Bergamo's Palaeontological Park

Situated halfway between the Po Valley and the majestic Alpine heights, the province of Bergamo boasts enchanting environmental settings gathering unspoilt natural reserves, green valleys and protected oases which offer sweeping views of the surrounding landscapes.

The Park of Bergamo Alps is a wooded mountain area which develops on the slopes of the homonymous mountain range. The southern slope of the massif is included in the Park of Bergamo Alps, while the northern side is part of Valtellina. The Park is a traditional holiday destination both in summer and in winter, since it is populated by rare species of animals and plants.

The most peculiar pattern of the Park of Bergamo Alps is the fact it is crossed by plenty of waterways, lakes, streams and rivers which form deep valleys, such as the ones which had been hollowed out by the stream Enna in Val Taleggio, and impressive waterfalls. The 315-metre-high Serio Waterfall in Valbondione, which is the highest in Italy, offers tourists thrilling emotions, and so do the waterfalls of Valle di Scalve and Val Sambuzza, the latter flowing in the charming village of Pagliari di Carona.

The abundance of water in the Park of Bergamo Alps allowed the proliferation of a wide variety of exquisite Alpine plants. The Alpine slopes are carpeted with beech-trees, hazels, ash trees and birches, while at an altitude of over 1000 metres the territory is occupied by thick woods of spruces and high pastures. In spring, Bergamo Prealps, which are made up of white limestone rocks, are carpeted with green meadows of daisies, yellow buttercups, lilies, edelweisses, cyclamens and many more. Mount Arera boasts breathtaking views over this enchanting landscape and gives tourists the possibility to explore the colourful and scented Footpath of Flowers.

Sportsmen and trekking lovers won't miss the opportunity to explore the Footpath of theBergamo Alps, a mountain itinerary which extends across 160 kilometres and leads climbers to the main Alpine shelters of the surrounding area. The footpath is situated at an altitude  of  1.500 - 2.800 metres above sea level and crosses the whole Park of Bergamo Alps. The easily accessible western stretch departs from Stabina Valley and leads to Fratelli Calvi Shelter, which is the point of departure of the second stretch of the itinerary, which leads east up to Conca della Presolana. The second stretch gathers rough routes with fixed ropes and iron steps and is to be covered by expert climbers only.

Not to be missed is the original Palaeontological Park of Cene, situated just in the heart of Val Seriana. The foothills of the Bergamo Alps which are included in the park gather precious corals, fish and reptile fossils, which bear witness to the fact 220 million years ago the whole area was occupied by a Tropical Sea featuring small islands, lagoons and coral reefs. The Park is punctuated with plenty of interesting informative panels, and skilled guides illustrate the most interesting aspects of the itinerary.

This mountain area is dramatically offset by the flat landscape of the Park of Northern Adda, where wetlands and marshes are dotted with water plants, water lilies, wild lilies and lilies of the valley.  The course of the river is flanked by outstanding works of hydraulic engineering.

Those flocking to Bergamo who do not want to leave the city centre can visit the Park of Bergamo's Hills,  which is situated amidst the gentle slopes of Bergamo Alta. They will have the opportunity to enjoy breathtaking views over the natural amphitheatre of the Bergamo Alps, to take part in interesting educational itineraries arranged for children and to visit Lorenzo Rota Botanical Garden, the latter hosting more than 900 species of exotic flowers and plants.