Piazza Vecchia Bergamo: the core of the old city
The Upper City has a core and that is Piazza Vecchia. It is not too big, but it is adorned by artistic beauties and places of historical interest as a pearl necklace would do.
It is difficult to stop the gaze on only one of the corner of the square, rectangular of course, but divided into two parts by the Palazzo della Ragione.
It was built after the XII century and it was a political center of the city. There is a cloister on the ground, supported by columns and decorated capitals on which archs are placed and on the floor a sundial was realized.
Outside the building you can still see part of the swallow-tailed form battlements belonging to the roof. There is a staircase facing Piazza Vecchia and it leads to the first floor where there is a large room called “Sala delle Capriate”. In this place inscriptions, sculptures and some frescos are visible, some of them painted by Bramante.
Next to the Palazzo della Ragione there is the Torre Civica called Campanone (Campanone Tower) that signed using 100 tolls the closing of the doors of the city. They strike again nowadays.
The Palazzo del Podestà is adjacent to the Tower and now it is used as a space for some multimedial exhibitions by the Historical Museum.
The neoclassical white marble building that well matches with the square is Palazzo Nuovo where the Angelo Mai library is set, a very beautiful place also inside but now under restoration.
The square goes on also behind the Palazzo della Ragione. On the southern side, indeed, there are the Duomo also called Chiesa di Sant’Alessandro (Sant’Alessandro’s Church), enriched by frescos through them also some by Tiepolo, and the Santa Maria Maggiore (Saint Mary Major), which is in Romanesque outside and the rich interior is from the Baroque period, due to the continuous interventions during the centuries. Also into the church there are some frescos painted by Lotto and there is also the Donizetti’s tomb.
Next to the church rises the Battistero (Baptistery) designed by Giovanni da Campione, close to Cappella Colleoni (Colleoni Chapel), wanted by Bartolomeo Colleoni. The chapel is one of the best examples of Italian Renaissance architecture, made with white, red and black marble and the interior is decorated with plasters, sculptures and bas-reliefs in addition, of course, to the Colleoni’s tomb with its sarcophagus.
You cannot miss Piazza Vecchia in the Upper City, but you can miss yourself through its splendors, all focused in one space.