Bergamo Alta

This is an excerpt from the book “One Day in Bergamo Alta“ by Enrico Massetti.

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A preview of the book content

Bergamo Alta – Upper town

Bergamo Alta is a gem of medieval architecture, that has been preserved to the present days. It is very easily reached from Milan with the train.

Piazza Vecchia is the symbol of the city. Built in 1300, it reaches its actual structure during the Venetian domination. On the southern side of the square faces the Palazzo della Ragione, which is the symbol of the Communal Age; on the right side the Civic Tower (XII-XV) rises, well known as Il Campanone, and here there is also the antique Domus Suardorum (XIV-XV), that now is the seat of the University of Bergamo.

The northern side of the square is enclosed within a Palace built in the 1600s with a facade of white marble. Established as the seat of the Town Hall, today this structure hosts the Public Library “A. Maj” that holds about 500,000 volumes and preserves a precious “Tasso Collection.”

The beautiful Fountain, donated by the Venetian Podesta’, Alvise Contarini (XVIII), completes the spectacular view of the square.

Behind the Palazzo della Ragione, there is the Piazzetta del Duomo, where there are monuments of high relevance. The Duomo, designed by Filarete, was modified many times over the centuries. The decoration of the interiors was completed only at the end of ‘800.

Precious artistic pieces are the Chapel of the Crucifix that preserves a crucifix of ‘500 and the apse, where seven great canvases, out of all the Martirio di S.Giovanni Episcopo (S. Giovanni Episcopo’s Martyrdom), a work of G.B.Tiepolo can be found.


At Piazzetta Duomo, a marble polychrome porch with polychromatic lions by Giovanni da Campione signals the access to the Basilica di S.Maria Maggiore (XII). Inside, precious tapestries, a baroque confessional by Andrea Fantoni, Gaetano Donizetti and his Master Simone Mayr.

Of great value are the iconostases in carved and inlaid wood executed in the XIV, following Lorenzo Lotto drawings, by G.F. Capoferri and Giovanni Belli. Adjacent to the Basilica is the Cappella Colleoni (XV). Realized on G.B Amadeo project, this Chapel is the mausoleum of the famous condottiere Bartolomeo Colleoni.


Piazza Vecchia – (Old Square)


Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore


La Cappella Colleoni – Colleoni Chapel


Le mura venete – (Venetian Walls)

Porta San Giacomo
Porta San Giacomo


The Venetian Walls Gates (XVI)

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Where to stay in Bergamo

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