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Romano di Lombardia

Foto Romano di Lombardia
Foto Romano di Lombardia
Foto Romano di Lombardia
Foto Romano di Lombardia
Foto Romano di Lombardia
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Places  of historical value  of artistic value around Milan (Italy): Romano di LombardiaRomano di Lombardia is located in the area of the ancient sea (or lake) Gerundo, a vast body of brackish water that in prehistoric epochs occupied an area in the Po Valley between the Adda and Serio rivers.
Romano di Lombardia is just about twenty km from Soncino, but unlike this last one it has not yet managed to become a famous tourist destination, although it too rich in art and history treasures.

The town has very ancient origins since they date back to the Roman times. Regarding the origin of its name there are two theories. According to one it derives from its Roman origins. According to another it derives from the pre-Roman term Rumanus, of Indo-European origin and indicating a village built near water courses.

It must be said that the current town of Romano is not the original one (Romano Vetere). The latter in fact stood just south east of the present one and was exactly on the border of the dioceses of Bergamo and Cremona, which generated continuous problems.
In 1171, also on the wave of the devastation of the village caused by the war a few years earlier, it was decided to rebuild Romano in its current position, so that it would be completely in the diocese of Bergamo.
Almost nothing remains of the old town.
The new feudal lords recognized multiple privileges to Romano, including tax exemption and inclusion in a sort of free zone, a situation that allowed it to flourish economically and socially. At this time we owe the birth of the Roman market, which survived to the present day.

Romano was once was surrounded by walls, demolished in the third decade of the nineteenth century, which enclosed the current historic center; the walls were interrupted in three points by gates: to the east Gate Brescia (the only one still intact, larger image), to the north Gate Bergamo and to the south Gate Crema. At the walls there were two ditches, of which already in 1871 only the external one was still present.

Being located in correspondence with the Serio and Adda rivers, i.e. in an area that has always been on the border, the history of Romano includes numerous changes of domination, with an alternation of Milan and Venice in particular and the involvement of important families, in particular those of the Visconti, Sforza and Colleoni.
In the fifteenth century Romano became the capital of the private state of Bartolomeo Colleoni, who since 1465 had been exempted from any servitude and vassalage by the Republic of Venice. The Colleoni, as a man not only of war but also of peace as he was, left an important mark on Romano di Lombardia. To him we owe in particular the arcades of the Misericordia (Fig. 1), built to be the seat of the market.

The Venetian domination lasted until 1797, when the Napoleonic Cisalpine Republic took over. This had a short life, since already in 1815 it was replaced by the Lombard-Veneto Kingdom, part of the the Austrian empire.

Finally, starting from 1859 the territory was included in the newborn kingdom of Italy, progressively transforming itself from an agricultural center to an important industrial reality in the lower Bergamo area.

Romano di Lombardia offers numerous tourist attractions of a historic-artistic type.

  • Fortress (Fig. 2): Built at the end of the twelfth century, it is of a size comparable to that of the more famous Fortess of Soncino, although a little smaller and not equipped with an independent ravelin like that.
    In it you can see more architectural overlaps dating back to different periods, ranging from the twelfth to the eighteenth century. In this regard, an example comes from the three towers, placed at the perimeter vertexes of the rectangular section, externally delimited by a deep moat, now dried up. One of the towers dates back to the Visconti period, another to the communal period, and the last to the time of the Colleoni lordship, a tower in which the condottiere enclosed prisoners. The southwest tower has a half-height loggia, built by Colleoni.
    The walls are over five meters high and have a single entrance which is accessed by a masonry bridge, which came to replace the original drawbridge. On the side of the entrance there is still the pusterla (small door for people on foot) now walled up. The walls have a Ghibelline crenellation, although due to the succession of domains some sections have Guelph adaptations.
    It is possible that the inner courtyard was completely frescoed. Only a small part of these frescoes have survived until now. Among them, in particular, a beautiful lion of San Marco with the open book open under a paw, to symbolize the welcome domination of the Republic of Venice over the city.
    The reason why the fortess of Romano di Lombardia is not as famous as its Soncino counterpart perhaps consists in the fact that in this of Romano the interiors have been completely modified and no longer have anything ancient. Except for a small room to the left of the entrance, originally part of the castle's prison.
    Fortess of Romano di Lombardia in more detail

