|Giacomo Agostini in action on his MV Agusta|
Agostini, the 15 times world motorcycling champion who celebrated his 74th birthday earlier this week, was born in Brescia but his family moved to Lovere when he was 13.
It is 50 years since he won the world title for the first time in 1966 and the anniversary is being marked with a month-long exhibition at Lovere's Accademia Tadini, which overlooks the picturesque Lago d'Iseo.
Riding for the Italian MV Agusta team, Agostini won the 500cc class seven times in a row from 1966 to 1972 and the 350cc class seven times in succession from 1968 to 1974, adding a further 500cc title on a Yamaha in 1975.
His total of 122 Grand Prix wins from 1965 to 1976 is the highest by any rider in the history of the sport, although his fellow Italian, 37-year-old Valentino Rossi, is now only eight behind on 114.
Agostini, who retired at 35, was unbeaten in 350cc and 500cc races for three seasons between 1968 and 1970, equalling the record held by his great rival Mike Hailwood of Great Britain for most wins in a season when his recorded 19 first places in the 1970 campaign.
Agostini also won 10 races at the Isle of Man TT, the most by any non-British rider. It might have been more but he decided to quit TT racing in 1972 after his close friend, Gilberto Parlotti, was killed during the event.
He had a season driving Formula One cars for Williams in 1980 but then switched to management, where he enjoyed more success, winning three 500cc world titles with the Californian rider Eddie Lawson of Marlboro Yamaha. Agostini also managed for Cagiva and Honda before retiring in 1995.
The eldest of four brothers, Giacomo Agostini was only 11 when he rode a moped for the first time and knew immediately he wanted to race motorcycles. His father Aurelio, who was a local government employee in Lovere, wanted him to become an accountant but allowed him to pursue his dream after seeking advice from a lawyer who was a family friend.
The lawyer told him he thought sport would be good for Giacomo's character and only later did Aurelio find out that his friend had misunderstood him and believed Giacomo wanted to take up cycling.
His mother, Maria Vittoria, ensured that when he raced he always carried in his helmet a medal showing the image of Pope John XXIII, who hailed from Sotto il Monte, a small village which, like Lovere, is in Bergamo province.
The exhibition at the Tadini Academy, which runs until July 3, is called Giacomo Agostini: The Golden Age. Sponsored by a local furnace manufacturer, Forni Industriali Bendotti, as part of their 100th anniversary celebrations, the exhibition includes many mementoes of his career, including the suits and helmets he wore in his first and last races.
Visitors can also admire - in Lovere's Piazza XIII Martiri - an artwork featuring one of Agostini's bikes by the Milan architect Mauro Piantelli entitled "Of the Brave and his Steed".
Lovere, the largest town on the western shore of Lago d’Iseo, has wonderful views of the top of the lake with its dramatic backdrop of mountains.
|Lovere's impressive Palazzo Tadini|
The church of Santa Maria in Valvendra has some sixteenth century frescoes and the church of San Giorgio, which is built into a medieval tower, contains an important work by Palma il Giovane.
Lovere is about an hour's drive from Bergamo along the SS42 highway and there is also a bus service from Bergamo. You can take a boat from Lovere over to Pisogne on the eastern shore of the lake. The landing stage adjoins Piazza XIII Martiri.