A unique event for a unique occasion

Light is Life is the major event organised by A2A as part of the events scheduled to celebrate Bergamo Brescia – Italian Capital of Culture 2023.

Sponsored by the Municipalities of the two cities, the Festival wants to express a lively international perspective, while at the same time aiming to involve the area’s productive energies, cultural institutions and educational venues.

The two cities of Brescia and Bergamo have become veritable open-air art galleries, thanks to the light works of 17 different world artists that will animate the symbolic places of the two 2023 Italian Capitals of Culture.

The Festival also wants to illuminate the path to building a sustainable and solidarity-based future. And indeed, the Light is Life Festival has two souls: an environmental soul, with the use of energy from renewable sources, and a social soul, with the support given to the Energy Bank Foundation.

Solidarity and care for the environment

The Festival supports the Energy Bank Foundation, which has been fighting energy poverty in Italy for years.

A2A has given the Energy Bank Foundation a sum equivalent to the volume of energy used to light up the event, in addition to the donations collected through the “Adopt a piece of art” initiative, the sale of merchandising items and the Saltafila (priority entrance) initiative at the Castle of Brescia. Funds will be used for projects supporting households in need in the provinces of Bergamo and Brescia.

Renewable sources powered the Festival, whilst the installations’ design obeyed energy efficiency criteria. The Light is Life Festival is also an opportunity to disseminate tips and indications on how to reduce domestic energy consumption.

The opening ceremonies

The Light is Life Festival – Festa delle Luci A2A – was inaugurated in Brescia on Friday, February 10, 2023, in Piazza della Loggia and in Bergamo on Friday, February 17, 2023, in Piazza Vecchia, with two exciting openings.

Gold Olympic medalist Marcell Jacobs was the exceptional guest at the kick-off event.

The inauguration of Bergamo’s Festa delle luci A2A took place on Friday, February 17 at 6:30 pm in Piazza Vecchia. In Bergamo, the Choir of the Gaetano Donizetti Conservatory and the Palazzo Nuovoanimated the evening. AI-generated videos using from data from the Angelo Mai Civic Library were projected onto the Palazzo Nuovo’s facade.

Following the free and no-reservation event, the exhibition sites opened at 7:30 pm. Starting from the following day, February 18 and until February 26, all sites opened from 6 p.m. to midnight.

Light is Life in Brescia

The Brescia opening was organised in collaboration with the Municipality of Brescia and the Brescia Musei Foundation. The evening drew inspiration from the successful experience of Cidneon (the light art festival organised by the Amici del Cidneon Committee over the 2017–2019 triennium). The event started in Piazza della Loggia, one of the city’s most exquisite squares, where a suggestive 3D mapping animated the Palazzo della Loggia.

The Capitolium and the “Transfigured Victory”

The festival also extended to the Capitolium, the Roman temple in Via dei Musei, the highest decumanus of the ancient Roman Brixia.

The first light work was at the Capitolium: a contemporary revisitation of the Vittoria Alata sculpture, specially designed to create a contrasting dialogue with the surrounding classical architecture. The art work, entitled “Vittoria Trasfigurata”, is an original creation by Angelo Bonello.

The Castle: a fantastic universe

The heart of the event was the Castle, a medieval fortification perched on the Cidneo hill, close to the city centre. Inside the Castle, a path with 15 light installations unfolded a dreamlike world where light and colours were the undisputed protagonists of the night.

The art-works that animated the Cidneo included the “Hello Goodbye” installation by Marco Lodola, one of the most famous and influential Italian contemporary artists and one of the founders and leading members of the New Futurism Movement. The work was a celebration of sailor men and travellers, those who dare go away or come here, and those who are eager to rediscover their land.

The Castle also hosted “Stories of light”, a choral project of light works by students of the two cities’ Art Academies – Santa Giulia and LABA, in collaboration with the cultural association Cieli Vibranti – on the theme “Risorgimento: a common history”. The Risorgimento is represented not only as a historical period but also as a metaphor for the resilience and rebirth of the two communities.

