Astino is a special place, a place of the heart for the people of Bergamo. It is a valley but located in the city. Collected but airy, green and bright, it is set - as kept - among woods, paths, paths and cultivated fields, at the foot of the hills that embrace Città Alta.
One hundred dominates the homonymous Monastery , annexed to the adjacent Church of the Holy Sepulcher, now a multifunctional space, skilfully renovated in 2015. Opposite, the Cascina Mulino is an old recovered rural building, intended for private events, exhibitions and a small farmer's market.
The recovery of the Astino complex
Convent founded in 1070 by some Vallombrosian monks, after several extensions, changes of ownership and various vicissitudes, it was restored and renovated on the occasion of Expo 2015 to host various initiatives: cultural, exhibition, convivial and gastronomic but also agricultural.
The fields adjacent to the complex, in fact, have been rented to young entrepreneurs who cultivate them according to organic methods. Detached section of the Bergamo Botanical Garden, the Biodiversity Valley proposes guided itineraries to discover agrobiodiversity.
Biodiversity within the city
Winner of the National Landscape Award 2021, the project "Biodiversity within the city: the Val d'Astino di Bergamo" presented by Misericordia Maggiore Foundation of Bergamo - MIA, owner of the spaces, was indicated by MiC - Ministry of Culture as an exemplary model, replicable in other territories in terms of protection, management, enhancement, but also transformation, of a landscape.
Astino's summer proposals
From June to September , the evocative interiors of the cloister and the garden of the former convent, embellished with luminous works with a great scenic impact signed by the Bergamo brand Catellani & Smith, are transformed into convivial spaces where it is possible to taste a selection of high quality gastronomic proposals made by the Da Mimmo restaurant and the Cavour 1880 pastry shop belonging to the Cerea family of Da Vittorio. Not only that, the offer is also enriched with significant cultural initiatives, such as the exhibition dedicated to the photographs of Giovanni Chiaramonte.
The photographic exhibition Realism infinite by Giovanni Chiaramonte
Until October 9, the spaces of the monastic complex host a significant photographic exhibition, curated by Corrado Benigni, dedicated to the work of Giovanni Chiaramonte, an artist who, like few others, has contributed to the poetic-conceptual redefinition of the image of the contemporary landscape.
The redefinition of the image of the contemporary landscape
The exhibition features 45 photographs, many of which have never been exhibited or published, which traces over two decades of research - from 1980 to the early 2000s - around different ways of perceiving the landscape and the urban view, which has always been at the center of Chiaramonte's photography and theoretical reflection. The exhibition therefore takes the form of an opportunity to reread and systematize a central work phase in the photographer's artistic biography.
The Italian landscape as matrix and lens
In this exploration - divided into three chapters: Italy, Europe, Americas - the Bel Paese is the privileged observation point: its territory, which appears as a stratification of cultures and civilizations , tells the story of the whole West. The Italian landscape thus becomes the matrix for reading and understanding it: it is the lens through which Chiaramonte shows the many places he explores.
The Electa catalog
The volume Giovanni Chiaramonte Infinite realism was created for the exhibition. Published by Electa in two versions, Italian and English, it brings together 100 images, edited by Corrado Benigni with texts by Teju Cole.
Photography as layered text...
"His art, which has always been linked to an existential and spiritual exploration, is a layered 'text' that narrates the long and difficult journey inside the images to construct a discourse that goes beyond the dimension of the story of the world, revealing rather the foundations of human seeing" write Corrado Benigni in the text of the book accompanying the exhibition.
... gives a new light
"Chiaramonte is well aware that there is no harmony in the world, no totality, no completeness. The picture of him is not a consoling photograph. The last resistance - it seems to suggest - is only that of the image that by showing things makes them exist in a new light, as the word does by naming them" concludes Benigni.