Stepping in to Italy is like stepping in to a freshly run bath after a stressful day. It’s warm, perhaps a degree or so too much, and as you ease yourself in to it and adjust to the temperature you instantly feel relaxed.
Life seems to go at a different pace here, and I find it more common to see a tranquil smile, rather than the stern line of the typical British commuter. We are in Bergamo, a town near Milan. We got off the plane, on to a bus, and got a tram in to Old Town.
When planning our trip, we decided to have a split flight between Budapest and Manchester to have a few hours to explore this place. Explore would be a strong word for what we actually did, which was pretty much eat, find shade, and sit down.
But saying that – I did find the energy to take a wander down the streets, and stumbled across this gorgeous view:
Bergamo is a beautiful place to walk around. I felt like I was getting a real taste of Italy (and not the pizza and ice-cream, more on the former later) for the locals were out enjoying the sunshine just as much as were. No gimmicks, no packed out squares, just a feeling of piece tucked in the cobbles and laughter carried by a light breeze.
We find a spot, where we spend the majority of our time. I am sat on the steps just outside a church -feeling the most British I have for the whole holiday: an obvious shade-seeker, my pale skin getting in the way of the odd tourist photograph.
I feel like there would be more to offer in this town, and would happily spend a few days here. But what we are doing is we need: a warm rest in quite possibly the most relaxed town I’ve ever visited (which is saying something considering I live in a spa town.)
X marks the spot:
Piazza Vecchia, Bergamo, Italy
We spent a much needed couple of hours here to get out of the sun during its peak time of the day; to try and let the feeling of plane wash off in the water that was sprayed lightly from time to time. Flora Bar was the perfect spot. A Margherita pizza was €7. and it was at the edge of the beautiful Piazza Vecchia.
What really sold this spot to me, was the owner, or, at least, I assumed that’s who she was. Grey-haired, slender and moved with an airy grace – she was constantly attentive to each of her guests (but had the knack of knowing just when to approach, and when to leave them) She helped pull her chairs out for us, and smiled patiently at our incredibly basic Italian.
“Grazi, grazi,” we stumbled, our vowels sounding clumsy even to our ears as she set our food on the table.
My first bite in to the pizza was so very wonderful. I savoured each chew, and could not get over how good cheese, tomato on dough tasted. If you find yourself in this old Italian town, please make sure you go here – trust me: you will not regret it.