All SEE in Bergamo

The most important tourist attractions in Città Alta, the historical center of Bergamo, are: Piazza Vecchia, the heart of the old town, with the Contarini Fountain (Fontana Contarini) in the center, the nearby Palazzo della Ragione, the beautiful Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, the Cathedral of Bergamo dedicated to Saint Alexander of Bergamo, patron saint of the city, the Colleoni Chapel (Cappella Colleoni), the civic tower known as Campanone and the Baptistery of the Cathedral.

In the modern part of the town, Città Bassa, we can find the Church of Saints Bartholomew and Stephen, the Gaetano Donizetti Theater, the Church of Santa Maria Immacolata delle Grazie, the beautiful square of Largo Porta Nuova and many others.

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    Cathedral of Sant’Alessandro

    The Cathedral of Sant’Alessandro is the Cathedral of Bergamo, dedicated to Saint Alexander, the patron saint of the city. The Cathedral is located in the historical center of the city – Città Alta, in the small but beautiful Piazza del Duomo, near Palazzo della Ragione and the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore.   SHORT HISTORY In the 8th century, a church in Romanesque style was built here, on the site of a paleochristian place of worship dating back to the 5th century. The church was dedicated to San Vincenzo (Saint Vincent of Saragossa). Around the middle of the 15th century, the bishop Giovanni Barozzi decided to build a larger church, entrusting the project to the Florentine architect Filarete. On May 3, 1459, the first stone was laid, and in 1467 the first chapel on the left side was completed and dedicated to Saint Catherine and Saint Jerome. However, after a couple of years, the works suffered an abrupt interruption due to the death of Filarete and to the simultaneous election of bishop Barozzi as Patriarch of Venice. In 1561, the Church of Sant’Alessandro in Colonna was demolished for the construction of the Venetian Walls. The relics of the saint were Read more [...]

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    Church of Sant’Agostino

    The Church of Sant’Agostino is a beautiful church in Bergamo, located near the eastern walls of Città Alta and the homonymous gate of the city. Since 2015, the church houses the Aula Magna of the University of Bergamo.   SHORT HISTORY 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 Read more [...]

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    Church of Saints Bartholomew and Stephen

    The Church of Saints Bartholomew and Stephen is a beautiful church in Bergamo, located in the modern part of the city, known as Città Bassa, along the famous Sentierone, one of the most important avenues of the town.   SHORT HISTORY A former church dedicated to Saint Stephen was demolished on November 11, 1561, for the construction of the Venetian walls which surrounds the Città Alta. From the numerous friars who lived in the convent, only eight remained as guests in the Church of San Bernardino. On August 14, 1572, the friars moved to the small Church of San Bartolomeo, given to them by the Pope Pius V. The Church of Saint Bartholomew was rebuilt in the first half of the 17th century, more precisely between 1603 and 1642, on a project by the architect Anton Maria Caneva of Como. The church was consecrated on January 19, 1782, by the bishop of Bergamo, Giovanni Paolo Dolfin.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The church has a simple structure, but at the same time elegant and grandiose, measuring 60 meters in lenght and 14 meters in width, without the chapels. The facade, completed at the end of the 19th century by the architect Read more [...]

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    Palazzo Nuovo

    Palazzo Nuovo is a beautiful palace in Bergamo, located in the upper part of the city, Città Alta, on the northern side of the Piazza Vecchia, across the square from the Palazzo della Ragione. The palace currently houses the Angelo Mai Civic Library, one of the most important historic preservation institutions in Italy, with over 677,000 volumes, 2,200 incunabula and 16,800 manuscripts.   SHORT HISTORY Palazzo Nuovo, as it was called in contrast to the Palazzo Vecchio (Palazzo della Ragione), was built by the architect Vincenzo Scamozzi to house the city’s town hall. The construction of the palace began in the early 17th century, and was definitively completed only in 1958 with the placing of six statues, works of the sculptor Tobia Vescovi, on the facade overlooking the Piazza Vecchia. The access loggia, which lightens the facade, was designed by the architect Andrea Ceresola, who was also responsible for the reconstruction of the Palazzo Ducale in Genoa. The white marble facade was built in 1928 by the architect Ernesto Pirovano, who took into account the initial project of Scamozzi. The Angelo Mai Civic Library, which was initially housed in the Palazzo della Ragione, was transferred in 1928 to the Palazzo Read more [...]

