Bergamo Off The Beaten Path

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    the beauty is hidden sometimes
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Most Recent Off The Beaten Path in Bergamo

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    Monumento degli Alpini

    by Kathrin_E Written Jun 23, 2012

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    Piazzale degli Alpini, opposite the train and bus station, is a large square with a small park. In the middle of the square there is a large monument, dedicated to the mountain soldiers called the Alpini which also became the namesakes of the whole square. The Alpini are an elite unit in the Italian army, originally formed in 1872 to defend Italy’s Northern border.

    The monument consists of two massive pillars made from sandstone blocks, about the height of a 3-storey house, in the middle of a fountain. Between the two stone pillars, the bronze figure of a soldier seems to be struggling to climb up, just like a mountaineer would climb in a narrow cleft between two vertical rocks – or is he in fact slipping down and struggling to hold on? Hard to decide – it is a monument about the fallen soldiers, after all. The Italian flag next to it is waving from half-pole.

    This bronze sculpture is the piece with the most artistic value in the whole monument and deserves a closer look. The shapes are rather abstract, but it expresses the movements of the body, the fight of the soldier to survive in these extreme conditions in a striking way.

    I have no date for the design of the square and the monument, but I assume it is from the 1920s, the era of Fascism. The square is part of the long street axis planned by Marcello Piacentini, and the law court building in the background is clearly fascist architecture. Hence the monument would refer to “la Grande Guerra”, World War I.

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    Borgo Pignolo

    by Kathrin_E Written Jun 21, 2012

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    Piazzetta del Delfino
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    Borgo Pignolo is one of the old quarters in Bergamo Bassa, the lower town. Its backbone, along which the suburb developped, is Via Pignolo. Access is easiest to find from Porta Sant'Agostino. Walk gownhill from the gate, but not along the main road, walk down the fes stairs on the left side of the street and then follow the smaller street gently downhill.

    This quarter has a forgotten, almost morbid feel. The street was almost completely empty, many blinds closed. There was hardly anyone in the street. The old buildings are a mix of sizes and quality according to the wealth and social status, or lack thereof, of their owners. There are a couple of impressive renaissance and baroque palazzi along this street that were designed to impress. Next to them, however, there are rather humble townhouses, some well kept, others decaying.

    Halfway down Via Pignolo a street triangle forms a small piazza with a baroque fountain. The huge baroque facade of the church of S. Alessandro del Croce is far too big for this narrow space.

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    Alta & Bassa: Other vicoli and 'scallette'.

    by leics Updated Jun 10, 2012

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    Via Fontanabrolo (Borgo Canale)
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    There are several of these Medieval footpaths to explore.

    The Borgo Canale (Canale neighbourhood) is a good place to start, but there are also scallette running down from San Vigilio (Via della Scorlazzone) and from near Porto San'Agostino (Via Della Noca).

    The funicular leaflet (from the tourist info, the ATB office in Porta Nuova and hotels etc) has a useful little map on the back showing you where they can be found and they are also marked with a ladder symbol on the city map available at Tourist info and hotels.

    I managed to walk the Via della Noca as well as the Vicolo del Paradiso during my short visit. Next time, I'll seek out more...they are really very pleasant ways to amble around the city.

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    Alta & Bassa: Vicolo del Paradiso

    by leics Updated Jun 10, 2012

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    Vicolo del Paradiso
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    There are many steep, stepped 'staircases' ('scaletta') leading from Citta Bassa up to Citta Alta.

    In the distant past the area where Citta Bassa now lies was farmland, and people walked up those 'staircases' to take their goods to the market in Citta Alta.

    Many scalette still remain, wandering their way down beneath trees and alongside the gardens of the wealthy. A taste of the countryside indeed.

    I decided to walk down the Vicolo del Paradiso. Paradise? Hmmm...this was a Medieval term for the area where the brothels were, but I have no evidence to prove that this is how it got its name! ;-)

    But my walk down between dry-stone walls was lovely, with trees and birdsong and wild flowers, the chance to sit and read in a sunny spot with fantastic views...and in a couple of hours (I read a lot) on an Italian public holiday I only saw 2 lots of people.

    It's definitely worth taking these ancient routes between the two parts of Bergamo. There are several options, and obviously walking down from Citta Alta will be much easier than walking up from Citta Bassa!

    The Vicolo del Paradiso leads off Via Trei Armi (which runs parallel, but lower down than Via Delle Mura) and ends up at Via Riva Villasanto.

