Bergamo’s beautiful upper town, the Città Alta (pictured above), is a magical place well worth visiting. Use this website to help you plan your trip to Bergamo in Northern Italy and find your way to some of the other lovely towns and villages in Lombardia that are perhaps less well known to tourists.


Largest Lotto masterpiece rises above the altar

Not to be missed in Bergamo's Città Bassa...


Church of San Bartolomeo
The Church of the Saints Bartolomeo and Stefano stands at the corner of Via Torquato Tasso and Largo Bortolo Belotti, providing an ornate backdrop to Via Sentierone in the Città Bassa (lower town).
The Church, usually referred to as just San Bartolomeo, was built in the first half of the 17th century on the site of the 13th century convent of the ‘umiliati’. The imposing baroque-style façade was added in 1897.
Inside there are some beautiful 18th century frescoes, but it is difficult not to be drawn straight to the magnificent altarpiece, Madonna with Child and Saints painted in 1513 by Lorenzo Lotto.
The painting is also sometimes referred to as Pala Martinengo as it was commissioned by Alessandro Martinengo Colleoni, the nephew and adopted ‘son’ of the famous condottiero Bartolomeo Colleoni for another church that was later demolished. It had two further homes before being brought to the Church of San Bartolomeo .
The full title of the magnificent work is ‘l’Incoronazione della beata Vergine e la gloria dei Santi’.
Mary is depicted sitting on a throne wearing a red dress with a rich, blue outer garment. She is holding the baby Jesus and is surrounded by ten saints.

Lorenzo Lotto's legacy to Bergamo

Artist Lorenzo Lotto spent 12 of his most creative years living and working in Bergamo and many churches contain altar pieces and paintings of religious subjects produced by him in that period between 1513 and 1525.
The church of Santo Spirito in Piazza di Santo Spirito has an altarpiece by Lotto in one of the chapels featuring the Virgin Mary with child and saints. In the small church of San Bernardino in Via Pignolo there is also an altarpiece depicting the Virgin Mary with child and saints.
Church of Sant'Alessandro in Colonna
If you carry on walking up Via Pignolo towards the Città Alta (upper town) you will come to the area where Lotto lived during his time in Bergamo . His local church, San Michele al Pozzo Bianco (Saint Michael at the white well), is home to another of his most important works, Vita di Maria (history of Mary’s life), which decorates an entire chapel to the left of the altar.
The church of Sant’Alessandro in Colonna in Via Sant’Alessandro houses two works by Lotto, Deposition from the Cross and Virgin Mary and Child.
Lorenzo Lotto did not receive widespread recognition for his brilliance until the middle of the last century but his works are now displayed in galleries in New York and Washington as well as the Uffizi in Florence and the Borghese gallery in Rome.
Born in Venice, Lotto worked in Treviso, Le Marche and Rome before going to live in Bergamo.
He returned to Venice in 1525 where he concentrated mainly on painting portraits, but by 1544 he had become elderly and poor. He went to live in Loreto, where he lived by painting canvases for the Basilica there until he died in 1556.
It is thought that the happiest period of Lotto’s life was spent in Bergamo and his legacy to the city is some of his best works of art, accessible in the churches to be viewed free of charge by visitors.

San Bartolomeo is open daily 08.30 – 12.00; 15.30 – 18.30.

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