  • Palazzo della Ragione ("Palace of the reason"): It was built in the thirteenth century on two floors in Gothic style and was used for numerous administrative functions: it was the seat of the arengo, of the magistrates' Court and the court, and once it was also called the Palace of the Community. It saw a succession of various dominations, which left a mark of their presence: among these, the lion of San Marco still stands out today. Inside there are large halls with frescoes (some of which have gone lost over time) and the Trusses Hall, still used as a council chamber.
    Below the building there is a portico where the fish counter is placed, a stone table with an octagonal structure and probably of Roman origin, used for the sale of fish products in the medieval centuries.

  • Arcades of Mercy: They were built in Gothic style in the fifteenth century at the behest of Bartolomeo Colleoni, in order to offer an adequate structure in which to carry out the Romano periodical market. Each of the sixteen porticoes had a shop.

  • Rubini Palace: Built in 1854 as the residence of the famous Romano tenor Giovanni Battista Rubini, designed by the architect Pagnoncelli, it presents internally artworks of great value, including statues, stuccos and paintings of great level. The style is neoclassical, with a small garden in the entrance courtyard that resembles a miniature Italian park and a courtyard with a porch characterized by a floor with colored pebbles arranged to create decorative designs.
    Inside you can note in particular the Pirate Room (Fig. 3), which extends over two floors and which the tenor also used for home concerts, and the Oval Room with exposed brick vault, richly decorated walls and 8 internal columns.
    Later a museum named after the tenor himself was established in the building, as well as a branch of the Don Lorenzo Milani High School, the seat of the "G.B. Rubini" Civic Musical Body and two music schools.

  • Basilica of Saint Defendente: It represents the most important church of Romano, although not the one most noticeable, given that it is set back between the large parish church (see below) and the neo-gothic Church of Saint Mary of Lourdes (aka Church of the Cave). The anonymous facade, which was completed only in the twentieth century, certainly does not help.
    The pictorial decoration of the basilica took a very long time to be completed, so as to lead to the coexistence of both Renaissance and Neoclassical elements.
    The decoration of the church structures is Neoclassical, created by Filippo Comerio at the end of the eighteenth century and dedicated to the life of Saint Defendente.
    The building can be considered a gallery of paintings and artifacts from different periods. In particular, in the Chapel of the Crucifix, entering the first on the left, the large canvas by Aurelio Gatti known as the Sojaro, the altarpiece in the third chapel on the left, a work by Enea Salmeggia dedicated to the trinity, the lunette made by Andrea Pozzo and depicting Jesus' dispute in the temple in the first chapel on the right, the altarpiece of the main altar depicting the saving appearance of St. Defendant to the plague victims outside the walls of Romano, also by Aurelio Gatti (1590).
    See also: Basilica of San Defendente in detail

  • Church of Santa Maria Assunta and San Giacomo Maggiore (Fig. 5): It is the result of the last radical eighteenth-century reconstruction of the primitive parish church, founded at the same time as the town in the second half of the twelfth century and already demolished and rebuilt larger in 1363. The late seventeenth-century façade, dominated by neoclassical elements is characterized by very light colors and is equipped with two side bell towers (and two clocks). It dominates the eastern side of the town's main square.
    The interior, with a single nave, was completed only in the eighteenth century and is characterized by a style between baroque and neoclassicism typical of many churches of that epoch: Baroque are many details such as the richness of decorations and stuccoes, neoclassical it is the rather strict and schematic general structure and some other details. Note the choice of colors, dull and dark, which make the church very dark and difficult to appreciate.
    There are numerous artworks contained in it. They range from the sculptures of Moneghini and Gelpi, to valuable paintings such as The Madonna of the Suffrage, by Francesco Capella (1711-1784), The Immaculate by Jacopo Negretti known as Palma the younger (1544-1628), The Annunciation, S .Biagio and S. Joseph by Mauro Picenardi (1734-1804), Giambattista Tiepolo, Francesco Capella and Ponziano Loverini, The Last Supper by Giovan Battista Moroni (1520-1578), and The Holy Trinity by Coriolano Malagavazzo.
    See also Church of Santa Maria Assunta e San Giacomo Maggiore in more detail

