Gian Battista Caniana - 1740

A tale of friendship and rivalry. The Caniana family of Romano, wood carvers all, and the Fantoni family from Rovetta, sculptors by profession, met when collaborating on the sacristy of the Basilica of Alzano. The two head artists, Gian Battista and Andrea, became friends, Gian Battista admiring the talent of Andrea, who nurtured ambitions of becoming an architect. But while in Bergamo all of Andrea’s projects were rejected and he made his name as a wood carver, Gian Battista – who studied the works of Sansovino, Palladio and Scamozzi in Venice – won prestigious commissions and in 1740 was hired to design the new fair, which was replacing its wooden booths with brick and mortar. The fountain in Piazza Dante is today all that remains of Caniana’s design.