A stunning sight silhouetted against the blue sky, the distinctive bell tower, il Campanone, in Bergamo’s Città Alta (upper town) is visible from miles away.
|Il Campanone towers above Piazza Vecchia|
Bergamo’s bell tower dates back to at least the 12th century. It is also known as the Torre Civica (Civic Tower) and stands next to the Palazzo della Ragione, dominating a corner of Piazza Vecchia. From the top there are wonderful views over Bergamo and the surrounding countryside.
If you are in Piazza Vecchia at ten pm on any evening you will hear the bell toll 100 times marking the ancient curfew, when the gates in Bergamo ’s walls were locked at night to keep the city safe from invaders. The bell tolled at ten pm to remind the Bergamaschi that it was time to come back inside the walls or be locked out for the night. Although residents and visitors to the Città Alta can now come and go as they please, the tradition of 100 chimes at ten pm continues.
Il Campanone and the city’s ancient curfew feature in a new crime novel set in Bergamo, Death in the High City by Val Culley. The book was published as a Kindle edition in May 2014 on Amazon and is also due out in paperback later this month.