  • Old cemetery: The Old Cemetery, also known as the Chapel of the Cemetery of the Leg, was built in 1761, conceived as a three-nave church with no roof over the central nave. On the walls of the lateral naves there are nineteenth-century tombstones, the walls are decorated with remarkable baroque frescoes depicting the Stations of the Cross, four biblical episodes and one "Trinity, Saints and Purgatory Souls" above the altar.
    Old Cemetery in more detail

  • Church of Saint Joseph: The small rural church represents the oldest religious building in Romano. Of Romanesque structure it was originally dedicated to Saint Eusebius, and its existence is documented already in the first part of the twelfth century. After a long period of total abandonment it was restored in the second half of the 20th century.
    The small church includes a single room, equipped on the bottom with a large semicircular presbytery. In front of the façade there is a covered space closed by a gate.
    On the walls there are remains of frescoes from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.

  • Sanctuary of the Madonna of the Fountain: It was built in the early seventeenth century in late Renaissance style. It has a Greek cross plan with an octagonal central part. At the four arms of the cross there are three chapels and the entrance.
    Very characteristic is the bell tower in baroque style beside the building, as well as the stuccos and paintings, among which those of Enea Salmeggia stand out.

  • Church of San Defendino: It is a small seventeenth century church built to preserve a fresco that recalled the appearance of San Defendente. Behind the altar until 1600 there was the original fresco, replaced by another until 1921 when it was covered by an oil painting depicting the characters of the fresco: the Immaculate, S. Antony Abbot and S. Defendente. In the church, very simple, the most important elements are the large Baroque altar in faux marble wood and the fresco decoration of the ceiling and in general of the walls above the cornice.

Categories: Places of historical value of artistic value

Romano di Lombardia
Further pictures of Romano di Lombardia in the section Photography
Romano di Lombardia (Bergamo, Italy): Interior of the Basilica of San Defendente
Romano di Lombardia (Bergamo, Italy): Trinity of Enea Salmeggia in the Basilica of San Defendente
Romano di Lombardia (Bergamo, Italy): Fourteenth century loggia of the fortess
Romano di Lombardia (Bergamo, Italy): Fresco of the lion of San Marco in the court of the fortess
Romano di Lombardia (Bergamo, Italy): Crucifixion of Aurelio Gatti in the Basilica of San Defendente
Romano di Lombardia (Bergamo, Italy): Arcades of Mercy
Romano di Lombardia (Bergamo, Italy): Interior of the Church of Santa Maria Assunta e San Giacomo Maggiore
Romano di Lombardia (Bergamo, Italy): Oval Room in Palace Rubini
Romano di Lombardia (Bergamo, Italy): Interior portrait view of the Church of Santa Maria Assunta e San Giacomo Maggiore
Romano di Lombardia (Bergamo, Italy): Apse of the Church of Santa Maria Assunta e San Giacomo Maggiore
Romano di Lombardia (Bergamo, Italy): Apsis of the Old Cemetery
Romano di Lombardia (Bergamo, Italy): Interior of the apse of the Church of Santa Maria Assunta e San Giacomo Maggiore
Romano di Lombardia (Bergamo, Italy): Frescoed interior of the apsis of the Old Cemetery
Romano di Lombardia (Bergamo, Italy): Altar of the Christian Doctrine  in the Basilica of San Defendente
Romano di Lombardia (Bergamo, Italy): Old Cemetery