Porta San Giacomo (Saint James Gate) is one of the four Venetian gates of the Città Alta, the ancient part of Bergamo. The gate represents the southern entrance to the old city, and due to its elevated position, it can be seen from afar.
The construction of the Venetian walls (Mura Venete) surrounding the Città Alta began in 1561, as part of a defensive system meant to protect the western territories of the Venetian Republic from Milan, which, after the peace treaty signed in 1559 at Cateau-Cambrésis, became a Spanish province.
The Venetian walls have four gates: Porta San Lorenzo, Porta Sant’Agostino, Porta Sant’Alessandro and Porta San Giacomo. The gates were named, except for the Porta Sant’Agostino, after neighbouring churches.
Porta San Giacomo was built in 1593, replacing a wooden structure dating back to the middle of the 16th century. The gate was completed with a fresco depicting the winged lion of Saint Mark by Gian Paolo Cavagna.
The masonry bridge leading to the gate was built in 1780, and renovated at the end of the 19th century, to enlarge the access area to the Medolago Alabani palace, located nearby. The two small arches of the gate were opened in 1939 for the same reason.
Starting with July 9, 2017, the Venetian walls became an UNESCO World Heritage Site under the denomination of Venetian Works of Defence between the 16th and 17th Centuries: Stato da Terra –Stato da Mar.
The facade of the gate, in white marble extracted from Zandobbio’s quarries, from the near Cavallina Valley, was designed by Buonaiuto Lorini.
The gate consists of a triangular pediment, with pinnacles on each side, supported by classical semi-columns. The winged lion of Saint Mark, symbol of the Venetian Republic, is placed in the central entablature.
HOW TO GET THERE
Porta San Giacomo is located about 2 kilometers away from the Bergamo railway station. The closest bus stop is in Viale delle Mura 40, about 50 meters away, on the bus Lines 1, 3 and 10.