Bergamo and Brescia, Italy : Open-air theater, art, music and a plateful of local delicacies in a cultural cross-roads.

Milan may outshine Bergamo and Brescia, but in 2023 a spotlight will fall on these two Lombardy cities after they were jointly named the Italian Capital of Culture. 

More than 100 art projects, music and theater events [ some open-air ], nature walks and new bike routes are meant to map a way forward after the tragic headlines this northern region generated in 2020, when-

When it s more ravaged by the coronavirus than anywhere else in Italy.

Bergamo is distinctive for its ancient, walled Citta Alta [Upper Town] and modern Citta Bassa [ Lower Town ], the two connected by narrow roads, a funicular and a footpath.

Brescia, around 30 miles [ 48 kilometers] southeast, is a handsome crossroads of Roman, medieval and Renaissance sites.

Outstanding food is another draw - it's Italy, after all - with menus in both areas featuring creamy, nutty polenta taragna and variously stuffed crescents of casoncelli swirled with butter and sage  - little pasta miracles that prove how good life can still be. [ Julie Besonen ]


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