Visioni Fenomenali

Photography between science, experiments and optical illusions

What do our eyes see? Vision requires more than eyes: it takes a brain too! This interactive exhibition is a multidisciplinary approach to the subject of light: physiological (focusing, pupil dilation, image permanence on the retina), psychological (how the eye and brain can be tricked), and physical (shadows, colours, energy, and flare).

A journey somewhere between science and the imagination, between the world seen by the human eye and the world ‘filtered’ by the lens of a camera: through games, experiments and illusions, Visioni Fenomenali will enthral both young and old alike.


Includes visit to Museo della Fotografia Sestini +
Temporary exhibitions + Convento di San Francesco

Full price € 7,00

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

Under 18 years old, disabled, ICOM members, journalists, licensed guides, Abbonamento Musei Lombardia


Macchina fotografica a misura d'uomo con di fronte un manichino di ferro

A “giant” camera

At the start of the exhibit, guided by the voice of a scientist, visitors will enter a giant camera to discover the secrets of photography and how the human eye works. As with the photographic process, the image that forms in our eye is upside down: it’s up to the brain to ‘straighten things out’, providing a suitable, useful image of the world and reality around us.

ologramma dell'occhio umano

The optic disc

In the second section of the exhibition, a video shows us how the human eye works and the various parts that make up the complex system that allows us to see and interpret reality. The cornea, anterior chamber, pupil, and lens intercept light and images and transmit them—inverted—to the optic disc through the hyaloid canal. From the optic disc, via the optic nerve, the image reaches the brain, which processes it in the visual cortex.

due volti, uno in rilievo e uno scavato.

Illusion of two faces – a face that follows us

In the third section, two faces combine in a double optical illusion: on the one hand you get the impression that the face is following you, on the other it’s hard to understand which face is concave and which is convex. The illusion happens because our visual system implicitly assumes that light comes from above: the concave face is then interpreted as convex. Also, when we are in motion relative to a stationary object, elements that are closer appear to move faster than the distant parts: but in this case, what seems closer to us is actually further away and moves more slowly, thereby creating the impression of rotation.

Visioni Fenomenali

Visioni Fenomenali is the scientific section of the Sestini Photography Museum. Closely connected to the history section, it has been in the east wing of the Convent of St Francis since 2018 thanks to Rotary Bergamo Sud.

The exhibition explores a fascinating theme—vision—in relation to the wonderful invention that has changed the way we’ve captured images and memories since 1839: photography.

The exhibition extends through three immersive environments, within which you can physically experience how a camera works, what the eye and light are, how the brain behaves and how it can be fooled by optical illusions and changes in perspective. Guiding you along this journey is a young virtual scientist who will help you make sense of the exhibit.

Illusioni ottiche

Discover the path

From the initial perception of reality through the eyes, to its reworking by the brain: a journey in 3 sections within Visioni Fenomenali.


The world, upside down

A comparison between the human eye and a camera lens

Read More

Playing with light and water

An exploration of how human eyes (and those of animals) render reality

Read More

The tricked brain

You don’t just see with your eyes, but also (and perhaps more importantly) with your brain

Read More

Buy your ticket

Entrance ticket includes Convento di San Francesco + Museo della fotografia Sestini + Bergamo 900 + Temporary Exhibitions