Map of the itineraries
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Leave the A4 motorway at Capriate, continue to Sotto il Monte Giovanni XXIII, at the foot of the mountain Monte Canto, where you can visit the birthplace of Pope Giovanni, and walk the short distance up to the famous Abbey of Sant’Egidio, a jewel of tenth-century Romanesque art.
Head down onto the plain to reach Villa Traversi in Valtrighe, then continue through Mapello and Ambivere and onto the road for Lecco. This brings you to Pontida, famous for its abbey and adjoining Benedictine monastery, founded in the 11th century.
Go back along the state road towards Bergamo for about 4 kilometres, then turn left for Barzana and on to Almenno San Bartolomeo. Just after the town, on one bank of the stream Tornago, you can visit one of the most suggestive Romanesque buildings in all of Lombardy: the Temple of San Tomè. Then cross the stream to reach Almenno San Salvatore.
Here you can admire the churches of San Nicola, San Giorgio and San Salvatore, as well as the Sanctuary of the Madonna del Castello, or “Madonna of the Castle”. Continue in the direction of Almè-Bergamo, passing through Petosino, to rejoin the A4 motorway.
Leave the A4 motorway at Bergamo to reach the upper part of the city, with its famous walls and Piazza Vecchia, the “Old Square”. In the lower part of the city, the art gallery Pinacoteca dell’Accademia Carrara is well worth a visit.
Then take the road to Scanzorosciate, passing through Villa di Serio, to reach Torre de’ Roveri. Head up the Colle dei Pasta hill, where you can enjoy a splendid view of the plain below. Then go down to Cenate Sopra, where you can visit the Valpredina nature reserve, which is managed by the WWF.
Next, continue to San Paolo d’Argon, where you can visit the Benedictine monastery and the Romanesque church of San Pietro delle Passere, “Saint Peter of the Sparrows”. Continuing through Trescore Balneario, you will be able to admire Villa Suardi and the adjoining Oratory of Santa Barbara, with its splendid fresco of Cristo delle Vigne, or “Christ of the Vines”, by Lorenzo Lotto. Head down to Gorlago, and, from there, to Carobbio degli Angeli, where you can admire its splendid castle. Rejoin the motorway at Grumello del Monte, or, on the way back to Bergamo, at Seriate.
Leave the A4 motorway at Ponte Oglio, follow the state road to Sarnico, passing through Tagliuno to reach Castelli Calepio, where you can visit the Castle of the Counts of Calepio, the Carolingio Palace, the Church of San Lorenzo and the restored medieval village.
Continue on to Credaro for a brief visit of the church of San Giorgio, which houses frescoes by Lorenzo Lotto, including one of Saints Fermo and Rustico. There, you can also admire the castles of Montecchio and Trebecco. Next, visit the church of San Nazario in Castione on the way into the town of Sarnico, the pearl of Lake Iseo, also known as Sebino. This important commercial and touristic town is renowned, among other things, for its two magnificent Liberty style villas of the Faccanoni family.
Heading back in the direction of Villongo, follow the Uria Valley until you reach Adrara San Martino, home to some prehistoric and Roman settlements and a medieval castle.
If you head for Foresto Sparso, you can visit the Sanctuary of San Giovanni delle Formiche, or “Saint John of the Ants”. Back down in Villongo, visit the Romanesque Church of Sant’Alessandro and the parish complex, which houses a valuable statue of the Madonna del Fantoni, before making your way up the Gandosso Valley. Continue towards Grumello del Monte, making a stop at the Gonzaga Castle and the hamlet of San Pantaleone, with its time-worn, rustic houses. From there you can easily rejoin the A4 motorway.