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.


Bergamo’s Mint

Old palace was where the city's coins were made

The strong wall of Palazzo Pacchiani Rivola
An unassuming old palace in Via Donizetti in the Città Alta used to house Bergamo’s Mint.

Palazzo Pachiani Rivola, at one time known as Palazzo Gromo dei Rivola, is at number 18 in the beautiful street named after the opera composer, Gaetano Donizetti. It has particularly strong walls and parts of it date back to the 13th century.

During what is known as the communal period, between the 11th and 14th centuries, when the citizens of Bergamo ruled themselves, the Mint of Bergamo, la zecca, was based in the palace.

The family who owned Palazzo Pachiani Rivola at that time, the Belfante di Rivola family, were believed to have received a good rent for housing the Mint.

The Rivola were one of the oldest and most powerful families in Bergamo . They were Guelphs and were involved in continual battles with the Suardi family, who were Ghibellines.

The only access to the house was along a small path named Gromo dei Rivola. This made the house so secure that the gold and silver from nearby mines were kept there after being brought to the city from the valleys. It is known that coins were minted in the palace by 1236, if not earlier.

The top of the street named
 after opera composer Donizetti
It has also been recorded that in 1254 a meeting was held in the Palazzo del Comune to agree regulations for Bergamo’s monetary system

A plaque on the wall of Palazzo Pachiani Rivola states that silver money was made on behalf of the Rivola family in the palace between 1236 and 1302.

Via Donizetti leads from Piazza Mercato delle Scarpe to Piazza Giuliani.

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