The town’s east gate
Porta Serio is the town’s east gate. It is named after the river which runs just outside the historic town centre, which was once an important means of transport and communication for the town. At the beginning of the 20th century, as part of a new general project to repair and renovate the town perimeter, the municipality decided to rebuild both the east gate, which opens in the direction of Brescia and Bergamo, and the west gate in the direction of Milan and Lodi. The original military gate, which was simple and austere, was replaced by the monumental gateway we see today. It was designed by Cremona architect, Faustino Rodi, and was built between 1805 and 1807.
In the second half of the 17th century, the internal facade was decorated with four warrior statues, the works of local artists Orazio and Francesco Marinali. The statues represent an example of the re-utilisation of works which originally had embellished the noble palaces of the town and had been removed in the days of revolutionary insurrection in 1797, on the arrival of the French and the consequent fall of the Venetian government. The two statues which crown the external facade are allegories of France and Italy and are the expression of local neoclassical sculpture.
The gate was originally joined to the town walls by the customs office and the civil guard buildings which were demolished in 1919 to aid traffic flow both in and out of the historic town centre. Just outside the gate you can find Piazzale delle Rimembranze, with its elliptical shape, created in 1817 to link the entrance to the town and the avenue which leads to the basilica of Santa Maria della Croce.
The Porta Serio castle once stood outside to the north of the gate and constituted the main defence of the city. It was built in 1335 and then subsequently enlarged. The castle walls were 9 feet thick and protected by a moat fed by the Roggia Fontana stream which still flows along the same course today. In 1803 a decree declared Crema an open city and therefore the town no longer needed the same defences.
The castle fell into private hands and was subsequently demolished and used for building materials. The area around the castle outside the walls became the public gardens, whose perimeters mark the original perimeter of the ancient fortification which can still be seen.
The Roggia Fontana stream flows through the Porta Serio public gardens and once fed the castle moat. Today it is the only surface-stream which flows through the town.
Piazzale delle Rimembranze