Monday, May 18, 2009

Bergamo, Italy

I flew to Bergamo in the north of Italy, where I met up with my parents. My intention to save the planet by refraining from flying around Europe got biffed when my mummy and daddy were nearby. Pilot, use the afterburner. I've got some people to hug.

Here's some Bergamo:
Looking out over the Town

Bergamo from the Tower

Bergamo is quite large - I think it's a university town - but it has an old walled part on a hill. It's very nice: cobbled streets, cafes, the stuff that Italy does very well. It reminded me of Perugia, although there's probably a thousand other towns like that in Italy.

The top site in Bergamo is the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore. The outside is interesting enough, but the inside is knock-your-socks-off stunning. Everywhere you look is an explosion of Baroque colour. These dudes don't go in for that "less is more" austere piety thing. If they can find a surface, they'll slap a frescoe or painting on it. I like to think that when the artist finished, he looked up and said "Oh shit, I think I forgot to include God".

Scattered around that square are several other churches, including the incensey Duomo:

There's also a long line on the ground that forms part of an old sun dial. As the sun moves across, it shines through a disk with a hole in it that is suspended from an arch above. The pinpoint of light appears on the line on the ground. It's like that staff in Raiders of the Lost Ark, only instead of finding the resting place of the Ark of the Covenant you get to find out what day it is.

If you look closely, you can see the disk at the peak of the arch, and the white line on the ground. BELOCH!

I should mention at this point that on my previous trip to Italy, I set a record of 13 scoops of gelato in a single day. It was my goal on this trip to top that. And I wanted to have one really flash pasta meal. After this and the Stockholm shrimp-binge, perhaps this blog should be called "This Kiwi is Pies", or alternatively, "This Pig can Fly". The meals we had weren't bad. I had a nice wild rabbit with chili on pasta. But none of them were the greatness I was looking for.

So that's our day in Bergamo: recommended for a visit.

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