Palazzo Della Ragione

Palazzo della Ragione

The Palazzo della Ragione – ‘Palace of Reason’ – is one of the most significant historical monuments in the Upper Town, and a symbol of medieval civil architecture. This building features a Gothic architectural style, an imposing façade with arcades, and a bell tower. The construction of this impressive Palace began in the 12th century, and it continued for several centuries, undergoing various changes of use throughout the years. During the period of its unification with the Venetian republic, it often hosted public assemblies; later, however, it was used as a court of law, which is why it started being called ‘della ragione’ (of reason), derived from the reason, or the idea of being in the right, that was attributed to those who respected the laws.

Inside the Palazzo della Ragione, there is a large hall known as ‘Il Volto’, with frescoes dating back to the 14th century, including the famous “Albero della Vita” – ‘Tree of Life’.
In the area below the loggia, a magnificent arched construction, there is an ‘object’ on the floor, observed by many with curiosity and too often trodden on with indifference. This is actually a sundial, also known as a ‘gnomon’, dating back to the 18th century.

It works with a sundial affixed to the floor with engraved marks that, when struck by light, indicate precisely both the noon period and the local date. Today it is an important historical and cultural site, popular with tourists. Its central location in the Piazza Vecchia makes it one of the focal points and main landmarks of the Upper Town and of Bergamo itself. Still in use today, it hosts exhibitions and special events.

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