Bergamo &
the Accademia Carrara

Bergamo, Città alta © Luigi Facchinetti Forlani

The city of Bergamo lies in the province of Lombardy in northern Italy, between Milan and Lake Como. Its long and fascinating history ranges from Celtic origins and Roman settlement. In Renaissance times, from the fifteen century, it was ruled by the Republic of Venice, creating close cultural ties between the two centres. The Venetian conquerors fortified Città Alta on the hill; it remains a charming magical medieval town, enclosed within huge walls, with the modern city laid out below.

The Città alta or upper city of Bergamo remains largely untouched since the Venetians built fortified walls late in the sixteenth century. The architectural heritage of Bergamo reflects the wealth of its citizens who traded in textiles throughout Europe.

Simone Elia (artist and architect) Accademia Carrara c. 1810 ink and wash

The elegant Neoclassical building of the Accademia Carrara was completed in 1810. Count Giacomo Carrara, founder and donor, wanted to build an art school in Bergamo to improve the standard of painting in the city, and to continue the great cultural tradition of the region. So he collected works of art as examples for the students to copy in the approved manner of art training at the time. Because of the high quality of his paintings, and those added by other donors such as Count Guglielmo Lochis and Giovanni Morelli, the picture gallery is more renowned than the art school it originally served.

Simone Elia (architect) Accademia Carrara, Bergamo completed 1810 © and photo Giovanni Marchesi 2005


Map indicating the location of Bergamo, northern Italy