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Caravaggio

Foto Caravaggio
Foto Caravaggio
Foto Caravaggio
Foto Caravaggio
Foto Caravaggio
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Places  of historical value  of artistic value around Milan (Italy): CaravaggioThe village of Caravaggio, with almost 15,000 inhabitants, is located in the plain between the Adda and Serio rivers, 30 km east of Milan and 15 km south of Bergamo, a city that long fought over the village. Despite being famous above all for the great Sanctuary of Santa Maria del Fonte and for being the birthplace of the painter Michelangelo Merisi the town also offers numerous attractions for tourists and visitors.

The village of Caravaggio probably has early medieval origins, if not even Roman. In the Middle Ages it was a fortified center, first in struggle with Milan, then in its possession. In 1335 Caravaggio was occupied by Azzone Visconti, who started the Visconti domination. During this period, in the fourteenth century, the village was surrounded by turreted walls and a double moat, in which four doors opened: Prata, Folcero, Seriola and Vicinato (the Baroque Porta Nuova, in the larger picture, was only opened in the eighteenth century). In 1427/1437 the city was occupied by the Venetian troops commanded by Francesco Sforza, who however, having passed to the Ambrosian Republic, reoccupied it on behalf of the Milanese, defeating the troops of the famous leader Bartolomeo Colleoni in 1448. It then returned again for a short time in possession of the Serenissima between 1499 and 1509. In 1524 the village was sacked by the soldiers of Giovanni dalle Bande Nere and in 1532 it was erected as a marquisate in favor of Gian Paolo, illegitimate son of Ludovico il Moro.
In 1629 the town suffered the descent of the lansquenets, who added the plague to the sacking. The population shrank by a third.
Until the Napoleonic conquest (1797) Caravaggio was an important fortress of the Duchy of Milan. The municipality returned to Bergamo only after the Napoleonic reforms (1805).
The life of the village centers on the two main squares: the one overlooked by Palace Gallavresi (Fig. 4), which has been the seat of the town hall since 1947, and the one overlooked by the parish church of Saints Fermo and Rustico (Fig. 1).

In Caravaggio there are many things worth seeing and visiting, so much so that one day can barely suffice.

  • Sanctuary of Caravaggio: The full name of the sanctuary is Sanctuary of Saint Mary of the Spring at Caravaggio.
    It stands in the place where according to tradition the Virgin appeared, on May 26, 1432, in front of the young peasant Giannetta de' Vacchi. As a sign of the Apparition, a spring of water gushed out of the meadow which in the course of time benefited many people.
    The erection of the temple as it can still be seen today, however, began only in 1575, on the initiative of the then archbishop Carlo Borromeo.
    The sanctuary complex consists of a large over 90 meters long church and almost two kilometers of arcades that surround it almost completely.
    Sanctuary of Caravaggio in detail

  • Church of the Saints Fermo and Rustico: The parish church of Saints Fermo and Rustico represents the most important religious building inside the town of Caravaggio, i.e. not considering the Sanctuary of Saint Mary of the Spring, which is actually located outside the town.
    The origins of the church probably date back to before the year 1000. Currently it presents externally with a Gothic-Lombard dress and internally with a late Baroque dress with already neoclassical elements.
    The most valuable element is represented by the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament, an authentic little jewel of Renaissance architecture and art.
    The very tall bell tower is visible from most of the town (Fig. 2)
    Church of the Saints Fermo and Rustico in detail.

  • Church of San Bernardino: The Church of San Bernardino, which was originally part of the Convent of San Bernardino, was built at the turn of the late Gothic and early Renaissance. The first style prevails at the level of architecture, the second at the level of pictorial decoration.
    The part of the complex corresponding to the monastery was restored and later used as a civic center and seat of the municipal library and the naval museum dedicated to Ottorino Zibetti.
    Church of San Bernardino in detail.

  • Church of Santa Elisabetta: The church, whose full name is Church of the Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth, was originally part of the complex of the former monastery of the Augustinans, now in part parish house.
    The current church was built starting from 1626 on a design by Fabio Mengoni (or Mengone) in place of a pre-existing church, it was consecrated only in 1674 but was never actually finished, especially on the outside.
    The church has a private part, originally dedicated exclusively to nuns.
    Church of Santa Elisabetta in detail.

  • Church of San Giovanni: It is connected to the order of the Humiliated and the Cistercians and is located next to the monastery of the same name.
    Owned by the municipality since the 1970s, the church is now deconsecrated.
    The interior is bare and essential, as the works contained therein have been moved elsewhere to better preserve them.
    The building is not accessible to the public for safety reasons. However, it is possible to admire the restored facade along Roma street.
    In January 1571 the marriage between Fermo Merisi and Lucia Aratori, parents of the famous Michelangelo Merisi, was celebrated there.

  • Church of Santa Liberata: Small church in pure Renaissance style built in the early sixteenth century.
    The small church was the suburban church of the peasants who lived outside the town walls on that side of the village.
    The central plan reflects the architectural fashion of that time, linked to the passage of Bramante in Lombardy.
    Church of Santa Liberata in detail

  • Church and cemetary of Sant'Eusebio: The small church of Sant'Eusebio was built, in perfect neoclassical style, starting from 1839, in place of a much older church. The church has an almost cubic structure. Above, a low drum is inserted on which rests a low dome. In front of the entrance there is a large portico with three arches delimited by four columns in pure Doric style, on which rests, over an entablature, a large triangular pediment on which three statues of angels are placed.
    Also the style of the interior is exquisitely neoclassical, including that of the decorations: the statue of Faith above the altar, the frescoes in the pendentives, painted by Enrico Scuri in 1841 and depicting the prophets Malachi, Isaiah, Joel and Jeremiah, the stained glass windows (Giuseppe Bertini, 1842), the fresco that occupies the entire apse basin, depicting the Lamentation of Christ and painted in 1842 by Giovanni Moriggia.

