Piazza Vecchia, Bergamo
Piazza Vecchia in Bergamo or the Old Square was created in the 15th century after a demolition of several old building in this area. It became the new political and economic center instead of Duomo Square that was too small at the time. The appearance of the square clearly includes some Venetian characteristics. It is no surprise since Bergamo had been under the jurisdiction of the Republic of Venice from 15th till 18th century.
This spacious and harmonious square is now a place where you can unwind and spend your leisure time. Tiny cafes and restaurants fit in with antique local architecture greatly here.
Sights to see on Piazza Vecchia
- Palazzo della Regione was built in the 15th century. It obtained its modern look thanks to a reconstruction work performed in the 16th century. The first floor of the city hall was replaced with arches that made the building look more light and airy. There is also an ancient stone staircase leading to the second floor. A noteworthy fact: this is the place where the first city hall with its façade having faced the Duomo Square used to be. However, in the 12th century, it had burned to the ground.
- Nuovo Palace was built at the beginning of 17th century, although it was reconstructed numerous times and obtained its modern look only in the middle of the previous century.
- Torre del Comune is the highest building in the city. This tower was built in 11th century by a wealthy noble family and served defensive purposes. Later the building became city property. A bell was set inside the Torre del Comune which was used to inform citizens about the nightfall or popular assembly.
- Contarini Fountaine was given by Alvise Contarini to the city as a gift. It looks like a bowl surrounded by lion and snake sculptures. The animals are holding a heavy chain in their maws. The composition is also decorated with two sphinxes with water pouring from their mouths in small bowls.
A collection of icons and paintings is put on display inside the Palazzo della Ragione. We recommend you to check opening hours in advance before going there.
Many Italian cities and towns have towers. At first, they served defense purposes. Furthermore, the tower showed what kind of title the owner held. The higher was the tower, the richer and more powerful was its possessor. Originally, Torre del Comune was 37 meters high. However, it became 54 meters high in the 16th century after having been rebuilt few times.
Contarini Fountaine was dismantled in 1885, and a monument to Giuseppe Garibaldi was set on its spot instead. At the beginning of 20th century, the memorial was moved to the Lower City and the fountain put back in its rightful place.
How to get
Piazza Vecchia is located in the Upper City, the historic part of Bergamo. You can get there by cable car. Then you should walk 300 meters through Via Gombito towards the square. You can also walk up there on foot by following curvy cobblestone streets of Bergamo.