    All the vicoli have helpful signs (in Italian) which tell you where they are going, how long they are and what the gradient is.

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    Citta Alta

    by croisbeauty Updated May 14, 2012

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    While strolling around some nice spots could be found all around the Citta Alta. Even if rather small the Upper Town has much to expose to those who like explorings. Who knows what else could be seen if one curiously peek in every inner yard.

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    what is this

    by croisbeauty Updated May 14, 2012

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    Well, I didnt catch the name of this palace and have no idea what it represents. According to Italian flag, rising on it, there must be seat of some government institution or maybe its the local Prefettura (the Police Headquarters). I hope someone who knows will tell me more about.

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    Berghem de Sura

    by croisbeauty Updated May 14, 2012

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    Berghem de Sura

    People from the Province of Bergamo speak Italian, of course, but if they using local dialect even other Italians will have problems to understand them. If you see inscription "Berghem de Sura" or you hear locals telling it, at first you wont have idea what it is but they will politely tell you it is how the locals call Citta Alta.
    I Bergamaschi (citizens of the province) are very big patriots but they hate Rome with affection, not the city of Rome however, they hate what Rome is representing as the political power. Most of locals, without any hesitation, will say "Roma landrona", which means Rome is the thieve. There excist very strong movement call Padania, and it has seat in the city of Bergamo. The basic political programe of Padania is the constitution of Italy as an federal state with strong authonomy of each of the states.

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    Home of Lesbia Cidonia

    by croisbeauty Written May 13, 2012

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    The house of Paolina Grismondi
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    Paolina Secco Suardo Grismondi (1746-1801) was Italian poet very much admired in Italy and France for her outstanding culture and personal beauty. She was born and married in Bergamo for cont Grismondi. Paolina Grimondi entered in the famous Accademy dell'Arcadia as Lesbia Cidonia. Under that name she is better known for her poetic works.

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    Citta Alta and its streets

    by croisbeauty Updated May 13, 2012

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    the beauty is hidden sometimes
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    They say, curiosity killed the cat, but it is rewarding those who tend to see more then major sighty only. City tour guides could be usefull in case of short time visiting but they never take visitors off of the outlined plan. Sometimes, after coming back home and checking other experiences, one who was guided in certain city-tour could ask him/herself, was I really there?
    Bergamo, as most of other Italian cities, should be explored in several different occasions. I was in Bergamo few times so far and each time have discover something new what I never saw before. If you like and enjoy in slow food, should explore Bergamo exactly in the same way.

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    Citta Alta

    by croisbeauty Updated May 13, 2012

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    Citta Alta

    One should stop subjacent the hill and admiring architecture of Citta Alta which overlooking the town of Bergamo, called Citta Bassa. The most of Citta Alta is fortified by the medieval walls built during Venetian rules over Bergamo. Certain buildings inside of the Citta Alta doesn't look so attractive as they look it observed from the town itself, or Citta Bassa.

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    Chiesa di San Pancrazio

    by croisbeauty Updated May 13, 2012

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    Chiesa di San Pancrazio
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    The church of San Pancrazio is situated on the homonymous small quare which is practically immersed into Via Gombito. It is small but beautiful medieval building built probably around 1000. The church was rebuilt in 1450 in Gothic style but not much has remained from its medieval architecture except for the fine entrance. Later on, in 1750, the church was completely rebuilt and changed it style into Baroque.

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    Fontana di San Pancrazio

    by croisbeauty Updated May 13, 2012

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    Fontana di San Pancrazio
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    Fontana di San Pancrazio, situated in Via Gombito, is also called "Baccio di Giacinto" (the kiss of Giacinto). It was built in 1549 by the Venetian Republic soon after regained dominance of Bergamo. The fountain, made of the marble from Zandobbio, is work of Venetian architect Leonardo Cleri (son of famous Pietro Isabello). The rectangular basin of the fountain had to be replaced at the end of 18th century, since during Napoleon rules it was ordered to be destroyed all coats of arms of previous dominance by the Serenissima.

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    Lavatoio di via Lupo

    by croisbeauty Updated May 13, 2012

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    Lavatoio di via Lupo
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    Lavatoio di via Lupo (Public wash in Lupo street) was built at the end of 19th century in order to compensate for the lack of running water in the houses of Citta Alta. At that time almost all houses were built with very poor sanitary conditions. The cholera epidemic of 1884 and the alarm of the action of water quality in Citta Alta, which the doctors had indicated as the primary cause of the spread of typhoid, created motiffs for great preocupation. The resurgence of the disease manifested itself with punctual regularity.
    The public wash was in use up to mid of 20th century, surviving in the years after a hasty decision to shoot it down.

