Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore

sights / Religious

Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore information

Bergamo , Italy
Piazza del Duomo
Opening hours
9am-12.30pm & 2.30-6pm Apr-Oct, shorter hourrs Nov-Mar
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Begun in 1137, the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore is quite a mishmash of styles. To its whirl of Romanesque apses (on which some external frescoes remain visible), Gothic additions were slapped on. A more obvious addition is the busy Renaissance Cappella Colleoni , on the side facing the Piazza del Duomo. Detached from the church is the octagonal baptistry .

Influences seem to come from afar, with dual-colour banding (black and white, and rose and white) typical of Tuscany and an interesting trompe l'œil pattern on part of the facade.

The Cappella Colleoni, which was tacked on to the side facing the square between 1472 and 1476, was built as a magnificent mausoleum-cum-chapel for the Bergamese mercenary commander Bartolomeo Colleoni (c 1400–75), who led Venice's armies in campaigns across northern Italy. He lies buried inside in a magnificent tomb. Venetian rococo master Giambattista Tiepolo (1696–1770) did some of the frescoes below the central dome.

The baptistry was built in 1340 but plonked in its present spot in 1898.