Bergamo - Encyclopedia

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BERGAMO (anc. Bergomum), a city and episcopal see of Lombardy, Italy, capital of the province of Bergamo, situated at the foot of the Alps, at the junction of the Brembo and Serio, 331 m. N.E. of Milan by rail, and 26 m. direct. Pop. (1901) town, 25,425; commune, 46,861. The town consists of two distinct parts, the older Città Alta, upon a hill 1200 ft. above sea-level, strongly fortified by the Venetians, and the new town (Citta Bassa) below, the two being connected by a funicular railway. The most interesting building of the former is the fine Romanesque church of S. Maria Maggiore, founded in 1137 and completed in 1355, with a baroque interior and some interesting works of art. Adjoining it to the north is the Cappella Colleoni, with a richly sculptured polychrome façade, and a modernized interior, containing the fine tombs of Bartolommeo Colleoni (c. 1400-1475), a native of Bergamo, and his daughter Medea. The work was executed in 1470-1476 by Giovanni Antonio Amadeo, who was also employed at the Certosa di Pavia. The market-place (now Piazza Garibaldi) contains the Gothic Palazzo Vecchio or Broletto; close by are the cathedral (1614) and a small baptistery of 1340, rebuilt in 1898. The lower town contains an important picture-gallery, consisting of three collections of works of north Italian masters, one of which was bequeathed in 1891 by the art critic Giovanni Morelli. Bergamo has fine modern buildings and numerous silk and cotton factories. It also has a considerable cattle market, though its yearly Fiera di S. Alessandro (the patron saint) has lost some of its importance. Railways radiate from it to Lecco, Ponte della Selva, Usmate (for Monza or Seregno), Treviglio (on the main line from Milan to Verona and Venice) and (via Rovato) to Brescia, and steam tramways to Treviglio, Sarnico and Soncino.

The ancient Bergomum was the centre of the tribe of the Orobii; it became, after their subjection to Rome, a Roman municipality with a considerable territory, and after its destruction by Attila, became the capital of a Lombard duchy. From 1264 to 1428 it was under Milan, but then became Venetian, and remained so until 1797. Remains of the Roman city are not visible above ground, but various discoveries made are recorded by G. Mantovani in Not. Sca y ., 1890, 25. (T. As.)

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