Bergamo’s beautiful upper town, the Città Alta (pictured above), is a magical place well worth visiting. Use this website to help you plan your trip to Bergamo in Northern Italy and find your way to some of the other lovely towns and villages in Lombardia that are perhaps less well known to tourists.


Did Shakespeare ever visit Bergamo?

What would Shakespeare have made of Bergamo's walls?
Towards the end of A Midsummer Night's Dream, a play is performed to entertain an important character, the Duke, by a group of craftsmen.
After this play, which is performed within the main play, one of the actors, Bottom the Weaver, asks the Duke: ‘Will it please you to see the epilogue, or to hear a Bergamask dance between two of our company?’
A Midsummer Night’s Dream is believed to have been written by William Shakespeare between 1590 and 1596.
Academics believe Shakespeare never travelled abroad. No records exist of him travelling abroad, no friend ever wrote about travelling with him and no foreigner ever wrote about seeing him abroad.
Some scholars believe he could have obtained all his knowledge about Italy from reading, but others say he must have been to Italy since his geographical knowledge is so good.
Shakespeare obviously knew all about Bergamo’s traditional dance because in the stage directions he writes: ‘Here a dance of CLOWNS.’ He must have known the bergamask dance was associated with clowning or buffoonery.
In his writing Shakespeare also refers to sailmaking in Bergamo . Although it seems unlikely as Bergamo is an inland city, it was apparently correct at the time.
Shakespeare obviously had a fascination with Italy as he chose to set many of his plays there. He knew a lot about the geography and politics of Italy, particularly in the areas around Venice and Verona.
I am sure that he would have been impressed with the Città Alta and its imposing walls, which would have been completed when he was a young man.

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