One of the most distinctive buildings in the Citta Alta, Bergamo’s upper town, is the 12th century Palazzo della Ragione, an imposing presence at the southern end of Piazza Vecchia.
The dark, medieval palace is perhaps Bergamo’s most frequently photographed building and has become an iconic image of the Citta Alta.
|Medieval Palazzo at one end of Piazza Vecchia|
The ground floor walls of the Palazzo were removed in the 15th century, allowing a view through the arches into Piazza Duomo. This provides a glimpse of the sumptuous fascade of the Colleoni Chapel, which is a bright contrast to the dark stone of the Palazzo.
It is claimed court cases used to be heard under the open arcades that now form the ground floor of the Palazzo and that prisoners were put on show there for the Bergamaschi to see.
Nowadays you will often be able to listen to musicians under the arcades while you sit and enjoy a drink at the Bar Tasso next to the Palazzo.
A grand covered stairway was added to the Palazzo della Ragione in 1453. This rises from Piazza Vecchia to the first floor of the Palazzo, where 13th and 14th century frescoes, taken from old churches and houses in the surrounding area, were used to decorate the upper hall. Known as the Truss Room, the upper hall is now often used for art exhibitions.