Bergamo is a city and comune in Lombardy, Italy, about 40 km northeast of Milan. The comune is home to over 120,000 inhabitants. It is served by the Orio al Serio Airport, which also serves the Province of Bergamo and the metropolitan area of Milan. The foothills of the Alps begin immediately north of the town.
Bergamo occupies the site of the ancient town of Bergomum, founded as a settlement of the Celtic tribe of Cenomani. In 49 BC it became a Roman municipality, containing c. 10,000 inhabitants at its peak. An important hub on the military road between Friuli and Raetia, it was destroyed by Attila in the 5th century.
From the 6th century Bergamo was the seat of one of the most important Lombard duchies of northern Italy, together with Brescia, Trento and Cividale del Friuli: its first Lombard duke was Wallaris. After the conquest of the Lombard Kingdom by Charlemagne, it became the seat of a county under one Auteramus (died 816).
From the 11th century onwards Bergamo was an independent commune, taking part in the Lombard League which defeated Frederick I Barbarossa in 1165. Caught in the bitter fights between Guelphs and Ghibellines, led in the city by the Colleoni and the Suardi respectively, from 1264 Bergamo was intermittently under the rule of Milan. In 1331 it gave itself to John of Bohemia, but later the Visconti of Milan reconquered it.
Renaissance and modern era
After a short conquest by the Malatesta in 1407, in 1428 it fell under the control of the Venetian Republic, remaining part of it until 1797. Between 1797 and 1815, Bergamo and its territory were included in the political entities born in North Italy during the French and Napoleonic dominion. Notably, the Venetians fortified the higher portion of the town (see Main sights section).
19th and 20th century
In 1815, it was assigned to the Austrian Empire. Giuseppe Garibaldi freed it in 1859 during the Second Italian War of Independence, when Bergamo became part of the Kingdom of Italy. For its contribution to "Il Risorgimento" the city is also known as "Città dei Mille" ("City of the Thousand"). During the 20th century Bergamo become one of Italy's most industrialized cities. It is also one of the few Italian cities that did not suffer major destruction during World War II.