Santa Caterina was a great option in Bergamo. Refurbished bedrooms and bathrooms; exceptionally clean; comfortable beds; and breakfast of yoghurts, fruit, pastries and very good coffee. Our hosts were fantastic – funny charming and extremely helpful – with their few words of English, our few words of Italian , a shared smattering of French and a good phrase book we had some truly entertaining conversations but always got there in the end.
The hotel is well located for a stroll up to the old town – it is a steep climb but with so many beautiful buildings and shops to see en route and such fantastic views it is truly breath taking. Alternatively, you can take the funicular ,which is a 10 minute or so walk from the hotel, or catch one of the local buses from the end of the road which will also take you to the new part of the town. (Bergamo also has the usual hop-on-and-off tourist bus) Transport is easy to use and local people are very friendly and are only too willing to help. Bergamo feels like a loved and lived in town. There is plenty of interest for visitors and also an array of old bars and restaurants and beautiful traditional shops - unsurprisingly, price tags are a lot cheaper than Milan. A good, average meal of two courses with wine will cost under 20 Euros and fabulous pizzas around 6 or 7 Euros. A good option for eating near the hotel is Vesusvio – don’t be put off by its lack of immediate charm – the place was packed full of locals and the food was excellent and very good value.
We spent a day in Milan taking the train form bergamo station – well worth a visit to the Duomo and surrounding area but it was also good getting back to Bergamo and for us, a much better , more attractive (and cheaper!) option than stopping in Milan. I would definitely recommend Bergamo and Santa Caterina for a great long weekend break .
Practical information: Taxi from the airport around 20 euros (there is also a shuttle to the station in Bergamo) ; Station to the hotel is around 10 euros. Train to Milan takes around 50 minutes and costs 9 euros. Bus tickets in and around Begramo are 1 euro and are valid for up to 75 minutes. (Tickets need to be validated in yellow machines on the station or on the bus.)
Summed up, and using one of my new Italian words –our break, Hotel Santa Caterina, Bergamo and especially our hosts were simply – ‘Perfetto’ !!
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