The Village of Sarnico (also referred to as "Contrada") in the province of Bergamo still retains a medieval semi-circular structure, with its back facing the mountain, based on the layout of the ancient city walls.
Along Via Lantieri, in the midst of colourful shops, you can still see various architectural remains of the ancient village: doorways, narrow streets, passages under arches and old houses with thick walls. While it's best to follow the route of the Contrada, don't miss the opportunity to explore the side streets where the most amazing and beautiful corners are found.
On one of these streets, in the oldest part of Palazzo Gervasoni on Via San Paolo, is the Gianni Bellini Art Gallery.
Slightly further ahead is the Romanesque style 15th-century Church of San Paolo.
In the small and enclosed square in front of the church stands the Clock Tower. Its historical importance is due to the fact that it rises above the tower of the ancient fortress dating from the year 1000. The village's defence walls, which branched off from this spot, were discovered in the courtyard of the Medieval Tower on via Paris, dating back to the 12th century, known today as the Civic Tower.
Other important examples of medieval constructions can be seen in the towers and walls of the buildings on via Scaletta (a characteristic, narrow road that leads down to the lake) and vicolo Aie. Here, in one of the most picturesque and most well preserved areas the entire historic centre, is a building with arcades, which served as the town hall up until the 18th century.
Sarnico is also home some of the finest specimens of Art Nouveau architecture in Lombardy, all designed by the architect Giuseppe Sommaruga: the childcare centre (1912) in piazza SS. Redentore, Villa Surre (1912), Villa Faccanoni (1907) and Villa Passeri (1906).
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