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Piazza Vecchia

By bliba  
Piazza Vecchia represents the core of Città Alta: it has been the heart of political power for centuries and it keeps being one of the most popular places for Bergamo’s citizens to spend some time with friends.

Beauty is all around you if you have a seat at one of the square’s restaurants or cafes, having a drink, breakfast or even a romantic dinner. You can admire the building called “Palazzo della Ragione”, the oldest municipal seat in Lombardy, as well as the Torre Civica, a bell tower also called “Campanone”.

In the middle of the square is located the Contarini Fountain, which was donated to the city by the chief magistrate Alvise Contarini in 1780, while on the opposite side of Piazza Vecchia you can see the Palazzo Nuovo (“New Palace”), which served as Bergamo’s Town Hall until 1873 and is today the seat of the Angelo Mai Library. Its incredible collection includes ancient and precious books: incunabula, books from the 1500s, engravings, manuscripts and other inestimable artefacts making it one of the most outstanding libraries in Italy.

The geometrical layout of the buildings around the square is so harmonic that when Le Corbusier visited Bergamo he said “you can’t move a single stone, it would be a crime”

Built exactly where the ancient Roman forum was, Piazza Vecchia is a lovely and unexpected opening amidst the alleys and the narrow streets leading to it, as well as a perfect place to admire the beauty of Città Alta. The square area was originally delimited by today’s Piazza Duomo and then became the centre of the medieval town, where public edicts were issued and business used to be carried out, as the iron bars fixed on the side of Santa Maria Maggiore Church show. These bars are called “misure” (“measures”) and date back to the Middle Age, when the fragmented jurisdiction led to different measurement systems. Every city used to create its own units of measure for weights, volumes and lengths, so they were exhibited in public places (usually where the market took place). The bars on Santa Maria Maggiore’s external wall represent Bergamo’s units of measure during the Middle Age. The current layout of Piazza Vecchia appeared only after the rising of the Palazzo della Ragione, at the end of 1100, separating the present space from the Duomo’s square behind it. The private houses that used to be there were gradually demolished starting from the XIV Century. Once the square reached current size, the most significant change took place during the end of Venice domination, when the beautiful Contarini fountain was built. It was put in the middle of the square both for aesthetic and practical reasons (you can still quench your thirst drinking from one of its sphinxes’ mouths); in the late XIX Century it was replaces with a statue of Giuseppe Garibaldi, but eventually was put back at its original place in 1922.

Tags: Black and white Low light Monochrome photography Bergamo Citta alta Bnw photography Leica X2

Voters: kw, richmowil, mike9005 and 47 more

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Lontano 11 8 2 United Kingdom
14 Jan 2020 7:14PM
Not only do I love the composition, with its delicate layers of tone and the highlights from the decorations, but the narrative takes me deep into the layout and history of this city. One to put on my list when I next visit "Italia Meravigliosa"
saltireblue Plus
11 12.2k 76 Norway
14 Jan 2020 7:17PM
A fascinating write-up, Ollie.
You make the bell-tower seem haunted in the darkness and low light.
adagio Plus
2 3 2 England
14 Jan 2020 7:31PM
This is beautiful Oliver, and reading your very informative narrative I really feel as though I'm in that square.

Saastad 2 16 15 Norway
14 Jan 2020 7:45PM
Beautiful mono!

Arne Smile
14 Jan 2020 7:48PM
Excellent composition and beautiful atmosphere Oliver, i 've been several times to Bergamo
and your interesting narrative makes it even more fascinating.

Minty805 Plus
5 43 9 United Kingdom
14 Jan 2020 8:10PM
Very atmospheric, and a superb, detailed description.
taggart Plus
17 47 14 United States
14 Jan 2020 9:09PM
Ahhhh----Christmas in Italia

We had to make do with Christmas in Providence RI. with our Italian family~
14 Jan 2020 9:47PM
great write-up and b&w photography
mac Plus
19 13 Scotland
14 Jan 2020 11:45PM
Fascinating story which is complemented by your super image. I like how the salient points, the clock tower and the statues are lit and stand out from the dark background.
15 Jan 2020 2:30AM
A fascinating mono photo.....and a wonderful commentary.

woolybill1 Plus
14 38 78 United Kingdom
15 Jan 2020 8:05AM
A wealth of detail and character on this corner of the piazza, Oliver. I particularly like the diagonal rising line of the colonnaded steps (for so it appears to be). A fascinating location very well described, always bearing in mind that one picture serves better than a thousand words. Your night-time work is outstanding so a U.A. is essential SmileWink
Nikonuser1 Plus
9 168 16 United Kingdom
15 Jan 2020 9:02AM
Excellent mono image a great write upSmileSmile

15 Jan 2020 10:10AM

Quote:Excellent mono image a great write upSmileSmile


I agree with Cliff! SmileSmileSmile

Fefe Plus
9 57 37 United Kingdom
15 Jan 2020 10:34AM
Great image Oliver!
15 Jan 2020 11:05AM
Great view point to capture lots of different elements of magic, Oliver.

capto Plus
9 6.8k 25 United Kingdom
15 Jan 2020 12:40PM
The tower rising into the night sky makes a fine composition.Smile
TrevBatWCC Plus
13 13 19 England
15 Jan 2020 12:44PM
You certainly advertise the place very well, Oliver, and together with this fine capture, makes us want to go! But I do love Italy with their Piazzas, usually with a fountain and clocktower 👍😀
Trev 😀
16 Jan 2020 7:20AM
Beautiful Oliver ..and a bit haunting ....can feel the presence of Dukes and Counts and priests about .

And numerous Togs!
Cheers Walt

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