Just a short drive from Milan, Bergamo is the perfect day trip to take from Hotel Principe di Savoia. Discover the delights of Bergamo’s beautiful churches with the help of our dedicated concierge team.
The churches of Bergamo
April 20, 2021
Otherwise known as the Duomo, Sant’Alessandro Cathedral is set right at the centre of the Città Alta. The building has undergone many revamps and renovations over the centuries, from the beginning of its construction in 1459 to the most recent refurbishment in 1889. Inside, there are many treasures to discover, including the holy remains of Saint Alexander, patron saint of Bergamo, and Saint John’s glittering golden tiara adorned with diamonds, rubies and emeralds. You’ll also find Giovanni Battista Tiepolo’s famous ‘Martyrdom of Saint John, Bishop of Bergamo’, and paintings by Giovanni Battista Moroni and Andrea Previtali, as well as a stunning altarpiece by Carlo Ceresa.
Piazza Duomo, 24129 Bergamo
Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore
Bergamo’s most important church, the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore is located on Piazza del Duomo, between the grand Piazza Vecchia and Piazza Rosate. A monument to Romanesque architecture on the outside and filled with Baroque decorations on the inside, the church was started in the 12th century but was not actually completed until the 18th century. One of the most unusual elements of the church’s design is that there is no specific main entrance. Instead, there are three side entrances to choose from guarded by red and white marble lions. Inside, you’ll find some beautiful frescos, tapestries and stuccos, as well as intricate wooden marquetry designed by celebrated Renaissance artist Lorenzo Lotto. You can also visit the funerary monument dedicated to Bergamo’s beloved composer Gaetano Donizetti.
Piazza Duomo, 5, 24129 Bergamo
Attached to the side of the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore, this chapel is also a mausoleum dedicated to the famous Italian ‘condottiero’ Bartolomeo Colleoni – one of Italy’s most celebrated and feared military generals. This stunning structure, designed by Giovanni Antonio Amadeo, features a façade of pink and white marble, while inside Colleoni’s magnificent marble sarcophagus lies below intricate frescoed ceilings, the central dome decorated by Venetian master Giovanni Battista Tiepolo. Also laid to rest here in an exquisite tomb is Colleoni’s favourite daughter, Medea.
Piazza Duomo, 5, 24129 Bergamo
Santa Maria delle Grazie
Widely regarded as central Bergamo’s most popular church, this attractive religious monument was in fact founded as a Franciscan convent by San Bernardino in 1422. It stood in the same spot until the 19th century, when it was demolished and moved to a different location. Designed by Antonio Preda, the new Neoclassical church is a Greek Cross structure, and inside you’ll find many features from the original church including the cloister and frescoes by Caterina Caniana, Giambettino Cignaroli and Enea Salmeggia. In the central dome is the stunning ‘Gloria di Maria’ (1865-68), painted by Enrico Scuri, director of the Accademia Carrara School of Painting.
Viale Papa Giovanni XXIII, 13, 24121 Bergamo
Sant’Egidio in Fontanella Abbey
Just a short drive from the city centre, Sant’Egidio in Fontanella Abbey is an ancient monastery in the woods, which is as atmospheric as it sounds. Well worth the journey, this medieval abbey was built over 1,000 years ago, and you can still see sections of the original frescoes which once decorated its interior. The building is not a functioning monastery anymore, but stepping inside its walls will transport you back to its heyday as the home of the monks of Cluny.
Via Regina Teoperga, 16, 24039 Fontanella
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