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    Antonio Locatelli Memorial Fountain

    by suvanki Updated Mar 31, 2012

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    Antonio Locatelli Memorial Fountain
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    During my first visit to Bergamo, I passed by this memorial many times as it was near to my accommodation, and by the lower funicular station.

    Antonio Locatelli was born in Bergamo on 17th April 1895. He was a WW1 hero, flying many dangerous missions, escaped imprisonment in Austria disguised as an Austrian soldier, he returned a hero.
    After the war , he continued his love of flying - being the first to fly over the Andes. He also attempted to fly over the Atlantic, but his engine failed.

    He was the only Royal Air Force pilot to be awarded the Gold Medal for Valour 3 times. The Memorial originally was planted with 3 cypress trees to represent the 3 medals, but they soon died.

    He was elected to Parliament from 1924-28. As a journalist, he became director of The Bergamo Magazine, and became Mayor of Bergamo from 1933-34
    He was killed in action in Ethiopia on 27th June 1936.
    Besides his aviation and journalistic skills, Locatelli was a keen mountaineer - he was honoured by the Bergamo Mountaineering branch of The Italian Mountaineering Club. He was also recognised as a photographer and Explorer.

    One of his planes was donated to the Museo Storico, and his sister donated photos and articles to the Angelo Maj library (Piazza Vecchia, Citta Alta)

    Perhaps Locatelli would have received more recognition if he hadn't been a member of the Fascist Party.
    He did have his name immortalised in the name of Bergamo airport - Orio al Serio, Antony Locatelli Airport, although I'm sure that many people who fly in an out of this busy airport aren't aware of the alternative name, let alone who Locatelli was.

    I'm still trying to find out more information about this memorial - who designed it, when etc?

    UPDATE - I'm very Grateful to Lucia Milesi from Bergamo Tourist Info Office, who kindly searched this information, after reading my tip and questions.

    So, the Monument was built in 1956, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the death and last gold medal to Locatelli.
    The sculptor is Antonio Berti,who was born in Valdifiorana 24th August 1904, and studied at the Institute des Beaux -Arts in Florence
    The Fountain was designed by the architect Aldo Piantanida.

    It can be seen on Viale Vittorio Emanuele, Bergamo 24122, at the top of Via Locatelli , to the right of the lower funicular station.

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    Arlecchino aka Harlequin sculpture

    by suvanki Written Jan 3, 2012

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    Harlequin sculpture
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    CITTA BASSA

    One for Trivia fans - Harlequin originated in Bergamo! (Although the French argue that Arlequin is from France)!

    This statue caught my eye , while wandering around the Christmas Market in Piazzale Alpini next to the Tourist Information office- Although I'd been to Bergamo a few times, I hadn't noticed this before. An amusing modern sculpture of brass and coloured enamelled? squares on a marble plinth, with this inscription in 3 languages - Italian, English and I'm guessing Bergamasque

    "They call me Harlequin I'm a little mischievious and cunning Near Bergamo I was born, Throughout the world I'm known"

    Typically, Bergamo isn't awash with Harlequin references, well not that I've spotted yet!

    Recognised by his colourful patched costume, Harlequin is the most popular of the characters in the Italian Commedia dell'arte. He's a 2nd man-servant, always hungry, having no money, but surviving by his wit and character, to 'get one over' on those who look down on him, and treat him as an idiot. He's portrayed with acrobatic and dance like movements, which would seem to be at odds with accusations that he's slow and stupid.
    A felt hat with a hares tail, belt with a polenta spoon, large flat unshod feet, a shaved head, with a bump on his forehead and a sooty face (or half mask) complete his costume. Fun is also made of the distinctive Bergamo dialect.

    The Brighella (the hood winking first servant) also originated in Bergamo, but in Upper Alta, and not 'the stinking stagnant marshes of lower Bergamo'(thought to be Borgo Canale) where Harlequin lived (having been born in the nearby valleys, but being lured to the lower town by the chance to work - probably more like heavy labour). Harlequin and Brighella are known as the Two Zanis.

    The first mention of Harlequin is of one Alberto Naselli from Bergamo in 1572. The first pictorial evidence is from a painting by Porous the Elder in 1570.

    Click here for more about Harlequin and The Commedia dell'arte

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