Rudolf Toepffer - 1840
Rudolf Toepfer was a cosmopolitan traveller and writer from Geneva who visited Bergamo to take in the Fiera di Sant’Alessandro. The fair, held every year between the end of August and the beginning of September, brought together merchants and producers from Germany, England, France, Switzerland and Italy, and saw the population of the city grow to three times its normal size.
There is in the centre of the city a veritable Babylon of shops, selling every manner of wares.
Visitors could peruse hundreds of stalls, chock full of all kinds of fabrics – silk, cotton, linen, woollen cloth – as well as agricultural implements, knives and other weapons, horses and cattle, grain and wine.
People coming and going, singing, shouting, and making a din: an extraordinary throng of humanity.
But what most left an impression on the Swiss observer were the attractions that had sprung up around the market fair stalls stands.
Adjacent to this immense bazaar are stalls and booths offering spectacles of every kind – giants, dwarves, circus acts, rhinoceroses, and marionettes. And all around music playing, people shouting and gesticulating.