Bergamo institution launched by high school students
|The club badge with
the image of Atalanta
The club was the idea of a group of students from the Liceo Classico Paolo Sarpi, one of the city’s oldest and most prestigious high schools, which can be found off Via Arena in the Città Alta.
Football was just one activity that came under the umbrella of the Società Bergamasca di Ginnastica e Sports Atletici Atalanta - the Bergamasca Society of Gymnastics and Athletic Sports - to which they attached the name Atalanta after the Greek mythological heroine famous for her running prowess.
Soon, football was the dominant sport, although for the first seven years of its life, the new club had no home and played friendly matches on whatever open space was available. In 1914 they did find a home ground in Via Maglio del Lotto, adjoining the railway line just outside Bergamo station.
The ground had a small grandstand housing 1,000 spectators. It is said that the drivers of trains approaching the station would slow down in order to enjoy a few moments of the action.
In the event, after Italy was drawn into World War One, the club remained in Via Maglio del Lotto for only two seasons. With so many young men going off to fight, the club suspended its activities and sold the ground.
|Atalanta's 1913-14 team, which played at a
stadium near Bergamo's railway station
By that point, club members were eager to join the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) and compete in their league but Bergamo had another team with similar ambitions, called Bergamasca, which had evolved from a club started by Swiss emigrants in 1904.
The FIGC would allow only one team from Bergamo to compete in their Prima Categoria, as their first division was then called. To decide which of them would represent the city, in 1919 a play-off was arranged, which Atalanta won 2-0.
In the event, the two clubs agreed to merge in 1920, forming a new club which at first was called Atalanta Bergamasca di Ginnastica e Scherma 1907, scherma being fencing. It was soon shortened to Atalanta Bergamasca Calcio, which remains its name today.
The club now plays at the Gewiss Stadium on Viale Giulio Cesare in the northeast of the city, a short walk from the centre of the Città Bassa - the lower city - and visible in the panoramic view available from vantage points on the eastern side of the Città Alta.
The stadium has been their home since 1928. It was built during the Fascist era at a cost of 3.5 million lira and originally named Stadio Mario Brumana after a Fascist official, which was common practice with public buildings at the time.
|Bergamo's 94-year-old stadium was given an
impressive facelift with the Gewiss sponsorship
At the same time as Atalanta moved into the ground in 1928, the Italian championship was restructured with the top division renamed Serie A, as it is today.
Atalanta were initially placed in Serie B but within a decade had been promoted to Serie A.
Atalanta have never won the Serie A, yet have the proud record of having spent 62 seasons in the top division, 28 in Serie B and only one in Serie C, which is the best record of any team not based in a regional capital.
The current team, managed since 2016 by Gian Piero Gasperini, are enjoying one of the most successful spells in the club’s history, having qualified for the Champions League three seasons in a row and twice reached the final of the Coppa Italia.