Bergamo and Brescia have been selected for the Italian Capital of Culture 2023 campaign, with the two cities hosting a variety of attractions and activities throughout next year.
The two northern Italian cities have been selected to host a range of events and programmes, throughout 2023, including the International Piano Festival, the Donizetti Festival, the Science Festival, the City of Jazz and the Festa dell’Opera. Furthermore, the two cities will have a bolstered programme of cultural activities in galleries and museums.
Why Bergamo and Brescia were selected for the Italian Capital of Culture 2023
The Italian Capital of Culture 2023 campaign invites visitors to engage with the “hidden treasures” of Bergamo and Brescia, with the message “Break out of the bubble! Discover a city that you weren’t expecting.”
The campaign is supported by Italian organisations such as Intesa Sanpaolo and A2A, as well as Brembo, SACBO, the Ministry of Culture and Fondazione Cariplo.
Bergamo is famous for its Venetian Walls, a UNESCO World Heritage Site which sees ancient walls stretch six kilometres through the city’s Upper Town. Brescia is also home to a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Brixia: Archaeological Park of Roman Brescia, which accompanies the San Salvatore: Sant Giulia monastic complex. The former is apparently the biggest Roman archaeological area in the north of Italy, while the latter is one part of UNESCO’s serial site of the Lombards.
Cultural centres prepare for Italian Capital of Culture 2023
Both Bergamo and Brescia feature engaging cultural centres. Bergamo is home to the Accademia Carrara Museum, an art gallery and fine arts academy with a history stretching back to the year 1780. Meanwhile, Brescia hosts the Palazzo Martinengo art museum, which next year will feature an exhibition curated by Davide Dotti with over 80 paintings on display, including the work of Brescian Renaissance artists like Foppa, Moretto, Romanino and Savoldo.
Other cultural centres of note include the two cities’ theatres. The Teatro Grande of Brescia will next year host the Festa dell’Opera, a free event that brings Italy’s established and emerging talents of opera to the fore. Then there is Bergamo’s Teatro Donizetti, an opera house that was built in the 1780s, and next year will host its renowned Opera Festival, organised by the Donizetti Foundation.
On a smaller scale, community theatres like the 19th century Teatro Sociale in Bergamo are worth a visit for lovers of stage productions, as is the Teatro Sociale in Brescia too.
The Bergamo Jazz Festival 2023, with art direction from Maria Pia de Vinto, will treat visitors to a diverse programme of musical entertainment. Running from March 19th to the 26th, the festival will feature performances from duo Rosa Brunello and Camilla Battaglia, pianist Amaro Freitas and Dear Uncle Lennie, the new music project from composer Camille-Alban Spreng, among others.
Furthermore, the Italian Capital of Culture 2023 campaign will see the cities of Bergamo and Brescia linked, with two new sustainable tours in development. The Ciclovia has been described as a new 76-kilometre cycle route, while the Cammino is a pedestrian route that is 120 kilometres long. “The Ciclovia and the Cammino will connect the two cities and offer new experiences with the emphasis on landscape, art and history,” a press release notes.
“In the wake of numerous geographical, historical and cultural affinities, as well as the ability to regenerate with enthusiasm after difficult moments, Bergamo and Brescia become a single “illuminated” city and a single capital,” wrote Visit Bergamo in its announcement of the Italian Capital of Culture.
“2023 will be a year of unmissable and international initiatives. There are four key themes: city and nature, hidden treasures, the city that invents and culture as a cure.”