Bergamo isn’t the first place you think of for a visit with kids, but that’s actually part of the reason I think it makes a great place to visit as a family – there’s something in Bergamo from toddlers to teens to adults, so at the end of your time in the city, everyone leaves feeling satisfied.
More reasons Bergamo is a great place to visit with kids:
- There are two funiculars in Bergamo
- Bergamo has tower climbs and multiple viewpoints
- Stracciatella gelato was invented in Bergamo!
- Bergamo has many pedestrian streets and piazzas where kids can run around
- You can use your stroller on Bergamo’s streets
- There are a lot of green areas in Bergamo that are perfect for picnics or playing
- Bergamo has rainy-day options for families (like the Museum of Natural Sciences)
- There are a variety of dining options for families in Bergamo
- It’s really clean and tidy so you don’t have to worry about your toddler picking up and eating cigarette butts
Have I convinced you yet?
Let’s take a look at how you can make a visit to Bergamo fun, smooth, and stress-free for your entire family!
Where is Bergamo?
Bergamo is a city in Northern Italy in the Lombardy region. It’s not as well-known as its neighbors like Milan, Como, or cities on Lake Garda, but it’s definitely worth a visit if you’re in the neighborhood.
Map of Bergamo, Italy
When to Visit Bergamo with Kids
I think Bergamo is best for families when the kids can run around the streets and piazzas and play in the playgrounds when it’s not raining, so a late spring through early fall visit is best. But, even if it does rain, you can still explore the museums and eat gelato and sugar cookies!
It doesn’t get incredibly hot in the summer in Bergamo like it does in some other Italian cities, and there’s quite a bit of shade, so I wouldn’t shy away from visiting in the summer months.
How Much Time to Spend in Bergamo with Kids
I think the ideal amount of time in Bergamo if you’re traveling with kids is 1-2 days.
Things to Do in Bergamo with Kids
If you’re only visiting for the day, my top four things to do in Bergamo with kids are:
- Take one or both funiculars
- Climb the bell tower in Piazza Duomo
- Visit the Museum of Natural Sciences
- Have stracciatella gelato from La Marianna
Take a Funicular Ride
‘Fun’ is in the name, so it must be, right? Kids tend to have a blast riding on a funicular (funicolare in Italian), and Bergamo’s is no exception.
The funicular takes you from lower Bergamo (Città Bassa) to upper Bergamo (Città Alta), which is the older part of the city.
You can also take a bonus funicular up to castle ruins (Castello di San Vigilio) for amazing views of Bergamo and surroundings.
Helpful Tip: Have your kids sit by a window because they fill up with standing folks and the best place to see if from the window.
Good To Know: You may need to fold up your stroller if the funicular is crowded.
Climb the Bell Tower in Piazza Duomo
The campanone, or ‘big bell’ is the tower in Piazza Duomo. For a small fee (kids are free), you can climb up or take the elevator.
The climb up is totally enclosed, on wide-ish stone steps, with the center taken up by a glass-walled elevator. The last part has narrow steps, and you may need to duck down a bit (I’m 5’9” and had to).
Once you’re at the top, you can take in the 360° views of Bergamo Alta, and you can see the plains and mountains in the distance. There are signs that show you what you’re looking at.
Important: I noticed a wide opening in one section at the top of the tower (that a tiny child could squeeze through), so keep your small children close!
Helpful Tip: Before or after climbing the tower, use the toilets (small fee) next door to the tower.
Good To Know: If you have a stroller, you can leave it at the base of the tower just across from the ticket counter.
Visit the Museum of Natural Sciences
The Museo Civico di Scienze Naturali is a must for a family visit to Bergamo and it’s set up well so you can have an enjoyable 1-hr-ish visit and be on your way.
The museum’s highlights for kids include:
- The huge mammoth and her baby
- Taxidermied animals – mammals, birds, reptiles, and more
- The Allosaurus skeleton
Helpful Tip: Before you leave, use the family-friendly toilet. There are changing tables. If you bring a stroller, you’ll need to use the elevator a couple of times (or carry your stroller up and down stairs).
Good To Know: There aren’t English explanations on the exhibits, but you can pick up a pamphlet in English that explains some of the important things you’ll see in the museum.
Have Stracciatella Gelato at the Source
Pasticceria La Marianna is the place to go to for a cone of stracciatella gelato. Did you know the flavor was invented right here in Bergamo? The owner of Upper Bergamo’s Pasticceria La Marianna (right in Colle Aperto) created the recipe in 1961 by mimicking his recipe for stracciatella soup (broth with beaten egg) – mixing cream gelato with broken ribbons of dark chocolate (a bit like chocolate chip ice cream).
