Day 204: Bergamo via Crespi d'AddaSeptember 6, 2017 in Italy
Time to move on from Milan, and start our trip across northern Italy! First up was a walk to Milan central station, about 10 minutes or so, to pick up our next rental car. I was a bit concerned about it since this company doesn't have great reviews (it's not a major company), but aside from a long wait (90 minutes between arriving at the station and driving away) it was OK. New car is a Toyota Yaris hybrid - very strange to turn the engine on and have nothing happen, but you get used to it!
Drove north-east out of Milan, very carefully since Italian drivers are pretty crazy, heading for our first stop at Crespi d'Adda. This is a planned worker's community around a textile mill, similar to other UNESCO-listed factory towns we'd seen in England and elsewhere. It had a distinctly Italian flavour though, with larger separated houses rather than terraces, designed to include three generations of family. It also included a large church, priest house, doctor's house, a laundry area (really just concrete washbasins and running water) and even an indoor swimming pool!
Most of these facilities were long gone though, and the whole area was super quiet. Even the guy at the tourist info desk looked surprised when I walked in, though he didn't bother engaging any further beyond "buongiorno". Interesting little stop, though it feels like the least-visited WHS we've been to!
Back to the car where we continued heading north-east to the city of Bergamo. This is a very recent inclusion on the world heritage list, only getting added in July 2017. It's part of a 7-entry listing about the Defences of the Venetian Republic - this was their territory during the Renaissance, and Bergamo had a large old city perched on a hill surrounded by heavy fortifications.
We parked up and had a good wander around, since there was quite a lot to see. Very long walls and high over the more modern city below. Interesting stuff in the old city too like a cathedral and crypts of the Renaissance-era ruling family. And there was some sort of festival happening in town too, though it wasn't starting until tomorrow and they were finishing the setup. Had an ice-cream and enjoyed the sunshine, particularly since there were very few tourists around - mainly just us and the locals. Nice.
Back to the car where we drove to our apartment about 10 minutes out of town. It's in a normal apartment building, and it's just a regular 3-bedroom apartment with each of the rooms rented separately. It means we're sharing a bathroom but that's not a big deal, particularly for just one night. The other couple didn't come home until quite late anyway, and we didn't notice anyone in the third room.
Had pizza by the slice from a pizzeria on the ground floor of the building, enormous slices and very tasty. I know pizza is a southern Italian dish, but it's just ubiquitous across the country these days and almost always good quality. Hard to resist.Read more