ROCCA, Rocca

Audio File length: 2.36
English / USA Language: English / USA

Hi, my name’s Rick, and I’m your personal guide. Along with MyWoWo, I’d like to welcome you to one of the wonders of the world: the Rocca di Bergamo fortress.

You might think the purpose of a fortress is to defend the local people against foreign enemies, but in the case of the Rocca di Bergamo, you’d be mistaken.

The stronghold was actually built in the 14th century to defend a foreigner, King John of Bohemia. At the time, Bergamo was a medieval commune torn apart by fighting, with several families vying for control, so an external regent was called in to maintain order. The purpose of the imposing Rocca was to defend him from the locals, who were against his presence there. The fortress was subsequently used as a base for the troops of those who controlled Bergamo thereafter: the Viscontis of Milan and the Venetians, who extended it to the present-day citadel. It was the Venetians who built the circular tower and a building inside the fortress, known as the “bombardier school”.


During the war for Italian Unification, the Rocca was occupied by Austro-Hungarian troops, but was then conquered by Giuseppe Garibaldi on 8 June 1859.

Today it offers a pleasant stroll amid gardens, walkways, towers and war relics, attractively arranged throughout the greenery in Parco delle Rimembranze.

Make sure you climb up the circular Keep, the fortress’s main tower: on a clear day, you can even see the skyline of Milan, with the Cathedral and the new skyscrapers! If you follow the walkway that used to be patrolled by soldiers, you can make your way right around the fortress, admiring some delightful views as you do.

Inside the Rocca, you’ll find the Bergamo History Museum, which tells the story of the people from the city who took part in the fight for Italian independence. It’s worth mentioning that of Garibaldi’s famous Expedition of the Thousand, which led to Italian Unification, between 170 and 180 were from Bergamo, which is why it was proclaimed as the “City of the Thousand”!

Before I go, an interesting fact: today, entrance to the Rocca is through a rounded arch, but originally, the only way in was up wooden ladders, which could be removed in the event of danger.

In such cases, two openings known as "caditoie" were used to fend off possible attacks.

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