  • Palace Gallavresi (Fig. 4): It is the seat of the Municipality of Caravaggio. Built in the thirteenth century, but perhaps a reconstruction of an older building, it was the noble residence of a branch of the Sforza family of Milan and the center of power of the Marquisate of Caravaggio from the sixteenth to the end of the eighteenth century. Subsequently it passed through various ownership until it came into the possession of the Gallavresi family to whom it owes its name. In the 1930s, Palace Gallavresi was purchased by the Municipal Administration and became the town hall. The continuous changes of ownership have profoundly changed its structure, interiors, furnishings and the general appearance of the building.
    The palace is characterized by a portico with late Gothic arches dating back to the 15th century, with exposed terracotta elements.
    At the center of the main façade there is a balcony intended for the burgomaster to make speeches to the citizens; in correspondence of it the facade has a tympanum emerging from the top.
    Since 1967, Palace Gallavresi has housed the Civic Art Gallery, a collection of works dating from the late fifteenth to the twentieth centuries that includes altarpieces, portraits, frescoes, drawings, bronze plaques and busts.

  • Old Hospital: Located next to the Church of San Giovanni Battista, it was originally the Monastery first of the Humiliated and then of the Cistercians. The building later became a hospice and hospital, retaining this function until 1971.
    Unfortunately it is not open to the public and the only part that can be appreciated is the exposed brick facade that overlooks Roma street.

  • Porta Nuova Arch (larger picture): It is located at the point where the Sanctuary avenue enters the historic center. Contrary to what it might seem at first glance, it is not a city gate, but a religious monument. In fact, it was erected, in Baroque style, on the occasion of the Coronation of the Blessed Virgin at the Sanctuary, celebrated in 1710. It was finished in 1709 and inaugurated on 29 September 1710 to coincide with the coronation celebrations. In fact, looking at it better, one realizes that it has the same structure as a facade of a Baroque church.
    The side doors are dominated by two rustic marble angels, depicted in the act of playing the trumpet while in the niche above the central door stands a marble group, by an unknown artist, representing the apparition of the Virgin of Caravaggio to Giannetta Varoli.
    Further below, inside a niche, there is a putto, holding a golden lily (Catholic symbol of the Virgin) leaning towards the Sanctuary. Unfortunately the putto's hand was lost in the 1990s.

  • Fontanile Brancaleone Nature Reserve : It is located north of Caravaggio, on the border with the Municipality of Pagazzano and on the line of springs that divides the high plain from the low plain. Although occupying only about 10 hectares, it hosts various species of plants, flowers and animals. Its area is occupied by woods, swamps and ponds.
    Official web site of the Riserva naturale Fontanile Brancaleone


Categories: Places of historical value of artistic value


Caravaggio
Further pictures of Caravaggio in the section Photography
Caravaggio (Bergamo, Italy): Fresco on the ceiling of the sacristy of the Sanctuary of Caravaggio
Caravaggio (Bergamo, Italy): Ceiling above the altar of the Sanctuary of Caravaggio
Caravaggio (Bergamo, Italy): Decorated wall of the sacristy of the Sanctuary of Caravaggio
Caravaggio (Bergamo, Italy): Interior of the church of the Sanctuary of Caravaggio
Caravaggio (Bergamo, Italy): Main altar of the church of the Sanctuary of Caravaggio
Caravaggio (Bergamo, Italy): Ceiling of the sacristy of the Sanctuary of Caravaggio
Caravaggio (Bergamo, Italy): Altar and nave of the Sanctuary of Caravaggio
Caravaggio (Bergamo, Italy): Altar and dome of the Sanctuary of Caravaggio
Caravaggio (Bergamo, Italy): Aedicule above the main altar of the Sanctuary of Caravaggio
Caravaggio (Bergamo, Italy): Upper half of the sacristy of the Sanctuary of Caravaggio
Caravaggio (Bergamo, Italy): Aedicule above the main altar of the Sanctuary of Caravaggio seen from behind
Caravaggio (Bergamo, Italy): Frescoed wall which devides in two the interior of the Church of San Bernardino
Caravaggio (Bergamo, Italy): Ceiling of the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament in the Church of the Saints Fermo and Rustico
Caravaggio (Bergamo, Italy): A street of the town - Oberdan street
Caravaggio (Bergamo, Italy): An old house of the town with a fresco of the Deposition on the facade
Caravaggio (Bergamo, Italy): Detail of the frescoes inside the dome of the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament in the Church of the Saints Fermo and Rustico
Caravaggio (Bergamo, Italy): Art nouveau portal in Michelangelo Merisi street 1
Caravaggio (Bergamo, Italy): Interior of the Church of the Saints Fermo and Rustico
Caravaggio (Bergamo, Italy): Interior of the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament in the Church of the Saints Fermo and Rustico
Caravaggio (Bergamo, Italy): Interior of the right frontal chapel of the Church of San Bernardino
Caravaggio (Bergamo, Italy): Presbytery of the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament in the Church of the Saints Fermo and Rustico
Caravaggio (Bergamo, Italy): Fresco of the Virgin Mary between San Bernardino in the Church of San Bernardino
Caravaggio (Bergamo, Italy): Detail of one of the buildings overlooking Piazza Santi Fermo and Rustico.
Caravaggio (Bergamo, Italy): Left internal wall of the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament in the Church of the Saints Fermo and Rustico