Tempietto di Santa Croce
Church in Bergamo
The unassuming yet captivating Tempietto di Santa Croce, an octagonal chapel dating back to the 11th century, stands as a hidden gem in Bergamo, often overlooked despite its prominent location. Nestled in the shadows of the imposing Basilica di Santa Maria and not far from the Cattedrale di Bergamo, this church remains one of the city’s best-kept secrets.
Established sometime during the 11th century, the Santa Croce chapel first appeared in historical records in 1133, referred to as the ‘capella episcopi,’ signifying its connection to the bishop’s residence. Today, the chapel is situated adjacent to the Episcopal Palace, offering a serene escape from the bustling crowds that flock to Bergamo’s main square, Fontana di Piazza Vecchia.
It is believed that the chapel received its initial decorative elements around 1360, although evidence of this adornment remained hidden until recent times. Surprisingly, the Santa Croce chapel garnered so little attention that it wasn’t subjected to restoration until the 1930s. Should you have the opportunity to explore its interior, which was regrettably inaccessible during our visit to Bergamo, you would encounter four exquisite frescoes depicting scenes from the life of Jesus, skillfully painted by Cristoforo Baschenis the Younger. Adorning the upper walls and dome of the chapel, you will also find a fresco and bas-reliefs attributed to the talented Francesco Coghetti.
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