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.


Bergamo becomes Capital of Culture

Teatro Donizetti hosts televised launch show

Bergamo's mayor, Giorgio Gori, speaks to the audience at Teatro Donizetti
Bergamo's mayor, Giorgio Gori, speaks
to the audience at Teatro Donizetti
Bergamo has become the official Italian Capital of Culture for 2023 alongside another historic city in Lombardy, Brescia. 

To demonstrate that Bergamo and Brescia have joint status and are working in tandem, a sophisticated televised launch event was held at Teatro Donizetti in Bergamo on 20 January, linked to an inauguration ceremony taking place simultaneously 50km (31 miles) away at Teatro Grande in Brescia.

The programme switched alternately between the stages in Bergamo and Brescia, with Italian President Sergio Mattarella able to watch everything that took place on the stage at Teatro Donizetti from his front row seat in the theatre in Brescia.

Meanwhile, Italian culture minister Gennaro Sangiuliano was among the distinguished guests in Teatro Donizetti watching everything happening on stage in Brescia.

Bergamo and Brescia were awarded the joint culture capital honour in 2020 by the Italian Government, as ‘a symbol of hope and rebirth’ following the sadness caused by so many deaths during the Covid 19 pandemic, which had such a devastating effect on both cities.

The spectacular scene in the centre of Bergamo,  where 20,000 people gathered on Saturday evening
The spectacular scene in the centre of Bergamo, 
where 20,000 people gathered on Saturday evening

For the whole of this year, Bergamo and Brescia will become ‘a single city illuminata’, a united, enlightened city, which will host cultural events such as art exhibitions, music festivals and opera performances, contributing to economic prosperity and encouraging more visitors to the area.

As a taste of the delights to come, there was a performance from the stage in Brescia by a guitarist and violinist, and from Bergamo, by a soprano, accompanied by a pianist, who sang an aria from the opera Don Pasquale by Donizetti.

The Mayor of Bergamo, Giorgio Gori, said the year as Capital of Culture would be a fresh start for both cities and would showcase the natural beauty and artistic patrimony of the territories as well as the local cuisine and wine. He said: ‘Culture, as well as being an essential lever for attracting tourism, is vital for improving the life of our communities.’

The launch was followed on Saturday by a spectacular open-air show in the heart of the Città Bassa, entitled I Nuovi Mille, featuring singing, music, acting, dance and storytelling, in which professional artists were joined by a thousand citizens of Bergamo from the city and the province.

A firework display added to Saturday's festivities
A firework display added to
Saturday's festivities
Bergamo is known as the Città di Mille because of the large participation of Bergamo citizens in Garibaldi’s Spedizione dei Mille in his campaign to unite Italy in the 19th century.

The show, watched by a crowd of 20,000 people, was preceded by four simultaneous processions from different points in the city, each arriving at the Piazza Vittorio Veneto, the square beyond the propylaea of the Porta Nuova looking towards the Città Alta, for a 50-minute performance followed by an open-air party lasting until midnight.

At the opposite end of the Viale Papa Giovanni XXIII, in the Piazzale Marconi in front of the railway station, another extraordinary show, featuring  lights, projections, music, acrobats and fireworks, added to the spectacle.

Next month, Bergamo will become an open air art gallery, with a host of events featuring national and international artists taking place in the city.

There are hundreds of other events as well as cultural and educational initiatives planned for both Bergamo and Brescia throughout 2023.

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