine with a delicate fragrance, produced in the small valley between Bergamo and Lago d’Iseo. If you prefer red wine, try Valcalepio Rosso, which is dry and soft with an intense scent and goes well with red meat, polenta and local cheeses, such as taleggio.