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    Car hire in Bergamo - Explore Lombardy 

    Bergamo is a lovely city in the Lombardy region of northern Italy, conveniently located about 30 miles north-east of Milan and 20 miles from Lakes Como and Iseo.

    With the foothills of the Bergamo Alps situated a few miles north of the city, the perfect holiday plan is to book a car hire in Bergamo and explore the local area before enjoying a long and leisurely drive up into the mountains.

    Bergamo is unusual in that it has two centres separated both physically and symbolically by the city’s robust Venetian walls. Città Alta (the upper city) is a hilltop medieval town of charming squares and quaint cobblestone streets, while the Città Bassa (lower city) is the financial centre and more modern part of town.

    Ancient and beguiling, Bergamo is a city of rare beauty and one of the most scenic places in the whole of Italy. Gifted with an acropolis and old ramparts turned into promenades, it was once described as 'an Italian masterpiece in the shadow of the Alps'.

    Stretched over the Lombard plain at the confluence of the Brembo and Serio rivers, Bergamo (derived from berg-heim, meaning hill town) was probably founded by Celtic settlers in the 4th to the 3rd centuries BC. Another milestone in the city’s history was its incorporation into the Venetian State in 1428, which lasted for over three hundred and fifty years.

    The well-preserved ring of walls built by the Venetians in the 16th century marks the boundary of the enchanting Upper Bergamo district, accessible by an old funicular railway. The area abounds in history, with many vestiges of the city’s past evident in its medieval streets and cobblestone alleyways.

    The surrounding Lombardo region has multiple possibilities for visitors exploring the area by car, with the Italian Lake District and all the old art towns and villages of this enchanting area having lured tourists from all over the world for centuries.

    As one of the market-leading car hire brokers, Auto Europe works very closely with all the world’s top car rental companies, including Thrifty, Budget, Avis, Europcar and Hertz. With over 24,000 pick-up locations in more than 180 different countries, including the nearby cities of Brescia and Milan, we cater for all budgets large or small by offering the right car at the right price.

    Book your car rental in Bergamo in a few clicks using the Auto Europe booking engine or by calling our rental specialists available seven days a week on +44 123 3225 114. For more information about getting around Italy by car, please consult our Italy driving guide for help with driving distances, road rules and age restrictions, etc. Furthermore, you can read what others have to say about their recent Auto Europe rental experience by clicking the following link to access our Bergamo car hire reviews section.

    How's the traffic in Bergamo?

    An ancient city with many narrow cobblestone streets, Bergamo can be a challenge for car drivers, especially in the elevated Upper Town (Città Alta) where it's probably more advisable to get around on foot or by bicycle. The routes to Milan (an hour or so's drive to the south-west of Bergamo) are often busy with a high volume of traffic, including many lorries (most notably during the morning and evening rush-hours and even on weekends), so it's best to leave plenty of time for your journey or take a more leisurely and enjoyable route to Milan through the countryside.

    Where can I park my car hire in Bergamo?

    Bergamo is not large and most of the tourist sights can be reached comfortably on foot. However, there's plenty of on-street parking in and around both city centres (Città Alta and Città Bassa), although there's great demand for these amongst the locals, like any other town or city anywhere in the world. Our best advice is to leave your car in one of the paid municipal car parks recommended by the Bergamo Tourist Board, the list of which includes Piazza Libertà, Central Parking - via Paleocapa, Triangolo - via Palma il Vecchio, Predaparking - via Pitentino, Ecolparking - via Ghislandi, Via Borfuro, San Marco - Piazza Repubblica, Via Camozzi (presso Pam), Via Tiraboschi, (presso Oviesse/Billa), Via Casalino Via Baschenis, Via Pinamonte da Brembate, Via B. Palazzo (presso GS), Via Previtali and Parking express (via Spino, 12).

