Palazzo del Podestà & Campanone, Bergamo Alta
The Civic Tower, also known as “Campanone”, is located in the main square of the Upper Town, Piazza Vecchia.
It was built between XI and XII Century, when the aristocratic families used to vie to erect the highest tower in the city, so much that Bergamo was nicknamed “The City of one hundred Towers” during that time.
There are different ways to appreciate the Tower’s beauty. You can stare at it from Piazza Vecchia, or you can climb up to its top and enjoy the amazing view: in fact, it’s the only point from where it’s possible to see both the squares at the same time, Piazza Vecchia and Piazza del Duomo.
Similar to a belfry, the “Torre Civica” connects the Palazzo della Ragione and the Palazzo del Podestà.
Every night at 10, in the last 360 years, the bell has been chiming one hundred times: back in the days, the Campanone used to warn citizens about the closing of the four entrance Town Gates.
The Civic Tower, 52 meters high, can be climbed by means of a narrow staircase or by a modern glass elevator.
The highest tower of the city makes Bergamo Alta’s skyline so particular and beautiful. It represents the most famous one of the numerous medieval towers, to the extent that it was also used as the Podestà seat, the most important office of the city.
During that time, every noble family in Bergamo used to show its power by building a tower higher than the others.
It was melted in 1656 and was decorated in manneristic style: due to its huge size,
Bergamo citizens began to call it “Campanone - the Big Bell”, a name that was later used for Tower itself, too.