Positioned at the entrance to the Val Cavallina, this town has ancient origins although the definitive name of Cenate did not appear until 1830, when it was recorded in a last will and testament as ‘Casa sua de Cenate’, or ‘his house at Cenate’. The previous name, Casco, came to be used to identify the little hamlet now known as Cenate Sopra.
In the Middle Ages the town of Cenate Sotto held a strategic position, at once defensive as well as perfectly situated to control the road leading from the plain to the Val Cavallina and Trescore Balneario. This is the reason for the numerous fortifications in the area, the most important of which is Castle Lupi. This castle was situated in a predominant position overlooking the town and was built by the Suardi family. It was expropriated from them by the Venetian Republic in 1483 and given instead to the Lupi family, who had taken sides with La Serenissima at the time.
In the mediaeval era there was much invective between the two suburbs of the town, which was divided by the river Tadone and then called Cenate San Martino. This led to repeated clashes, as a result of which St. Carlo Borromeo decided to institute a second parish church in 1575. This second parish church is in the current Cenate Sopra, creating a de facto division of the town.
Among the nature and arts trails of interest, you can start off at the parish church of San Martino, built in the 16th century and then rebuilt in the 17th century, which contains a painting by Giovanni Battista Moroni depicting San Martino, the Saint-Protector.
Of particular interest is the sanctuary of the Madonna of Loreto, situated on the hill overlooking the town. From here there is a splendid view of the town and part of the Bergamasque plain. Built in 1617, the sanctuary holds precious sculptures, as well as paintings by Enea Talpino, known as Salmeggia.
A short distance away, taking the road that leads to the hamlet of San Rocco, from where one can go on to Scanzorosciate, there are the churches of San Bernardo and the parish church of San Rocco, both built in the 17th century.
The principal secular building is indubitably Castle Lupi. Built by the Suardi family and then taken from them by the Venetian Republic and given to the Lupi family, it contains rooms with 18th century frescoes and the little church of San Francesco Saverio, datable to around 1740.
In addition, the municipality offers plenty of scope for nature-lovers. Indeed, in recent years initiatives for revitalising the green spaces present have multiplied, encouraging the population to rediscover local beauty spots. Amongst these is an area sheltered by the colle d’Argon or Argon pass, which has been placed within an inter-municipal local park called the Parco delle valli d’Argon, or Park of the Argon valleys.
Municipality of Cenate Sotto
Area: 4.51 square kilometres
Altitude: 267 metres above sea level