00026: ARLECCHINO A BERGAMO
While the City of Bergamo doesn’t show the same “enthusiasm” for Arlecchino as Napoli shows for Pulcinella, Bergamo still recognizes Arlecchino as part of their culture and their art. Within half a block from Bergamo Centrale train station, a statute of Arlecchino welcomes everyone arriving to the city. If you are leaving Bergamo, Arlecchino still is there to wish you safe travels.
The statue was created by artist Mario Gotti and commissioned by “Il Ducato di Piazza Pontida,” an arts and cultural private organization in the city of Bergamo. In 2002, “Il Ducato” decided to donate the statue to the city of Bergamo with the goal of placing it in an open space for everyone to admire. As a result, the statue was placed in the garden of one of the main government buildings known as “Provincia di Bergamo,” a garden that serves as an open-air gallery. The only issue is that people only visit such a place if they have official business to conduct in the building.
In 2005, the city decided to move the statue a few steps down the street, near Città Bassa’s most important theater, Teatro Gaetano Donizetti. The statue was placed in the garden next to the theater. The garden has a marble fountain in the middle of a small man-made lake named “Lago Gavazenni.” And the garden is known as “The Gaetano Donizetti Fountain Garden.” (Donizetti was an Italian composer born in Bergamo.)
Martio Gotti, the statue’s artist, pleaded with the city not to place the statue in that location because it was not “environmentally safe due to the lake’s still water.” Although, many said the real reason was that he did not like to have his work next to someone else’s work. The city responded by saying that this place was just a “temporary home.” (The garden no longer has the lake, by the way.)
With the help of “Il Ducato di Piazza Pontida,” the “Teatro Gaetano Donizatti Organization,”and city officials, in 2011 Arlecchino’s statue finally found a permanent home in its current location: Piazzale degli Alpini. “Arlecchino welcomes everyone with his smile and his funny disposition,” said Bergamo’s mayor, Franco Tentorio, at the time of the inauguration.
The statue is placed on a marble pedestal with an inscription in three different languages, Bergamasque, Italian, and English: “Sono in arte l’Arlecchino, un po scàltro e birichino/Presso Bergamo so nato, in tutto il mondo rinomato.” (They call me Harlequin, a little mischievous and naughty/I was born near Bergamo but I’m well known throughout the word.)
(Source: Local guide and “The Echo of Bergamo” newspaper archive.)