Bergamo and Brescia Capitals of Culture 2023

Bergamo and Brescia have been chosen as Italian Capitals of Culture for 2023.


These two cities, hit hardest in Italy by the pandemic, proudly share the patriotic legacy of Eastern Lombardy, with its splendid lakes and florid countryside, a territory that has always stood out for industrial and entrepreneurial excellence, and values of hard work and social solidarity.


The idea behind the 2023 Italian Capitals of Culture is portraying a polycentric urban and rural environment, fleshing out a cultural project that integrates art, culture, agriculture and cuisine to restart tourism and promote sustainable socio-economic development.


Bergamo Bergamo boasts a long history: made great by the Lombards in the early Middle Ages, it is known as la Città dei Mille (Town of the Thousand) because of the contribution made by its volunteers during the Risorgimento uprisings led by Giuseppe Garibaldi.


The Renaissance Venetian walls divide Bergamo into Città Bassa (Lower Town) and Città Alta (Upper Town), a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2017. The two halves of the city are connected to each other by long, narrow stairways and cable railways.


The Upper Town, of medieval origin, is surrounded by ramparts erected in 1500 (during Venetian rule, after the Duchy of Milano had been defeated) aimed at making Bergamo an impregnable fortress. Bergamo Alta contains major monuments of historical interest, such as Palazzo della Ragione and the Campanone (Civic Tower) in Piazza Vecchia, the medieval clock tower which still tolls one hundred times at 10pm every night (in medieval times the sound announced the closing of the Venetian walls at night), the Botanical Garden and the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, which houses the tomb of the composer Gaetano Donizetti, born in this city.


The Lower Town, crossed by the Morla torrent, is also nicknamed "Borghi" because it developed from the union of 8 inhabited centers arranged along the communication routes which, descending from the Upper Town, led to the plain. This is why it is considered the most modern and urbanized area, where the institutions are located, easily reachable from the Porta Nuova railway station.


The province of Bergamo is also rich in natural beauties: from Lake Iseo, whose shores are shared with the Brescia province; to the Orobic mountains, ideal for skiing in winter and trekking in spring and summer; from walks in luscious woods, to visits to 3 of the Most Beautiful Villages ("Borghi") in Italy (Camerata Cornello, Gromo and Lovere).


Brescia Brescia is a city of Lombard spirit and Venetian influences. Nicknamed "the Lioness", for the valiant resistance opposed to the Austrians during 1849, it has a conspicuous artistic and architectural heritage and is an industrial powerhouse. The city is famous for its Mille Miglia vintage car race and for its vast and varied countryside which includes the gentle hills of Franciacorta, a world-class wine producing area.


Since 2011 the area of ​​the Roman Forum, which preserves the marvelous Vittoria Alata, the Lombard monastic complex of San Salvatore - Santa Giulia, the Domus dell'Ortaglia, Palazzo Maggi Gambara, Casa Pallaveri, and a portion of Via dei Musei have been recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city center also houses the Renaissance-era Piazza della Loggia where two iron automatons, nicknamed Macc dèle ure (the Madmen of the Hours) strike the hour from the Clock Tower.


The province borders with Lake Garda and contains the landscape gems of Lake Idro and Lake Iseo, as well as the Valcamonica Petroglyphs (prehistoric rock engravings that are a UNESCO Heritage Site), offering many possibilities for tourist leisure: from the elegant towns of the lakes to the rural villages of the plain, including some of Most Beautiful Villages ("Borghi") in Italy (Bienno, Gardone Riviera, Tremosine sul Garda, and Monte Isola, a characteristic islet of Lake Iseo).