Rustic Unusual

Il Baretto di San Vigilio (BG)

by Lavinia Colonna Preti
Il Baretto di San Vigilio (BG) — Lombardia Secrets

A small "Montmartre gourmand" located at the top of the San Vigilio hill right at the exit of the historic funicular, the most romantic way to reach the top of Bergamo Alta.

Once the landmark bar of the tiny village, located a few meters from the ancient Castle of the Upper Town of Bergamo, the story of Il Baretto began in 1965 when Tito and Antonietta Acquaroli took over its management, moving from the Lower Town. A few months earlier, they just happened to get up to San Vigilio in order to take back the jukebox they had rented to the previous owner of the place, who was just about to sell the license, and they fall in love with it, thanks to the beauty of its breathtaking view and the large spaces that would have allowed a more comfortable family life.

Today at the second and third generation, Tito’s son Beppe Acquaroli with his three children Annalisa, Lucia and Tito, with their warm hospitality, has turned Il Baretto into one of the most loved places in Lombardy. To the point that they had to keep its original nickname, Il Baretto, even when, in the 1990s, Beppe transformed it from a trattoria into a renowned restaurant as its customers carried on calling it baretto (small bar in Italian) as a term of endearment.

Il Baretto di San Vigilio (BG) — Lombardia Secrets

Through the choice of our suppliers and products grown with respect both for the environment and biodiversity, our mission is to help preserve the beauty of San Vigilio and our territory.

(Beppe Acquaroli, owner)

The initial comparison with Montmartre is not accidental, as Beppe, a great lover of France, was inspired by the Parisian bohemian bistros for the interiors of his restaurant, creating a timeless place, with warm wooden boiserie on the walls, where you can feel at home all day, perfect for a coffee break or a gourmand dinner.

Despite the tourist location, right next to the romantic funicular, everything at the Baretto is homemade and of a truly excellent quality. Bread, pasta, desserts and ice cream, everything is prepared fresh every day in the restaurant or in the laboratory that the family bought in the Lower Town in order to continue to experiment and create all sorts of delicatessens.

You will fall in love with its yummy cuisine since the serving of the amuse-gueule: it consists, in fact, in the famous butter of Il Baretto accompanied by slices of homemade bread, both prepared fresh every morning and now a characteristic of the place, to be paired with the starter of the day.

Il Baretto di San Vigilio (BG) — Lombardia Secrets

The philosophy behind the cuisine is truly special: for Beppe the choice of each supplier and raw material must contribute to maintaining the beauty of the place where they are born. This is why he chose as the house wine that of the Azienda Agricola Le Sorgenti, made in a small organic vineyard that grows 500 meters from the restaurant and produced in just a few thousand bottles, he prepares crostata, one of his signature cakes, with the blueberries of the Val Brambana, and makes salads with the escarole grown on the hills of Bergamo that he use to eat when he was a child.

A love for the territory that also translates into respect for its fauna and flora: the meat is supplied, in fact, exclusively from farms – such as the Peter Farm, which pay great attention to the welfare of the animals, for example leaving them free without ever transporting them in order not to make them suffer – the eggs come from hens raised on the ground, and the fish is exclusively caught on the hook.

Il Baretto di San Vigilio (BG) — Lombardia Secrets
Il Baretto di San Vigilio (BG) — Lombardia Secrets

On the menu we find traditional dishes such as casoncelli, a filled pasta rigorously prepared according to Grandma Giuseppina’s recipe with alpine butter from the Orobie mountains, Formai de Mut cheese and bread crumbs, beef in oil or mountain risotto with porcini mushrooms, taleggio cheese fondue and fermented blueberries.

The wine list is excellent with over 500 labels that once again reflect Beppe’s passions: from the great wines of Burgundy to the Bergamo ones, mainly coming from small producers.

The Baretto, one of the most romantic places in Bergamo, becomes magical at dusk when a thousand lights come to life and Beppe confides in us a final secret: it is said that this place brings luck to declarations of eternal love. True or not, it’s worth a try and let yourself be pampered by a truly unique hospitality and view. Otherwise, in case you haven’t found your soul mate, at the end of the dinner Beppe will offer you an artisan amaro accompanied by a good cigar!

The Secret

The beautiful San Vigilio funicular was inaugurated in 1912 and in 1913 Hermann Hesse, German writer and future Nobel laureate, made it immortal by writing: “a stupendous and completely different panorama unfolded to me: suspended above the city, between me and the green plain that the distance faded”. Closed in 1976, the funicular reopened in 1991 and has been a major tourist attraction in the city ever since.

Useful Info

Il Baretto di San Vigilio
Via al Castello 1
24100 Bergamo
Tel. +39 035 253191

Starters and first courses: 20 euro
Second courses: 22 euro
Cocktails: from 10 euro

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