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    Porta San Giacomo

    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.   SHORT HISTORY 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 Palazzo Medolago Alabani, located nearby. The two small arches of the gate were Read more [...]

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    Torre dei Caduti di Bergamo

    Torre dei Caduti di Bergamo (Tower of the Fallen of Bergamo) is a tower in Bergamo, located in Piazza Vittorio Veneto, in the modern part of the city, Città Bassa.   SHORT HISTORY After the Napoleonic occupation, the lower part of the city acquired a growing economic importance, primarily for the greater availability of building spaces. The choice of the area in which the tower was built was part of a larger urban reorganization project of the lower part of Bergamo, which became in the last centuries the true political and administrative center of the city. The tower, 45 meters high, was designed by the architect Marcello Piacentini. It was built starting from 1922, in an area known as Prato di Sant’Alessandro, which at the time hosted the annual Sant’Alessandro Fair, one of the most important and oldest in Lombardy, dating back to the 9th century. The tower is one of the most emblematic monuments of Città Bassa, built in the wake of the patriotic rhetoric following the First World War, not only in memory and honor of the fallen of Bergamo, but to enhance and consolidate unitary nationalism, as explicitly stated in the inauguration speech of Benito Mussolini on Read more [...]

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    Palazzo Medolago Albani

    Palazzo Medolago Albani is a beautiful palace located in the ancient part of Bergamo, Città Alta, on Viale delle Mura, near Porta San Giacomo.   SHORT HISTORY The palace, a beautiful example of Neoclassical architecture, was built by the architect Simone Cantoni in 1770. In 1841, the palace was bought by Count Giacomo Medolago Albani, an ancestor of the current owners. Over time, the palace underwent many transformations, becoming one of the most important buildings of the city and home to one of the most notable historical and cultural events of the time. The visits of Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria with his wife Elizabeth of Bavaria and the King of Italy Vittorio Emanuele II are evidenced by the commemorative stone slabs placed at the entrance to the building.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The palace is an admirable example of an aristocratic building of the late 18th century. The facade, on two floors, with 8 semi-columns, is surmounted by a fake balcony with a decoration in the middle and four statues depicting the Architecture, Sculpture, Painting and Poetry, works of the sculptor Antonio Gelpi. Between the two floors, we can find five medallions of Carrara marble depicting scenes inspired Read more [...]

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    Baptistery of Bergamo

    The Baptistery of Bergamo is a structure intended for the baptismal rite, located in Piazza del Duomo, in front of the Cathedral of Sant’Alessandro, in the ancient part of Bergamo, Città Alta.   SHORT HISTORY In 1340, the sculptor Giovanni da Campione was commissioned to build a baptistery inside the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore. In 1449, the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore was entrusted to the Congregation of the Greater Mercy (Congregazione della Misericordia Maggiore), removing it from the jurisdiction of the bishop, and the baptistery became inaccessible. In 1660, the baptistery was dismantled and moved to the nearby courtyard of the rectory. The baptismal font was placed on the counter-facade of the basilica, where it remained until 1691, when it was moved to the second chapel on the left dedicated to Saint John. Only in 1897, the final arrangement of the baptistery was decided, with an architectural reinterpretation by Virginio Muzio, and in 1900 the structure was completed and placed in Piazza del Duomo, in front of the Cathedral of Bergamo.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The baptistery, enclosed by a 19th-century gate, has an octagonal plan. Above the 17th-century dark marble base, there are the 14th-century columns in Read more [...]

