Bergamo is about 40km northeast of Milan.
We needed to fly from this airport recently.
Because the flight was late at night, we spent some time in Bergamo itself.
This city is divided into two parts.
The new town is on the flat ground and the old town is on the hill.
People use a cable car to go up the hill.
From the cable car station, if you walk on the main street in the old town, you will find Piazza Vecchia on your left.
This square itself is worth looking at and is surrounded by historic buildings, but if you walk across the square, you will see a beautiful church in front of you.
This is Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore.
I remember that when I went in there for the first time, I could not help myself saying “wow!”.
This time, too, the gorgeous interior took my breath away.
It has got a long history and it started being built on the 15th August 1137 and consecrated on the 25th March 1273, according to the booklet we bought.
At first, it was built as part of the complex of the cathedral that is situated very close to this church, but it became separated in the mid 15th century.
Now it is regarded as one of the most beautiful churches in the whole of Italy.
All of the space, the walls, the pillars, the ceilings, are all covered by paintings or sculptures.
They are all in different styles depending on the time in which they were made.
The most attractive one for me was the fresco, “Tree of Life” on the south wall.
Apparently it was created between 1342 and 1347, but it is still colourful and vivid.
One of the northern walls was covered with another fresco depicting “The Last Supper” as well as Saint Eligius looking after a horse, which were also very impressive.
This fresco was painted in the late 14th century.
Also, I glimpsed another fresco inside a door, but soon a member of staff closed the door.
I can imagine that the area that is open to the public is very limited.
That reminded me of what we saw in the private area in the cathedral in Chieti in the middle of Italy last autumn.
This Santa Maria Maggiore must have many private rooms as well as some secret stories, too.
After coming out of this church, we went into the cathedral, which is very close.
According to the leaflet, although the origins of the cathedral date back to the 5th century, it was rebuilt again and again, so the majority of the current building is from the 19th century.
It is gorgeous, but compared with Santa Maria Maggiore, it looked much brighter and simpler.
The crypt is even newer, rebuilt in 1979.
There were coffins of bishops in the modern space.
I discovered that some of the coffins did not have any names, which means that they are the future bishops’ coffins.
I wonder how the current bishop is feeling about it.
It could be the same feeling as the people who buy grave space while they are still alive.
In a small room inside the cathedral, we found the statue of “the Good Pope”.
We saw another statue of him, Pope John XXIII, in Burano last year, too.
Apparently he was born near Bergamo.