    Bergamo Airport

    In recent years, Bergamo Airport has become very popular with travellers looking for low-cost air travel to Milan. Despite being the furthest of the city's three airports (after Malpensa and Linate), it offers a very efficient transport network into Milan, with passengers able to reach the city centre within an hour at a very reasonable price. Milan Bergamo Airport (sometimes also referred to as Orio al Serio Airport) is located in the middle of the Lombardy region, just 3 miles from Bergamo and approximately 30 miles from Milan. Opened in 1972, the airport was expanded in 2003 when Ryanair starting operating there. The airport has two VIP lounges designed as welcoming areas for all travellers, including Economy ticket holders, as well as special 24-hour Fast Track services offering passengers the chance to avoid long queues for security checks. Other facilities include the Sala Amica (a special assistance room for passengers with reduced mobility) and a smoking area with an outdoor patio.

    Bergamo Airport (BGY)
    Website: www.milanbergamoairport.it/en/
    Telephone:+39 35 326323
    Address: Via Orio al Serio 49/51, 24025 Grassobbio (BG) Italia

    What to do in Bergamo

    Boasting an imperious position overlooking the rest of the city, Bergamo Alta is the main area of tourist interest and a true pearl of preserved medieval architecture huddled together within the city's ancient walls. At its heart are two closely-linked squares, the Piazza Vecchia and Piazza del Duomo, the first of which fronts one of Europe’s oldest civic palaces, the delightful Palazzo della Ragione.

    • Piazza Vecchia: Very much a symbol of the city, Piazza Vecchia dates all the way back to 1300 and is still lined by many of the important buildings of that period, including a palace (now a library with 500,000 volumes), the beautifully-preserved Civic Tower (Torre del Comune) and Domus Suardorum, now home to the city’s famous university.

    • Santa Maria Maggiore: Constructed in 1137 as a Romanesque basilica, the magnificent Church of Santa Maria Maggiore is most striking for its frescoes, stuccos, tapestries and wooden figures by the renowned Venetian artist Lorenzo Lotto (1480-1557). Besides its fine Renaissance choir stalls, the church is also notable for its unusual façade and the fact that there's no main door, just side entrances.

    • Natural Science Museum: Bergamo's Museo Civico di Scienze Naturali houses a wide array of fossils and a shimmering collection of minerals. The museum's star exhibits include the skeleton of an Allosaurus (bipedal dinosaur) and a life-size mammoth which greets you as you walk through the front door.

    • Bergamo Cathedral: Dedicated to St Alexander of Bergamo (the city's patron saint), Bergamo Cathedral stands on the exact spot where the great saint was cruelly martyred in 303 AD. With its striking Neoclassical façade, the building dates back to 1459 and the interior has many interesting features, including beautiful Baroque choir stalls and some rare paintings by the Italian artists Tiepolo, Previtali and Moroni.

    • Donizetti Museum: An important composer in the early 19th century, Bergamo-born Gaetano Donizetti (1797-1848) played a significant role in continuing and expanding the lyrical bel canto tradition of Rossini's operas. Ornately decorated, this splendid museum depicts his life and work aided by the occasional live performance.

    Best day trips with my car rental in Bergamo

    Rich in art and architectural gems, the surrounding Lombardy region of northern Italy holds many pleasant surprises for visitors exploring the area with their rent a car in Bergamo. Countless monuments and medieval villages await road-trippers driving around the idyllic settings of Lakes Como, Iseo and Garda, all of which are within striking distance of Bergamo.

    San Pellegrino

    Set in the foothills of the Bergamo Alps, the spa town of San Pellegrino attracts visitors from all over the world because of its sparkling natural spring water, which rises from three springs on the right bank of the River Brembo. Located just 15 miles north of Bergamo, this lovely wooded spa destination is the perfect place to relax after a few days' city sightseeing.

    Le Cornelle Animal Park

    A short drive to the north-west of Bergamo brings you to the Parco Faunistico Le Cornelle, a modern zoo specialising in the protection of rare animals, including the white Bengal tiger. Themed areas include the Cheetah Oasis, Tropical Forest, Savannah, Pinnawala Elephant Compound and the ever-popular Aldabra Island, home to the almost-extinct Seychelles tortoise.

