Pierantonio Sana - 1966

In 1944 Bergamo was busy building bomb shelters, the biggest of which was beneath Piazza Dante. To build it, they dismantled the fountain and uprooted the trees. The piazza was a massive hole. In the post-war period, the shelter was turned into an Albergo Diurno (‘Day Hotel’). Pierantonio Sana, longstanding owner of historic music shop Casa della Musica, remembers it well. Not everybody had a bathroom in their house: the Diurno had toilets, showers, as well as a beauty salon, pedicurist, hairdresser and a big billiard hall.
For decades the haunt of flâneurs, bohemians, workshy students, and other disreputable types, the Diurno was where Bergamo’s night-owls took refuge while they waited for sundown. Closed since 1978, it now lies abandoned and forgotten, right in the heart of the city.