Not to be missed in Bergamo’s Città Bassa…
One of the most distinctive sights in Bergamo’s Città Bassa (lower town) are the two Propilei di Porta Nuova, buildings that look like small temples, which were designed by Ferdinando Crivelli in the mid 19th century.
Porta Nuova (New Gate) is the hub of the Città Bassa in the same way that Piazza Vecchia is the heart of the Città Alta (upper town). It was built on the site of one of the gates of the muraine, the name for the old city walls that used to run through the Città Bassa.
At one time gates were fixed between i Propilei, which were locked at night to keep out criminals, and the columned atrium at the front of each of the buildings acted as a customs and excise checkpoint.
The building on the left, near the Torre dei Caduti war memorial, contains a flower shop and the one on the right houses a ticket office for the ATB transport services company (open seven days a week from 7.20 am to 7.15 pm).
Behind Porta Nuova lies il Sentierone, a wide street that links Via Tasso with Via XX Settembre and is popular with the Bergamaschi for the daily passeggiata. Smart public buildings such as the Palazzo della Provincia, the Prefettura and the Teatro Donizetti were built nearby.
The new centre of the Città Bassa was completed by 1927 and the rest of modern Bergamo has developed round it. But it is only a short walk to much older parts of the Città Bassa, where narrow streets with churches and buildings dating back to the 14th and 15th centuries lead up to the Città Alta.