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The Walls of Bergamo

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Bergamo, is a city in Lombardy, northern Italy, about 40 km northeast of Milan, in the southern foothills of the Alps between the Brembo and Serio rivers. Bergamo occupies the site of the ancient town of Bergomum, founded as a settlement of the Celtic tribe of Cenomani. In 49 BC it became a Roman municipality, containing c. 10,000 inhabitants at its peak. An important hub on the military road between Friuli and Raetia, it was destroyed by Attila in the 5th century. it was later the seat of a Lombard duchy and became an independent commune in the 12th century. Ruled by the Milanese Visconti family after 1329, it passed in 1428 to Venice until 1797, when the French took control and then included it in the Cisalpine Republic (established by Napoleon). In 1815 it became Austrian and, in 1859, part of the Italian kingdom.

The city of Bergamo is composed of two parts, there is the Città Alta (Upper Town), built up on the hills, which is the "city" by definition, and the Città Bassa (Lower Town), which is a lively financial, industrial and administrative centre of national importance. The two parts are separated, both physically and symbolically, by the powerful Venetian Walls, which were built by the Serenissima Republic of Venice in the second half of the 16th century to defend the city, which was the farthermost centre on the Mainland, close to the border with Milan's territory.The upper city is enclosed by this imposing masonry examples and bastions that date back to the XVIth century when Bergamo was part of the Venetian Republic. The red light of the street lamps descends upon this impressive structure while whole panorama of the lower city can be gazed upon from above. The walls extend for over 5 kilometers, with a varying height that reaches 20 meters in certain poits. Over the weekend, the perimeter becomes a large pedestrian area. The excitement of passing through one of its 4 monumental gates into the upper city enclosed by these high walls is unique. The most sumptuous entrance is the northern one, also known as Porta di San Giacomo, its beauty is due to the romantic stone bridge leading to it, as well as to the brightness of the marble, the most suggestive one is Porta San Lorenzo (or Garibaldi) where Giuseppe Garibaldi annexed Bergamo to the Piedmontese Kingdom.

The Lion of Saint Mark, a symbol of the city of Venice and its millennial Serenissima Republic, appears in all the cities that have been part of its territory (usually in the main squares and in the historical palaces) and is found in flags, gonfalons, coats of arms , statues and coins. It also appears in both the mercantile and military naval flags of the Italian Republic. Even in Bergamo, as in all the cities where the Serenissima built a defense wall, the symbol was placed on the gates of access to the city.

The Venetian Walls of Bergamo just in 2017 has become part of the UNESCO Heritage List, reinforcing the primacy of Lombardy in the Italian peninsula.

The Walls for Kids


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Eleonora Ruzzenenti

Eleonora Ruzzenenti

I am Eleonora, from Italy. I share with you a frenetic passion for travelling and an insatiable curiosity for different cultures. On itinari, you will find my stories about Italy.

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