The Church of Sant’Agostino is a beautiful church in Bergamo, located near the eastern walls of the Città Alta and the homonymous gate of the city. Since 2015, the church houses the Aula Magna of the University of Bergamo.
The Church of Sant’Agostino was built starting with 1290, on the site of a pre-existing church dedicated to Saints Philip and James.
The new church was dedicated to Saints Philip, James and Augustine, and was consecrated on February 11, 1347, by the bishop Bernardo Bernardi.
In the early 15th century, the church and the adjacent monastery were in a serious state of decay, and the complex was completely abandoned in 1441.
Around the middle of the 15th century, the friar Giovanni da Novara obtained permission to sell some properties of the church, and used the money thus obtained to repair some of the buildings of the monastic complex.
During the 15th century, seven chapels were built on each side of the church, for important families of Bergamo, who, in turn, donated the funds needed to repair the buildings. Jacopo Filippo Foresti was the friar responsible for the reconstruction of the church, with the contributions obtained from the families.
The construction of the Venetian walls led to the demolition of 24 churches, but the Church of Sant’Agostino was spared.
In 1797, with the arrival of Napoleon Bonaparte and the proclamation of the Cisalpine Republic, the church was seized and turned into a military barracks. The noble families of Bergamo tried to save the furnishings, but many were lost.
In 1880, some works on the facade took place, to block its degradation. In 1933, bishop Adriano Bernareggi applied to Benito Mussolini, the head of government, to obtain the transfer of the church to the diocese, which would bear the burden of restructuring the monastic complex. The request was not accepted.
In 1966, the church became the property of the municipality of Bergamo, but only in 2001 the monastic cloisters became humanistic campuses of the University of Bergamo, and in 2014 a major renovation work was undertaken, in collaboration between the Municipality of Bergamo and the University.
The monastic complex is composed of the Church of Sant’Agostino, the monastery and two cloisters.
The Gothic facade of the church with a gabled roof is made with squared sandstone blocks forming a smooth surface that required no further decorations, except for a few symmetrical architectural elements: two side pilasters with pinnacles on top, two large windows with columns, a central rose window and, in the upper part, a small niche with the marble statue of Saint Augustine.
The interior of the church, with a single nave, covers an area of approximately 1000 square meters and ends with three quadrangular apses. The interior has 15 side chapels and seven transversal arches. The ceiling is completely covered with 1632 tempera-painted tiles depicting saints and angels, flowers and allegorical figures.
HOW TO GET THERE
The closest bus stop, on the bus Line 3, is located about 80 meters away, in Via alla Fara. To find the church on foot, use the map below.