As an alternative, you could also get a pastry at La Marianna or Il Fornaio (on Via Colleoni). Both have decorated sugar cookies. And, there’s a small candy shop, Caramellata, on Via Colleoni near Piazza Cittadella with candy bins (and for adults, Leone candies).
Look for Lions
Bergamo was once under the Venetian rule, and you’ll see the Lions of Venice throughout the city. See how many lions your children can find. We like to start with the lions standing guard outside the Basilica.
You May Be Interested: Also, depending on your kids’ personalities, you may want to show them the coat of arms on the gate of the Colleoni Chapel. Bartolomeo Colleoni’s coat of arms had three testicles because, apparently, he did. You’ll notice the testicles are worn smooth – that’s because at midnight, if you come to the piazza and rub them, good luck will come your way!
Play with Local Kids at a Playground
Upper Bergamo’s main playground (Giardino La Crotta) is small, but it’s always full of local children. It’s at the Colle Aperto, across the street from Pasticceria La Marianna (perfect for a playground-gelato combo). There aren’t many toys to play on (swings, net swing, rocker toys, kids play structure with slide). The ground is padded, which is perfect for small kids, and there are benches and shade for adults. There are pay toilets and there’s a water fountain in front of the park.
Parco Suardi in Città Bassa is much larger and has more toys, but it may not be convenient for you if you’re spending the day in the upper part of the city.
If you want a quiet space for your child to explore, the Botanical Garden (Orto Botanico di Bergamo – Lorenzo Rota) is just across the road from the Giardino La Crotta.
Take the Little Train or Minibus
You’ll see the little red train (trenino) and little red electric bus scooting around Bergamo Bassa and Bergamo Alta. You can buy tickets for one or both from Bergamo City Tour. While you probably won’t use the audioguides with your kids, riding these small vehicles is a fun way to see the city without tiring out little legs.
Hang Out in One of Bergamo’s Piazzas
If your kids love running around in Italian piazzas, you’re in luck. The best piazzas for kids in Bergamo Alta are:
- Piazza Mercato delle Scarpe
- Piazza Vecchia
- Piazza Cittadella
Important: Always be on the lookout for cars, even if you’re in a pedestrian area.
Where to Eat with Kids in Bergamo
Il Fornaio – One-stop shop for pizza / focaccia, pastries, and decorated sugar cookies; take a number and choose what you’d like a slice of.
Make a Picnic – Pick up supplies at the Carrefour Express, a small grocery store on Via Colleoni and enjoy a picnic in the grass along the city walls.
Café on Piazza Vecchia – Choose one of the cafés on the piazza, eat, and let the kids play while you finish up your meal.
If your kids like to try local foods, they may want to sample:
- casoncelli (like ravioli but with meat, bacon, sage, butter
- local cheeses like taleggio
Bergamo with Kids Logistics
Strollers – Bergamo is stroller-friendly. There are a lot of pedestrian streets and piazzas, so you don’t need to worry about always staying on a sidewalk. There are a lot of cobblestones, which can make for a bumpy ride in some strollers (or it may lull your child to sleep). You may need to fold up your stroller on crowded public transport. If you need to walk your baby to sleep, there are a ton of paths along the city walls that are smooth and wide and perfect for pushing a stroller. Read more about Strollers in Italy.
Playgrounds – La Crotta in Città Alta and Parco Suardi in Città Bassa.
Water – There are a few water fountains in town, including one in front of the Città Alta playground at Giardino La Crotta.
Diaper Changes – I saw quite a few changing tables in Bergamo. Ask in your restaurant or café, or use the tables in museums.
Getting to Bergamo with Kids
It’s easy to get to Bergamo by car, train, and plane.
Read more about arriving in Bergamo in this section of our general post on Bergamo.
Traveling to Bergamo on a Day Trip
If you’re arriving in Bergamo on a day trip by car, the multi-level Parcheggio Piazza Libertà is a convenient parking lot. It’s in lower Bergamo, just a 10-minute walk to the funicular up to Città Alta. The walk is on a wide sidewalk and easy with a stroller.
If you’re arriving by train for your day trip, you may want to take the bus from the bus station just across the street from the train station.
Traveling to Bergamo with Kids and Luggage
If you’ll be staying in Bergamo overnight, contact your accommodation to find out the best way to arrive with your luggage. Dragging kids and suitcases on multiple types of public transport isn’t much fun, so you’ll want to know the quickest and most efficient way to your hotel or apartment.
Getting Around Bergamo with Kids
Bergamo is a very walkable city – especially upper Bergamo, where you’ll likely spend most (or all) of your time.
The city is stroller friendly, and upper Bergamo has plenty of pedestrian streets and piazzas which are perfect for exploring with children.
You can also use the funiculars, taxis, or buses to get around the city.
Enjoy your visit to Bergamo with your kids!