Sky­scra­pers from the year one thou­sand, of up­per Ber­ga­mo Al­so kno­wn as the “Cam­pa­no­ne”

The Key to Bergamo Tourist Magazine - - Bergamo -

Vi­si­tors ar­ri­ving in Ber­ga­mo from the plain will cer­tain­ly be im­pres­sed by the to­wers and bel­fries that cha­rac­te­ri­se the sky­li­ne of the old hill­top ci­ty, whi­ch make it one of the mo­st uni­que sights not ju­st in Lom­bar­dy, but the en­ti­re Al­pi­ne area. It is an image that, par­ti­cu­lar­ly in the ca­se of the to­wers, ta­kes one far back in ti­me to re­call an an­cient hi­sto­ry. They are kno­wn as the “sky­scra­pers” of the year one thou­sand. Ma­ny years ago the­re we­re ma­ny mo­re; tho­se ri­sing up abo­ve the roofs of the old ci­ty are sur­vi­vors from the Midd­le Ages. Built by po­wer­ful fa­mi­lies, the­se hou­se- to­wers we­re used for de­fen­ce pur­po­ses, but they we­re al­so a sym­bol of pre­sti­ge. Du­ring the ti­me of con­flict bet­ween the fac­tions of the Guel­phs, who sup­por­ted the Po­pe, and the Ghi­bel­li­nes, who we­re on the si­de of the Ho­ly Ro­man Em­pe­ror, Ber­ga­mo was the sta­ge for bloo­dy cla­shes, am­bu­shes and at­tacks. The to­wers we­re not on­ly used for wi­th­stan­ding long sie­ges, but al­so for con­trol­ling the mo­ve­men­ts of op­po­nen­ts and at­tac­king them from abo­ve. The mo­st evi­dent exam­ple is the ma­je­stic to­wer that stands in the heart of the old ci­ty at the si­te of the mo­st im­por­tant cros­sroads of Ro­man Ber­ga­mo, whe­re the car­do (the nor­th- sou­th orien­ted road) met the de­cu­ma­nus (the street run­ning ea­st-we­st). The Gom­bi­to To­wer took its na­me from this cros­sroads, whi­ch has re­mai­ned un­chan­ged over the cen­tu­ries. It ap­pears as an al­mo­st win­do­w­less buil­ding, wi­th a for­ti­fied re­si­den­ce along­si­de that on­ce be­lon­ged to the fa­mi­ly that built it. The Gom­bi­to To­wer is al­so open to the pu­blic. In sum­mer and at par­ti­cu­lar times, a gui­de will ta­ke vi­si­tors to the top - but the who­le climb mu­st be car­ried out on foot. Ori­gi­nal­ly 64 me­tres hi­gh, in the ni­ne­teen­th cen­tu­ry it was re­du­ced to its cur­rent 52 me­tres for sa­fe­ty rea­sons, but even at this height, vi­si­tors are struck by its com­pact bulk ma­de up of lar­ge blocks of sto­ne. Near­by Piaz­za Mer­ca­to del Fie­no al­so fea­tu­res a well pre­ser­ved exam­ple of a hou­se­to­wer, whi­ch is, in fact, ma­de up of two to­wers. Win­do­ws ad­ded in less bel­li­co­se times ha­ve sof­te­ned its ap­pea­ran­ce. An ele­gant bal­co­ny in the so­lid wall, whi­ch is over­loo­ked by a mul­lio­ned win­dow, cat­ches the eye. Si­mi­lar buil­dings we­re on­ce found all over the Me­die­val ci­ty, but to­day all that re­mains is the me­mo­ry in an­cient do­cu­men­ts and so­me frag­men­ts of walls ab­sor­bed by other buil­dings. The to­wer be­lon­ging to the ci­ty’s fir­st de­fen­ces seems to wel­co­me vi­si­tors to old Ber­ga­mo from Col­le Aper­to. This is the Adal­ber­to To­wer, whi­ch was na­med af­ter the bi­shop who com­mis­sio­ned its con­struc­tion. Ano­ther, even mo­re mighty, to­wer stood not far away. Tran­sfor­med in­to a bel­fry for the basilica hou­sing the bo­dy of St. Ale­xan­der, the pa­tron saint of Ber­ga­mo, it was de­mo­li­shed to­ge­ther wi­th the chur­ch in 1561 when the Ve­ne­tian Re­pu­blic be­gan buil­ding the walls. Four to­wers do­mi­na­ted the near­by Hill of San Gio­van­ni and we­re part of the grand for­ti­fied con­struc­tion cal­led “Fir­ma Fi­des”, whi­ch was built by the Vi­scon­ti fa­mi­ly, Lords of Milan. No tra­ce is left of the­se two to­wers, nor ano­ther two si­tua­ted on the slo­pe be­low; on­ly the Cam­pa­nel­la To­wer re­mains, whi­ch lies bet­ween the Cit­ta­del­la (Ci­ta­del) and Piaz­za Ma­sche­ro­ni. Ano­ther ve­ry well kno­wn to­wer is the one do­mi­na­ting Piaz­za Vec­chia, whi­ch has be­co­me a sym­bol of Cit­tà Al­ta (Up­per Ber­ga­mo). This is the mu­ni­ci­pal to­wer. Wi­th a height of 54 me­tres, it was built by the po­wer­ful Suar­di fa­mi­ly who had to surrender it to the mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty. Tran­sfor­med for ci­vic uses, a bell was ad­ded, whi­ch for cen­tu­ries mar­ked ti­me wi­th ci­ty li­fe. Fol­lo­wing a ve­ry old tra­di­tion, the bell still sounds at 10 p.m. to mark the old cur­few. It tolls wi­th 180 po­wer­ful rings that the sounds of the mo­dern ci­ty are una­ble to ma­sk.

( big bell), it has a mo­dern lift that ta­kes vi­si­tors to the top, from whe­re they can en­joy spec­ta­cu­lar views.

ber­gam o al­ta

Ber­ga­mo in­ne­va­ta e vi­sta dall’al­to è mol­to sug­ge­sti­va. La ne­ve bian­ca sui tet­ti, la lu­ce cal­da che de­li­mi­ta le vie del­la cit­tà al­ta ed ac­cen­de le di­mo­re e le chie­se ar­roc­ca­te sul col­le, crea­no un’at­mo­sfe­ra dav­ve­ro ma­gi­ca.

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