Porta Nuova, Bergamo
City Gate in Bergamo
Porta Nuova (formerly Barriera delle Grazie) is a monumental gate of the city of Bergamo. On 20 August 1837, the old wicket gate nestled in the “Muraine”, the massive XV Century walls that used to surround the hills and go down to the Lower Town and the old districts, was replaced by an iron gate opening a breach in the defensive walls: it is the neoclassical Porta Nuova (“New Gate”). The gateway leads to the commercial area of Bergamo and is the main junction of the Lower Town.
The “Ferdinandea” street was inaugurate in 1838 on the occasion of the visit of the Austria Emperor Ferdinand I, and it’s currently called Viale Vittorio Emanuele II: along with Viale Roma and Viale Papa Giovanni XXIII, it represents the main axis leading from the Lower Town to the Upper one. Fields originally surrounded it, but soon it became one of the most relevant roads of the town, where beautiful palaces were built, both public and private. The modern town developed itself around this street and Porta Nuova, featuring an ever-changing and industrious beauty, deeply related to work, shopping and everyday life.
The neoclassical twin-buildings dominating Porta Nuova on both sides are called “propylaeums”, which means “what stands in front of the gate”. Up untill 1901, they were used as a Customs Houses, which controlled the entrance of goods and assets to town: an iron gate used to block the way. Those who wanted to enter the town had to pay a tax on good, just like a modern customs.