|The statue of Colleoni in Venice|
As you walk round Bergamo you will see a chapel, a street, a bar and a restaurant named after Colleoni, a respected military leader who spent most of his life in the pay of the republic of Venice defending Bergamo against invaders.
He is remembered as one of the most honourable condottieri of his era, carrying out charitable works and agricultural improvements in Bergamo and the surrounding area when he was not involved in a military campaign.
He left money to Venice, with a request that an equestrian statue of himself be erected in Piazza San Marco. The statue was made by Andrea del Verrocchio, but as there was a rule that no monument was allowed in the Piazza San Marco, it was placed opposite the Scuola di San Marco in Campo Santi Giovanni e Paolo.
Towards the end of his life Colleoni turned his attention to designing a building to house his own tomb in the cittá alta, which was to give Bergamo its most ornate and celebrated building, the Cappella Colleoni (Colleoni Chapel)..
He commissioned the architect Antonio Amadeo to design an impressive chapel where he could be buried with all the insignia of a captain of the Venetian republic and the sacristry of the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore in Piazza Duomo had to be demolished to make way for this.
Amadeo designed the Cappella Colleoni to harmonise with Santa Maria Maggiore using pink and white marble to match the colours of the doorway of the basilica.
Inside the chapel he designed an elaborate two tier sarcophagus surmounted by a golden statue of Colleoni on horseback.