History of Bergamo


Bergamo is a city in the alpine Lombardy region of northern Italy, approximately 40 km (25 mi) northeast of Milan, and approximately 30 km (19 mi) from Switzerland.

Map of Bergamo, Italy. Image from worldmap1.com/map/Italy/bergamo-map.asp

Bergamo occupies the site of the ancient town of Bergomum, founded as a settlement by the Celtic tribe of Cenomani. In 49 BC it became a Roman municipality, containing c. 10,000 inhabitants at its peak. An important hub on the military road between Friuli and Raetia, it was destroyed by Attila in the 5th century.

Bergamo was conquered by many empires in the past as follows :

Historical affiliations of Bergamo

  • Orobii II millennium BC
  • Celtic Cenomani 550 BC
  • Roman Republic 200–27 BC
  • Roman Empire 27 BC–285 AD
  • Western Roman Empire 285–402
  • Visigoths invasion 402
  • Kingdom of Odoacer 402–440
  • Huns and Herules invasion 440
  • Ostrogothic Kingdom 440–553
  • Eastern Roman Empire 553–569
  • Lombard Kingdom 569–774
  • Carolingian Empire 774–1098
  • Bergamo Libero Comune 1098–1331
  • Kingdom of Bohemia 1331–1332
  • Duchy of Milan 1332–1407
  • House of Malatesta dependent on State of the Church 1407–1428
  • Republic of Venice 1428–1796
  • The Republic of Bergamo and the Cisalpine Republic dependent on French Republic 1796–1797
  • First French Empire 1807–1815
  • Kingdom of Italy (Napoleonic) 1807–1815
  • Kingdom of Lombardy-Venetia dependent on Austrian Empire 1815–1859
  • Expedition of the Thousand 1860
  • Kingdom of Italy 1861–1946
  • Italian Republic 1946–present 

Due to its contribution to the Italian unification movement, Bergamo has become known as Citta del Mille ("City of the Thousand"), because a significant part of the rank-and-file supporting Giuseppe Garibaldi in his 1860 Expedition of the Thousand against the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies came from Bergamo and its surrounding district.

Garibaldi in 1866 (Member of Chamber of Deputies of the Kingdom of Italy). Image from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Giuseppe Garibaldi

In 1907 Marcello Piacentini devised a new urban master plan that was implemented between 1912 and 1927, in a style to remind us of Novecento Italiano and Modernist Rationalism. Rationalism is an architectural current that mostly developed from Italy in the 1920s and 1930.

Palazzo del Toro, in Piazza San Babila, Milan, is a typical example of rationalism Image from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rationalism_(architecture)

During the twentieth century, Bergamo became one of Italy’s most industrialized areas.

The skyline of the city of Bergamo. Image from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/bergamo

The first thing a traveler arriving in Bergamo notices is a perfectly flat lower town that rises steeply and suddenly to the 16th-century bastions of the old town on the crest of its hill. The old upper city - Citta Alta - is where most of the tourist attractions are found.

Map of Citta Alta 


Panoramic view of Citta Alta

Night begins in Bergamo – Citta Alta (photo from flicker.com/photos/ kuhnert_nl/30323192865

Basilicia di Santa Maria Maggiore 


Exterior and Interior Images of Basilicia di Santa Maria Maggiore in Bergamo. Adress Piazza Duomo 

Through the archway at the top of Piazza, Vecchia is Piazza del Duomo (cathedral square), and together they contain some of Bergamo's most impressive architectural treasures. This church began in 1137 as a Romanesque basilica. 

Inside are fine Renaissance choir stalls, Baroque stucco work, and 16th-century tapestries on the walls of the side-aisles and choir. Local admirers still leave fresh flowers on the tomb of the composer Donizetti, a Bergamo native buried here.

Piazza Vecchia


Images of Piazza Vecchia built in 1183 (Left), Pallazo della Ragione (Centre) and Torre Civica (left)

This place represents the core of Citta Alta: it has been the heart of political power for centuries and it keeps being one of the most popular places for Bergamo’s citizens to spend some time with friends. While dining in the square’s restaurant or café, you can admire the building called Pallazo Della Ragione and Torre Civica.

Old City Tower

Image of Old city Tower. Photo from https://www.123rf.com/photo_79373678_bergamo-old-city-upper-town-italy-landscape-on-the-city-center-the-old-tower-and-the-clock-tower-fro.html

The imposing Gombito Tower was built in 1200 as a symbol of power and military dominance during the struggles between the different city factions: it used to control the access to Piazza Vecchia, the core of Bergamo, from the roads coming from the valleys.

Colleoni Church (Capella Colleoni)


Images of Colleoni Church

Built 1472-76 to house the tomb of the condottiere Bartolomeo Colleoni and his daughter Medea, the chapel was designed by Giovanni Amadeo, who also designed the tombs inside. 

Walls of Venetian Gates 


Ariel view of Venetian walls (left) and it's close up view (right). Images from https://www.visitbergamo.net

Bergamo wouldn’t be the same without its impressive Venetian Walls (built-in 1561). This spectacular circuit is over six km long.

A perfect place to take a romantic walk and enjoy wonderful sunsets, and it has been enclosing the beauties of the Upper Town for more than four centuries.

The priceless artistic and cultural value of the Venetian Walls is demonstrated by their recognition as a Unesco World Heritage site since 9 July 2017.

Duomo di Bergamo


Duomo di Bergamo: Images from https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Doumo_Bergamo.jpg & tripadisor.com.sg

Built-in 1561, it’s a truly intricate and beautiful cathedral.

Porta di San Giacomo


Images of San Giacomo Gate. Image from www.visitbergamo.net/en/object-details/6560-san-giacomo-gate/

San Giacomo Gate (“Porta San Giacomo”), built-in 1593 used to be the entrance to Bergamo for those who came from Milan. It’s the only access to the Walls that can be perfectly seen from Viale Vittorio Emanuele, the axis crossing Lower Bergamo from South to North.

Made of white marble extracted from Zandobbio’s quarries, in the near Cavallina Valley, it is one of the most photographed places of Bergamo.

With a population of approximately 122,000, Bergamo is the fourth-largest city in Lombardy. Bergamo is well connected to several cities in Italy, stretching on the axis between TurinMilanVeronaVenice, and Trieste. The city is served by Il Caravaggio International Airport, the third-busiest airport in Italy with 13.9 million passengers in 2019. Bergamo is the second most visited city in Lombardy after Milan. 

Sources – www.planetware.com/tourist-attractions-/bergamo-i-lo-bg.htm









Image from https://www.visitbergamo.net/en/object-details/2981-piazza-vecchia/

Efforts have been made to get the information as accurate and updated as possible. If you found any incorrect information with credible source, please send it via the contact us form
Lady M.A.
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