Un tavolo multimediale con alle spalle monitor che proiettano fotografie del Novecento

Museo della fotografia Sestini

A journey through the history of photography

The Museo della fotografia Sestini is a journey into the history of photography, its key actors, its technological evolution, and real life explored through a lens. Exciting multimedia installations present photographic techniques in use from the early 1800s until the late 1900s, recreate the dissemination of photography studios in and around Bergamo, and illustrate the Sestini photographic Archive. The permanent exhibition is completed by a display of old cameras and original instruments, which will accompany you in this ‘wonderful discovery’.


Includes visit to Museo della fotografia Sestini + exhibition area + Convento di San Francesco

Full 7€

Reduced 5€
Amici del Museo delle storie di Bergamo, University students up to 26 years old, Groups of 15 people, discounts

Children 0-17 years old, disabled, ICOM members, journalists, licensed guides, Abbonamento Musei Lombardia


Column stereoscope

In the late 1800s, stereoscopic photographs (stereograms, i.e., pictures made to be placed in a binocular viewer, adding the perception of depth to images of reality and three dimensionality) were the latest craze. Unlike smaller models such as tabletop or hand-held viewfinders, column stereoscopes like the one displayed here made it possible to admire multiple stereoscopic images in a sequence, shown one after another. The inner workings are in fact made up of a chain along which the stereoscopic slides were positioned, the number of which could vary from 20 to 150, as is the case here.

The invention of the flash

The second of the two interactive tables dedicated to photography as a profession investigates the technical innovations that arose in the 20th century. The invention of the flash, patented in 1900, is certainly one of the most revolutionary. Here, the hands of a photographer are shown from above, demonstrating how it works. The glass lightbulb inside the camera contains a filament covered with magnesium powder: passing an electric current within the filament causes the magnesium explode and generates the characteristic bluish flash of light.

Magic lantern

The magic lantern is composed of a box that contains a candle: the light it emits is directed through an opening, over which a lens is placed. The principle is entirely analogous to modern slide projectors. At first, magic lanterns could only project a single still image at a time, but little by little people began to multiply the images and make them move, passing two or more slides over one another. In the 1700s, magic lanterns enlivened the sitting rooms of nobles, and in the following century they became the stars of colourful shows in town squares, useful teaching tools, and even toys for children.

Museo della fotografia Sestini

Opened in November 2018 in the west wing of the Convento di San Francesco, the Museo della fotografia Sestini is also home to the over 1,000 pictures of the Sestini photographic Archive.

The Museo della fotografia Sestini is more than a museum: it’s a cutting-edge hub for the conservation and cataloguing of photographic history, and a multi-purpose space in which to research, protect and promote the impressive patrimony that has been gathered in the Sestini photographic Archive from 2000 up to today.

It isn’t just a museum exhibition: the rooms dedicated to cataloguing and consultation, where a team of professionals organises and catalogues the digital photography collections, are connected to the spaces of the archive itself, the technological heart of the new hub, destined for the proper storage of the original materials.

sala del Museo della fotografia Sestini. In primo piano un tavolo multimediale, a sinistra un corridoio con teche contenenti macchine fotografiche

Discover the Museum

From three videos recounting the birth of photography and its diffusion in and around Bergamo, to the exhibition of vintage cameras and the mastery of photographers in the 1800s and 1900s: a six-stage journey through the Museo della fotografia Sestini.


A wonderful discovery

How photography was invented and its pioneers

Read More

A city of photographers

Photography soon reached Bergamo: it was an instant success

Read More

The Sestini photographic Archive

An exciting video reconstructs the creation of the most important photography archive in the city

Read More

The world on a plate

The extraordinary manual and technical skills of 19th-century photographers

Read More

The world on film

The technological evolution of photography in the 1800s and 1900s

Read More

Historic cameras

A collection of iconic cameras: from magic lanterns to flashes

Read More

Buy your ticket

The ticket includes visit to Museo della fotografia Sestini + exhibition area + Convento di San Francesco

Tutte le notizie su Bergamo 900

Scopri le novità che ti attendono in museo