    Milan

    No visit to Bergamo is complete without at least a day spent exploring the magnificent city of Milan, just 30 miles to the south-west. With its influential past and vast cultural heritage, Milan has many must-see attractions, including a massive 14th-century cathedral, the amazing Leonardo da Vinci National Museum of Science and Technology and one of the world's most famous shopping centres, the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II.

    Lake Maggiore

    For the pleasure of spending a few hours in paradise, head for Lake Maggiore located approximately 75 miles (an hour and a half) north-west of Bergamo. Don't miss the chance to visit the Borromeans, a group of three gorgeous islands off the lake's south-western shoreline, one of which is a working and extremely picturesque fishing village.

    Geographic Information & History

    Situated in the eastern part of Italy's fertile Lombardy region, Bergamo occupies the central part of the Alpine foothills as well as a section of the Po River plain. Quite mountainous in some places, the nearby valleys of Brembana and Seriana have numerous ski slopes of varying degrees of difficulty, while in late spring and summer the whole area is blanketed in lush vegetation, making Bergamo a perfect destination for cycling and hiking as well as leisurely road trips. The famous lakes of Lombardy are a comfortable drive away from the city, offering all manner of outdoor pursuits, including water sports, bathing and boat trips.

    Occupying the ancient site of Bergomum, the city was occupied by the Romans who developed it into a sizeable town of some 10,000 people. It subsequently became an important military base before being destroyed by Attila the Hun in 5 AD, later becoming an independent commune and the seat of a Lombard duchy in the 12th century. From the 15th to 18th centuries, Bergamo was the extreme western outpost of the Republic of Venice, after which it played a major role in the unification of Italy in the 19th century.

    How to get around Bergamo

    Founded in 1907, ATB (Azienda Trasporti Bergamo) operates an efficient public transport network in and around the Bergamo area, incorporating buses, trams, services for people of reduced mobility and the city's ever-popular funicular railways.

    Car

    The A4 motorway links Bergamo with its international airport, while the A58 serves several other destinations, including Milan (45 minutes), Lodi (55 minutes), Pavia (80 minutes) and Piacenza (75 minutes). Be warned that when exploring the area with your car hire in Bergamo, the motroway connecting Bergamo and Milan attracts a lot of trucks and sometimes gets quite congested, so if you're heading to the airport to catch a flight, it's best not rely on the regular journey time, especially on weekdays.

    Bus

    A good choice of bus operators offer regular services between the airport and downtown Bergamo, including Autostradale, Orio Shuttle, Terravision and Flixbus. The local public transport operator ATB (Azienda Trasporti Bergamo) also runs regular buses to Bergamo railway station from Milan Bergamo Airport, a journey that takes around ten minutes. Bus route number 1 is the most convenient for tourists as it connects the airport with the railway station, the Citta Alta (Upper Town) and several other points of interest, including the Orio shopping centre (opposite the airport), Stazione FS (for the main railway station) and Porta Nuova (for the Citta Bassa lower town).

    Tram

    The local tram company TEB (Tramvie Elettriche Bergamasche) operates regular services between Bergamo and the Lower Seriana Valley north-east of the city. The route to Albino connects with a series of hiking and cycle lanes along the way, with limited space for bicycles during the week and no bikes allowed during the morning and evening rush-hours.

    Train

    Rail operator ATB (Azienda Trasporti Bergamo) runs regular trains to Bergamo railway station from Milan Bergamo Airport, a journey that takes around ten minutes. Regional train services to Milan (50 minutes), Lecco and Brescia (where you can change for Verona and Venice) are operated by Trenitalia, departing from Bergamo's Stazione Ferroviaria (train station) located at Piazza Marconi 7 at the southern end of the Lower Town.

    Taxi

    Taxis are plentiful in Bergamo due to the close proximity of the airport, now one of the busiest in Italy. A good choice of taxi companies offer reliable cab services to Bergamo, Milan and beyond.

    Funicular

    There are two funicular railways in Bergamo, the Funicolare Città Bassa-Città Alta which connects the Lower and Upper Towns and the Funicolare San Vigilio linking Città Alta (Upper Town) with the city's San Vigilio district.

    Useful links

    Bergamo Public Transport

    Bergamo Tourist Info