The square was formed in ancient times: several roads from surrounding towns crossed in this place, and the travelers who arrived in Bergamo could stop here to buy or sell goods and increase their trades.
For centuries it had been also the wood market, as well as the area of small shops of artisans and merchants. It was a big market filled with stalls and people: wooden balconies protruded from the houses under which traders used to place their counters and display their goods.
The balconies were demolished in the mid-1400, when the stone arcades that still characterize the square were built.
Formerly known as Piazza San Leonardo, and then Piazza della Legna (Wood Square) it owes its present name to the road that starts from here and leads to Pontida, the site of the historic oath that, in 1167, gave rise to the Lombard League of Cities which victoriously opposed to Frederick Barbarossa.
At the end of the eighteenth century the political, social and economic development of the city began to move increasingly from the Upper Town to the Lower Town. The square became the center of lower Bergamo, the place where people celebrated the most important moments of everyday life. In 1797, when Bergamo rose up against the Venetians, a revolution broke out and the Tree of Liberty, symbol of the French Revolution, was raised right in this square.
In the left side corner there is Engel House, from whose balcony Giuseppe Mazzini gave an important speech to the celebrating people on 3rd August 1848.
The fountain under the arcades of the Gallinazza celebrates the dialectal poet Pietro Ruggeri da Stabello. The monument was placed here in 1933 by the “Ducato di piazza Pontida”, an institution which still works to keep alive the traditions of Bergamo.
Still in 1800 under these arcades there were many shops selling fruit and vegetables. It is said that the most popular store belonged to three women called "crooked greengrocers ", three sellers rather ugly, but much beloved by housewives who stopped there to gossip about everyone and everything: a real gazette of the neighborhood.