The Colleoni Chapel, in Bergamo, is a wonderful mausoleum built between 1472 and 1477 next to the Church of Santa Maria Maggiore. It is named after great condottiero Bartolomeo Colleoni (1395-1475), whose feats were recorded by historian Ignazio Cantù in a 1860 book, “Bergamo e il suo territorio”:
“It is said that Bartolomeo was the first to use cannons in the countryside; he fought for the Venetians against the Visconti family, then for the Visconti family against the Venetians; he helped Francesco Sforza usurp power in Milan; bought again by the Venetians for one hundred thousand gold coins, many jurisdictions and unlimited freedoms, he led the city from victory to victory, and was about to fight the Turks when he died on 3 November 1475.”
After such powerful introduction, the author revels in Colleoni’s efforts in urban planning and the generous charities he founded for his city (“the people of Bergamo made him out to be some kind of saint, because he spent for his homeland the riches he earned with his sword”). When he died, he was buried in this beautiful chapel – a monument he dedicated to himself and, in a way, to the Middle Ages’ legendary bands of heroes, whose “glorious feats” were starting to seem less “romantic” to the new generations of condottieri, who sought power by managing wars from afar, delegating and enlisting troops.
The Chapel in Bergamo is architect Giovanni Antonio Amadeo’s masterpiece, and represents the end of an era, stylistically on balance between Middle Ages and Renaissance.
Piazza Duomo, 5
For more information:
tel. +39 035 210 061
March-October: every day 9.00am-12.30pm and 2.00pm-6.30pm
November-February: 9.00am-12.30pm and 2.00pm-4.30pm; closed on Mondays