Bergamo. I. A province of N. Italy, a part of Lombardy, bounded N. by Sondrio, E. by Brescia, S. by Cremona, and W. by Milan and Como; area, 1,027 sq. m.; pop. in 1872, 368,-112. It comprises the three districts of Bergamo, Clusone, and Treviglio. The Alps extend down into the northern districts of Bergamo and Clusone, which are well wooded. The southern district, Treviglio, is part of the great Lombard plain, and is rich and fertile. The principal rivers are the Adda, its tributaries the Brembo and Serio, and the Oglio, an affluent of the Po, which flows through Lake Iseo. The vine, the olive, and the walnut are cultivated, and there are large plantations of mulberry trees. The province has valuable iron mines, large iron works, and several woollen and silk factories. It is celebrated for its beautiful scenery. The inhabitants are clownish and awkward in appearance, but shrewd. Their dialect is peculiar. The harlequins of the Italian stage have imitated their manners and accent, and are supposed to have had their origin in the valley of the Brembo. II. A city, capital of the province, between the Serio and Brembo, 28 m. N. E. of Milan; pop. in 1872, 37,363. It consists of an upper and a lower town, half a mile distant from each other.
The former, called the Citta (anc. Bergominn), is situated upon a steep and lofty hill, one of the last spurs of the Alps. It was strongly fortified by the Venetians, and its dismantled walls now form beautiful boulevards. The church of Santa Maria Maggiore was begun in 1134, but not completed- until long afterward. The northern part, erected in 1360, is of black and white marble. The interior is rich in stucco decorations and paintings, among which are remains of old frescoes, some of which are supposed to belong to the 14th century. The stalls of the choir and screen are among the finest specimens of wood carving in Italy. The campanile, more than 300 ft. high, appears conspicuously in the view. The sacristy, erected in 1430, is among the earliest examples of the introduction of the Roman style in connection with the Gothic. Adjoining the church is the sepulchral chapel of Bartolommeo Colleoni, a famous condot-tiere of the 15th century; the facade, which has lately been restored, is very fine, ornamented with ditferent-colored marbles. The duomo, or cathedral, has a fine cupola, which forms a conspicuous object. Before the Palazzo Vecchio, or Broletto, which contains a public library of 70,000 volumes, stands the statue of Torquato Tasso, whose father was a native of the town.
In the Carrara academy lectures are given on art. There is also an academy of music, in which Donizetti was taught, a theatre, and other public buildings. The lower town, called the Borgo or suburb of San Leonardo, is the seat of business. It is noted for La Fiera di Sant' Alessandro, a large square building of stone, within which are streets, 600 shops, and an open space in the centre adorned with a fountain. A great annual fair commences here in August, which is said to have been held ever since the 10th century. The building was erected in 1740. The commodities sold are silks, cloths, wools, iron, etc.