|Porta San Lorenzo is sometimes known as Porta Garibaldi|
The oldest and smallest of the gates leading into the Città Alta is Porta San Lorenzo, which leads into the upper city from Via Maironi to the north.
Confusingly, it is also sometimes referred to as Porta Garibaldi, as it was the entrance Giuseppe Garibaldi led his volunteer army through in June 1859 when he entered Bergamo and freed it from Austrian domination.
Porta San Lorenzo used to be the passageway to enter the city for people from the valleys north of Bergamo and from countries beyond the Alps.
Its ancient name comes from the church that used to be there, which was demolished by the Venetian invaders in order to build the walls.
Its second name, Porta Garibaldi, is to recognise the special connection Italy’s military leader had with Bergamo. Garibaldi played a key role in the process of Italian unification and, when he led the Expedition of the Thousand in 1860, some of the soldiers came from Bergamo.
As a reference to this expedition, Bergamo is also called Città dei Mille, the City of the Thousand.
Porta San Lorenzo had to be closed between 1605 and 1627 in order to keep the city safe. It was hard to keep the gate under enough surveillance to prevent an ambush.
The travellers from the valleys, who used to come into Bergamo through this gate, protested to the authorities until it was reopened.
But like the other three gates into the Città Alta, Porta San Lorenzo was always closed at 10 pm, when the bells would ring to signal the beginning of the curfew, which was imposed to guarantee the safety of the city.