Art and culture

Going along the narrow streets of the old town centre and beyond cobbled paving courtyards of Bienno, you can discover a lot of the past testimonies.
Going up from Via Contrizio (Contrizio’s Street), there is the “Simoni Fè Palace”, a fifteenth-century building that had undergone decisive changes between the seventeenth and nineteenth century, which preserves precious art works, including portraits of its family members, frescoes of profane subject that portray the Cycle of Attila and valuable wooden statues depicting the Virgin and the Archangel Gabriel.

A cusp campanile shows in the vicinity the presence of the Church of Saint Mary Announced, a Marian building, whose façade has a pointed entry portal, surmounted by a Gothic rose window and it preserves inside frescoes of Romanino and Da Cemmo.

Not far from the church stands out imposing the “Avanzini Tower” (1075) made up of local stone ashlars and further on is to be admired the “Bettoni House”, in Renaissance style and perfectly preserved integral in its original construction.
After them, at the top of Via Contrizio (Contrizio’s Street), you find the “Rizzieri Tower”, which has a wide portal with a Gothic arch and dovetail battlements rather uncommon in the Camonica Valley towers.

Going on along Via Castello (Castello’s Street) you find at first the “Mendeni Tower” with Ghibelline battlements and a bit up there is the “Bontempi Tower”, which once was used as a fortification of the eastern gate and further on you can find the typical wooden arcades of Vicolo Jola (Jola Alley).

In Via San Benedetto (Saint Benedict’s Street) there is the Francesconi-Rebaioli Palace, which has a refined seventeenth-century architecture that lodges a gallery of 24metres completely frescoed in a late mannerist style. In front of it, imposing the inhabited place, there is the Parish Church of Saints Faustino and Giovita embellished with notable art works.

From the “Rizzieri House”, built in the fifteenth century, among the old houses runs down the striking flight of steps that leads into Via Re (Re’s Street), where you can observe, near the fountain, an interesting “archaeological well” that allows you to see the flow of water in the old flume.

Going on towards Piazza Roma (Roma’s Square), you can admire buildings with well-preserved original architectural features, including the Tempini Palace (recently reconstructed) and the nineteenth-century circular fountain made up of white marble by the side of which, going down the old cobblestone flight of steps, you reach the ancient building of the Mill.

Leaving the village by going down from Via Ripa (Ripa’s Street) and going on Via Artigiani (Artigiani’s Street), it is possible to reach the “Ethnographic Museum of Iron” where can be discovered the ancient traditions of the iron forging art. Further on, at the end of the village, are located in old reclaimed forges the “Forge-Workshop” and the “Expository Forge”.

From the Maddalena (Magdalen) Hill, which overlooks the village with its golden statue of Christ the King, you can enjoy an incomparable view.