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    Palazzo Roncalli

    Palazzo Roncalli is a palace in Bergamo, located in Piazza Lorenzo Mascheroni, in the upper part of the city, known as Città Alta.   SHORT HISTORY The Roncalli family settled in Bergamo in the 14th century, in a building near the Church of Sant’Andrea. The palace was built starting with 1520 adjacent to the Visconti walls erected by the Milanese in 1300 to surround the citadel. The project was entrusted to Andrea di Giacomo Ziliolo, while Pietro Isabello and Francesco Cleri took care of the construction. The palace underwent various modifications over time. In the 18th century, it was bought by the Sonzogno family, who modified it on a project by Ferdinando Caccia and Giovanni Francesco Lucchini. In the apartment located on the noble floor of Palazzo Roncalli, during the night of March 13, 1797, was signed the agreement for the withdrawal of Venice from Bergamo. The palace was renovated in the 20th century by Sandro Angelini.   ARCHITECTURE The palace has an irregular polygonal plan, with three floors plus a mezzanine, with a multi-pitched roof, and an internal courtyard. The facade overlooking Via Mascheroni is symmetrical. On the ground floor, there are six openings, two round and four rectangular. Read more [...]

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    Fontana Contarini

    Fontana Contarini is a fountain in Bergamo, located in Piazza Vecchia, in the ancient part of the city, Città Alta.   SHORT HISTORY The fountain owes its name to Alvise Contarini, podesta (chief magistrate) of Bergamo on behalf of the Republic of Venice, who gave it to the city in 1780, when he left his post. The intent of the magistrate was both to embellish the central Piazza Vecchia, and to provide the inhabitants with a precious water source. During 1858, the fountain was subjected to an almost complete renovation, which partially modified its appearance. In the middle of the Risorgimento (Resurgence) period, precisely in 1885, the fountain was dismantled to make room for the monument of Giuseppe Garibaldi. A few decades later, at the beginning of the 20th century, it was reassembled in its original position, while the monument of the Italian hero was placed in the lower town, Città Bassa. At the beginning of the 21st century, a privately funded intervention allowed the restoration of the structure, damaged by pollution and atmospheric agents, bringing it back to its initial splendor.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The fountain is built in Zandobbio marble, and has a main basin with an Read more [...]

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    Piazza Vecchia

    Piazza Vecchia (Old Square) is a beautiful square in Bergamo, located on the upper part of the city, known as Città Alta. For many centuries, the square was the fulcrum of the political and civil power of Bergamo, and today is a favorite meeting place for locals.   SHORT HISTORY Piazza Vecchia was built on the site of the ancient Roman forum of the city. Beginning with the 11th century, numerous dwellings were built on the square. In the 13th century, the reclamation of the area began, and the dwellings were demolished. The square became the city center only in the Middle Ages, more precisely in the 12th century, with the construction of Palazzo della Ragione, the seat of the Municipality. The buildings surrounding the square were built starting with the 15th century.   ARCHITECTURE To the north of the square, we can find Palazzo Nuovo, which houses the Angelo Mai Library. The palace was built to a design by the architect Vincenzo Scamozzi starting with the early 17th century and was completed only in 1958, with the placing of the last ornamental works on the facade. In the western part of the square, there is Palazzo del Podestà, built Read more [...]

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    Palazzo della Libertà

    Palazzo della Libertà is a palace in Bergamo, located in the homonymous square, in the modern part of the city, Città Bassa.   SHORT HISTORY Palazzo della Libertà was built between 1937 and 1940 on a project by Alziro Bergonzo, to become the local headquarters of the National Fascist Party. The palace was named Casa Littoria and dedicated to Antonio Locatelli, airplane pilot in the First World War. The palace was inaugurated on October 28, 1939, the anniversary of the March on Rome of 1922, when Benito Mussolini came to power. The basement of Casa Littoria was used as a prison during the Republic of Salò, that existed between September 1943 and May 1945. After April 25, 1945, the palace housed the headquarters of the National Liberation Committee. The property passed to the State, and various public offices were housed there. Today, it houses the Prefecture, the offices of the Court, the State Forestry Corps and various offices of the Municipality.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE Palazzo della Libertà has a parallelepiped shape, entirely covered with Zandobbio marble. The main facade, overlooking the square, consists of an imposing portico of twelve giant pillars, holding an architrave bearing the dedication to Antonio Read more [...]

