Bergamo, like Lucca and Corinaldo, is one of the few Italian cities, whose historical centre is still completely surrounded by the original walls and managed to keep their appearance intact over the centuries. The city of Bergamo is divided in two different parts: the upper City, with an historical centre enclosed by walls, and the lower City which, despite its ancient origin and the historical hamlets that are still preserved, became more modern after recent urbanization interventions. The city of Bergamo preserved most of its historical heritage of cast iron lighting posts, which consists of many types of posts, very different from each other, that decorated and lit up many squares in the past, especially in the lower City.
Along the main avenues there are 8-meter-high posts, completely made of cast iron, with big and majestic swan neck brackets.The restoration entailed the creation of various models, required for the reproduction of lost parts and the complete reconstruction of the posts that have been restored with ‘Light 23’.
The posts in Piazza Vittorio Veneto are original and unique, too. The human faces, that are actual masks, decorate the base and represent the main and rare characteristic of this type. A second characteristic is represented by the lanterns, made of cast iron, while are usually made of brass and aluminium. The masks were presented in Rome, in villa Torlonia, during an exhibition organised by Fondazione Neri, whose title was ‘So light and yet a metal’.
There are four examples in Piazza Matteotti of this gorgeous post, which has its base decorated with three winged griffins with open jaws. They were made by a famous French foundry, that was operating in Italy for gas distribution: Siry Lizars & C. An example of this rare type is exposed in Alpignano, near Turin, at the Cruto Museum, dedicated to the inventor of the lightbulb, and at the Italian Museum of Cast Iron in Longiano.
In front of the headquarters of Banca d’Italia, Fondazione Neri restored two posts, which were made in the 20s by the Continentale foundry in Milan.
The last type of restored cast iron post in Bergamo is in the upper part of the city, in Piazza Vecchia: it’s a simple post, with a cast iron base. IIn this case the lighting fixture adopted is ‘Light 700’. Other similar posts in Largo Matteotti, in lower Bergamo, were restored and completed with ‘Light 22’.