A cause to journey to Bergamo and Brescia in 2023: Italy’s new capitals of tradition

On the lookout for an important cause to begin planning your subsequent journey? On this sequence, we share probably the most compelling occasions, points of interest and experiences that may have you ever reserving a visit to the world’s most enjoyable locations. 

An infinite array of meals, wine, artwork and structure awaits round each nook in Italy, so it solely is smart that every yr the nation elects a brand new Italian Capital of Tradition to focus on the distinctive choices of that space. 

Final yr’s honoree was the colourful island of Procida, positioned off the shores of Naples, however it’s about to make method for a brand new capital ⁠— or, extra precisely, capitals. The title for the upcoming 2023 Italian Capital of Tradition has gone to Bergamo and Brescia, two cities lower than one hour’s drive aside — and round forty minutes by practice away from Milan — within the northeastern a part of Lombardy. 

With its “excessive metropolis,” Bergamo presents superb views © Marco Bottigelli / Getty Photographs

Having been hit early and hit exhausting initially of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, each cities have been chosen as an emblem of renaissance, hope and rebirth via tradition. Their designation brings the main focus again to their wealthy historical past and well-established entrepreneurial spirit.

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Brescia is the second most populous metropolis within the area after Milan. Its Roman ruins and Lombard monuments — which embody a Roman discussion board in addition to the medieval monastery and church of Saint Salvatore and Saint Giulia — had been declared a Unesco World Heritage Web site in 2011. Town has additionally at all times had a really lengthy industrial custom and it’s one of many foremost facilities of manufacturing of the well-known Franciacorta glowing wine.

Bergamo is thought all through Italy for the 2 completely different neighborhoods into which it’s separated — the Città Alta, or “excessive metropolis” and the Città Bassa, or “low metropolis.” The 2 are related through a cable railway and each maintain their fair proportion of distinctive sights — from the medieval streets and squares of the excessive metropolis to the avenues and museums of the low metropolis. And let’s not overlook the well-known mura venete or Venetian partitions which have surrounded the historic metropolis middle for the reason that sixteenth century. 

Friends eating out in an outdoor restaurant, Italy.
Take pleasure in an outside meal in Bergamo © Marco Bottigelli / Getty Photographs

At any given time, a go to to both Bergamo or Brescia or each would certainly offer you loads of actions to select from, however in 2023, the social calendar for each cities has grown exponentially. Regardless of whenever you resolve to plan your journey, you’ll discover some exercise or exhibition or competition to maintain you busy and entertained.  February will see a jazz competition, whereas the “Donizetti Evening” in June will have fun Bergamo-born composer Gatenao Donizetti and a few of his most well-known operas. All occasions fall beneath certainly one of 4 foremost themes: a metropolis of hidden treasures; nature within the metropolis; a metropolis that invents; and the town as a remedy. 

Delicious Italian pasta in a white bowl.
Italian pasta casoncelli might be sampled in Bergamo © Valerio Pardi / Shutterstock


Each journey to Bergamo or Brescia, or each, has to incorporate a cease to attempt their native variations of conventional dishes just like the Northern Italian staple polenta or the contemporary pasta casoncelli. Attempt the Baretto di San Vigilio and the Osteria Anetì in Bergamo or the Trattoria Porteri and the Osteria al Bianchi in Brescia. Want a fast chew? Head to PolentOne in Bergamo, the place you possibly can take your polenta to go. And don’t overlook the Pasticceria La Marianna in Bergamo for a style of an iconic gelato — the stracciatella taste was born proper on this restaurant and pastry store in 1961. 


In case you are in search of a pleasant mid-afternoon cease in Bergamo, attempt Sweet Irene, which has loads of tea choices and desserts for vegetarians and vegans. Whereas within the metropolis, head for a classical aperitivo at Artisan Café or at PIVO, each within the middle of the Città Bassa. Whereas in Brescia, you positively should attempt the town’s signature cocktail, the pirlo, historically made with nonetheless white wine and Campari liqueur. Attempt it at Laboratorio Lanzani or at Belle Epoque, the latter positioned only a few steps away from one of many metropolis’s foremost squares, Piazzale Arnaldo.

View of Bergamo in the sunset light.
Discover the proper place to remain in Bergamo © Sergio Locatelli / 500px


Each Bergamo and Brescia are simply reached by practice from Milan and make a superb day journey. However when you select to remain within the cities, you’ll discover loads of choices for all tastes and budgets. The best choice for sleeping in Brescia is remaining throughout the metropolis middle or one of many neighborhoods instantly outdoors it, like Porta Cremona or Borgo Trento. As for Bergamo, understand that the Città Alta is extra picturesque and subsequently a bit extra expensive than the Città Bassa, which has extra procuring hotspots and nightlife.