Here’s what they say about the welcome given to tourists in Bergamo.
This is the letter from Mr. Douglas Sandberg, an American photographer with a passion for European art who returned to Bergamo for the second time in his life – the first was in 1977 – and he wanted to thank Lucia Milesi, a long-time employee at the Infopoint in the upper town.
Here is a copy of the letter:
A WELCOMING BERGAMO
I am an American with a strong appreciation for the history of Arts in Europe and
particularly Italy. I have always felt fortunate to have parents that encouaged my
studies, and that study was further inspired by my first trip to BERGAMO in 1977.
Being a distinguished student at the California College of Arts and Crafts, in the San
Francisco Bay Area, I extended my studies on a six week visit to Bergamo focusing on
its many cultural excellences. The professor of our program had made many visits to the
city, so our class of about 15 had connections and access to artists, planners and
architects, that the average tourist does not get to meet.
For example, went to the home and studio of Sandro Angelini. And I was transfixed by
his many talents beyond his profession of architect and restoration expert. He
sketched…he did watercolors…and was an excellent printer with his own etching press
in his home.. Sandro also built extraordinary sculptures that held dramatic tableaus
about life in Bergamo. He was living the life of a Renaissance man in contemporary
times. He was exactly what I wanted to be. Fully inspired by everything around him ,
and also a practical businessman that put his talents to good use. He was going to be
my subject of the Summer, and he allowed me to document his life on 16mm motion
picture film. I had carried 75 extra pounds of photo equipment with me, and I was going
to make good use of it.
I returned home and set out to make a little film to fulfill my Summer project obligation.
This was an expensive project for a 20 year old kid in those days. And as a way to save
a little in post production costs, I narrated the film live, while I showed it to my class. The
film had no sound. Despite that handicap, I passed the class, and went on to become a
commercial photographer for 40 years.
And then in 2016, Christo and Jeanne -Claude staged, “ THE FLOATING PIERS for
LAGO ISEO “ The artists had been awarded honorary doctorate degrees by my
College, some ten years earlier, and this installation was something I had to experience.
The big plus was that I had a chance to rediscover Bergamo.
But Bergamo can be like a fine Italian Summer jacket. It’s not always easy to find the
hidden zippered pocket for your phone and passport. I wanted to meet with the
remaining Angelini family, but I had no address or phone number. I found the Tourist
INFOPOINT office and asked the two young women there if they knew of Sandro
Angelini. THEY DID NOT…and they could find nothing on the internet. Very curious as I
knew he made an important impact on the city. My disappointment led me to the back of
the building in the beautiful courtyard with centuries old washbasin. That was a place I
remembered in Bergamo. Our class would often gather there. My legs were too tired
from the Floating Piers project to investigate further, so ventured back to the hotel room.
Many American tourists would continue on over to Venice. I stayed and gave it another
try the next day.
I sat again in the beautiful courtyard behind the bell tower with the INFOPOINT at it’s
base. But this particular morning, I held my head up a little higher. And there it was….el
signe! A stone tablet sign that said LUIGI ANGELLINI PLAZA. My heart jumped up and
I ran down to tell the two young women that I found reference to the Angelini family. But
they were gone, and I worried that I might have the same problem explaining my
dilemma again. But I was in luck that day , because a Bergamo “ANGEL OF LIGHT” in
the form of, LUCIA MILESI, was there to say “ YES, of course, the Angelini Family is
here “. “ I know them , and I will call for you, to see if they are in town “ And I must say,
that Lucia gave me this great news with a positive smile…and confidence, that
completely calmed my American nerves. She made everything right for me. She would
contact the remaining sons and tell my story. I would later meet with them over lunch.
She would continue to show an interest in my returning to Bergamo two years later. And
she has helped me with my goal of a finished film about Sandro Angelini.
A beautiful city like Bergamo needs its very beautiful best , Lucia Milesi, front and
center. And I compliment whoever it was who placed her in that charming INFOPOINT
office at the bottom of the bell tower. Lucia Milesi is a Bergamo ambassador! Like Tony
Bennet and Lawrence Ferlingetti are for San Francisco. She loves people! And loves to
help them find the hidden gems of the city. Her recall of history is remarkable. Her
interests in the arts does not cover one period, but includes all important works. Both
ancient and modern. And she is one of the best researchers I have ever met. Her
curiosity and retention for facts is beyond what the internet can offer. She connects
tourist attractions with future possibilities and inspired events.
It is my sincere hope that Lucia Milesi will always be available to the traveling people of
the world in the INFO POINT office below the tower. She is the most welcoming light of
A city of beautiful light.