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    Church of Sant’Andrea

    The Church of Sant’Andrea is a church in Bergamo, located in Via Porta Dipinta 39, in the upper part of the city, known as Città Alta.   SHORT HISTORY In the State Archive of Bergamo, there is a notarial deed dated back to 785, which certifies the existence of a proto-Christian basilica on this place, called Basilica Sancti Andreae. Due to the damage caused by the construction of the Venetian Walls between 1561 and 1588, the old basilica obtained compensation of 300 scudi from the Venetian Republic, thanks to which it was renovated and reconsecrated in 1592. A subsequent reconstruction of the church dates back to 1689, with the laying of the foundation stone on June 23 by Bishop Daniele Giustiniani. In 1805, by a decree of Napoleon Bonaparte, the adjacent parish of San Michele al Pozzo Bianco was suppressed and its territory was annexed to the parish of Sant’Andrea. The ancient church was thus too small for this new territory and for a rather large population, and in in 1829 the architect Giacomo Romilli was commissioned to plan its complete renovation. Giacomo Romilli’s project included a Neoclassical building, with a facade marked by pilasters and a tympanum, a small Read more [...]

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    Palazzo della Ragione

    Palazzo della Ragione is a palace in Bergamo, located in the upper part of the city, Città Alta. The palace stands across the Piazza Vecchia from the Palazzo Nuovo, bordering also the Piazza del Duomo to the north.   SHORT HISTORY The palace was built at the end of the 12th century, more precisely between 1183 and 1198, making it the oldest town hall in Italy. The building maintained its role as a political center even after the end of the communal era, when, with the arrival of the Republic of Venice in the first half of the 15th century, it was used as the palace of justice, hence the name della Ragione (of reason). The palace, which was already in a bad shape at the beginning of the 16th century, suffered serious damage in 1513, after a fire. Its reconstruction began in 1538 under the direction of the architect Pietro Isabello, and was completed in 1554. The works on the exterior were started in March 1539, and the Lion of St. Mark was placed on the facade in April of the same year. Subsequently, the southern wall was restored. The rebuilding of the loggia on the ground floor began Read more [...]

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    Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore

    Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore is a beautiful church in Bergamo, located in the historical part of the city – Città Alta, in the small Piazza del Duomo.   SHORT HISTORY According to popular tradition, in 1133, the local people promised to built a church dedicated to the Madonna, if the city will be spared by the plague that threatened the northern Italy. The church was built in 1137 on the site of another church from the 8th century, which in turn was built on a pagan temple dedicated to the goddess Clementia. The exterior of the church testifies its construction in two different phases: in the first phase, were built the apsidal area, the northern arm of the transept and the lower part of the southern arm in gray sandstone, with square ashlars, while the remaining parts were built in the second phase, in light ocher sandstone, with rather small ashlars. With the central apse and the transept built, the high altar was consecrated in 1185, and the presbytery and apses on the east side of the transept were completed in 1187. Work slowed down during the 13th century due to economic difficulties. However, the blind facade and the Read more [...]

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    Church of Santa Maria Immacolata delle Grazie

    The Church of Santa Maria Immacolata delle Grazie is a beautiful church in Bergamo, located on Viale Papa Giovanni XXIII, near the Porta Nuova.   SHORT HISTORY Saint Bernardino of Siena came to Bergamo in 1419 for the second time to quell the feuds that divided the Guelph and Ghibelline families of the city. Pietro Ondei, influenced by his preaching, gave the saint a piece of land to build a church and a convent for the Franciscan friars. The church was founded on April 27, 1422, by the bishop Francesco Aregazzi. The project of urban reorganization of the city from the 19th century included the construction of a large avenue – Viale Papa Giovanni XXIII, which connected the railway station to Porta Sant’Agostino, one of the entrances to the upper part of the city, Bergamo Alta. For this reason, the monastic order was suppressed in 1810, the church was demolished in 1856 and then rebuilt a little further from the original place. The ancient church was dedicated to the Madonna delle Grazie, but with the dogmatic proclamation of the Immaculate Conception on December 8, 1854, the bishop of Bergamo, Pietro Luigi Speranza, renamed the church to Santa Maria Immacolata delle Read more [...]