Bergamo: A Year Since We First Saw Those Trucks

A year ago today, on 18th March 2020, chilling images of Bergamo lit up people’s screens around the world and really brought the reality of the pandemic home. These images showed a seemingly endless queue of military trucks bringing the recently departed to other cities to be cremated as Bergamo’s crematorium could not keep up…

Is It Really Such a Small World?

It’s a phrase we’ve all uttered so often – “Small world!” Just a few weeks ago, my cousin who’s on the other side of the world, ended up sitting next to one of my closest friends’ sister in Melbourne. What are the odds? Two English colleagues of mine in Italy used to teach with my…

Living and Learning in Bergamo in 2020

We’ve made it to the last few days of 2020. My adopted hometown in Bergamo, Italy was largely unheard of by many people until the pandemic hit. Little did we ever think this quiet little city would have its name put on the map and its image shown on TV screens around the world. 2020…

Toy Show 2020 – Representation and Connection

This year’s Late Late Toy Show was nothing short of magical. It hit all the right notes and was just what everybody needed in the midst of a lockdown. The creators went above and beyond to make this year more special than any that have gone before it. There was much less focus on the…

To Fly or Not to Fly: Christmas 2020

To fly, or not to fly, that is the question: Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of homesickness or take arms against this invisible virus… Perhaps if Shakespeare wrote Hamlet in 2020, it might have gone along these lines. As an Irishwoman abroad in Bergamo, that nagging question is…

Wave 2: Stop Season Shaming!

Yesterday my calendar read 31st October. It was by far the most seasonally-confused day I have ever had. Outside, the leaves were changing colour and falling from the trees – fitting for this time of year. Inside, I was sitting on the couch, enjoying Six Nations Super Saturday (something I normally associate with Paddy’s weekend),…

Teaching in Bergamo in Wave 2

In August, I stepped back into my classroom to see the calendar still on Thursday, 13th February. We had been so caught up in Carnival celebrations on Valentine’s Day that my calendar wizard class helper had forgotten to change the date the next day. Little did we know all learning would be remote for the…

Diga del Gleno: Exploring Lombardy

Way up in the mountains, in the back of beyond of the province of Bergamo, and then just a little further, stand the remains of a dam called La Diga del Gleno. Tragically, this dam burst its banks in 1923 sending 6 million cubic metres of water down the mountains, causing destruction in the towns…

Tips for Wine-Tasting in Italy

I am delighted to publish this guest post by Brandy Shearer. Brandy is the author of AOLR (Art of Living on the Road) where she writes about her experiences of life in Italy and shares her husband Paolo’s gorgeous photography. Italy has around 350 Italian wine varietals throughout it’s 20 stunning regions – Barolo, Amarone…

Lake Garda: A cycle/walking path like no other!

While doing some research about cycle paths in the north of Italy, I stumbled across the most beautiful (and I hate using this adjective but it’s true) “Instagrammable” suspended cycle path on a cliff face beside Lake Garda. Reading a bit more, the advice was to walk instead of cycle as the shiny new suspended…

Back to School in Bergamo in 2020

It was so easy to forget, when stuck at home during lockdown, exactly what it felt like to do all the things you were suddenly unable to do. I for one, took this as a blessing. With Bergamo in bits, the epicentre of Europe for a time, I couldn’t have cared less about weekend social…

Big Bench Hopping Through Piemonte’s Vineyards

This summer I discovered the Big Bench Community Project. It’s the brainchild of artist Chris Bangle – a non-profit community art project in which huge benches have been constructed all around Italy (and other countries too). These led me to lovely hikes around Lake Iseo, near Bergamo. When planning a wine-tasting weekend away, I decided…