The students also collected oral testimonies, which were later collected in the work “Things we should not forget”.

The keep courtyard hosted the work “Remembering a Brave New World” by the British artist Chila Kumari Burman, an extraordinary site-specific technicolour installation with explicit references to mythology, Bollywood, radical feminism, political activism and family memories.

Angelo Bonello, artistic director of the entire Festival, brought two more art-works to Brescia: “Big ballerina”, a classical dancer, an icon of beauty and elegance, but also a tangible example of the harsh discipline needed to get closer to the ideal of perfection that comes only through strenuous sacrifice. The second piece of art was “Run Beyond”, a composition of luminous silhouettes of a man who prepares to leap, inviting the observers to overcome their limits and confidently embrace every challenge.

The waste-to-energy plant: Light to the City

The concept of light extended to the A2A waste-to-energy plant: a set of artistic lights with their assertive blue tones turned the plant tower, designed by Jorrit Tornqvist in the ’90s, a distinguished iridescent blue.

Light is Life in Bergamo

In Bergamo, the protagonist of the Light is Life Festival was the Upper Town. The Festival path extended from Piazza della Cittadella to Palazzo Moroni, calling at some of the most significant and evocative cultural places with twelve suggestive light installations.

A route across the Upper Town

From Piazza della Cittadella and across Piazza Mascheroni, one would reach the Gaetano Donizetti Music Library.

“Traffic”, a mobile sculpture by Chilean artist Ivan Navarro, towered over the Chiostro Maggiore. Navarro’s light creations are known for bringing back the symbolic and social value of energy and light.

In the Cloister Minor of the same Library, the symbolic “Time Machine” by Federica Marangoni, a three-meter-high golden hourglass, touched upon the concept of time: a vital yet ephemeral life-celebrating object.

Ivan Navarro is the author of a second installation, “Bed”, a piece of art resembling a water well. Its location inside the Temple of Santa Croce was ideal given the presence, on the lower floor of the small chapel, of the Basilica’s ancient baptismal font. The work engages in an ideal dialogue with the water, thus becoming a contemporary reinterpretation of the water spring.

Crossing Piazza Vecchia, the viewer was immersed in a suggestive 3D mapping which paid tribute to local culture. The 3D mapping was projected on the main facade of Palazzo Nuovo, home to the Angelo Mai Civic Library.

The Cloister of the Convent of San Francesco hosted the work “Frame Perspective”, by the French artist Oliver Ratsi. The art-work immersed the visitor in a floating environment, merging digital technologies with physical spaces.

The fortress, the great protagonist

Several light artworks emphasised the silhouette of the Fortress, including a second installation by Federica Marangoni: “Go Up”. The artwork was made of a neon cracked tube, producing the visual effect of a continuous electric discharge, thus mimicking the effect of a thunderbolt. From a 12-meter-high staircase, the inscription “Go Up” stood out as an invitation not to stop despite life’s challenges.

The Fortress also hosted “Stories of Light”. As was the case for Brescia, “Stories of Light” is a choral project including light artworks by the students of the Accademia d’Arte Carrara.

The Winds Tower, a widely recognized symbol

The Winds Tower, one of the city’s symbolic, historical, and artistic assets of cultural interest since 2010, has become a distinctive sign of the Festival: its architectural lightings with a strong visual impact represent the city as a beacon of progress.

The two 2023 Italian Capitals of Culture

In 2022, for the first time, the Italian Capital of Culture is not just one city, but two working together.
The project intends to create a vision of the future to bequeath to the local communities, which is a new start for Bergamo and Brescia in the aftermath of the Covid19 pandemic
“The enlightened city” is the inspiring theme of the initiatives that will animate the two cities throughout the year.
The city is illuminated because it is open to the creative brilliance of know-how, tolerant of differences and aware of the wealth they bring. The city is also a beacon that acts as a reference point for the territory, and is lively, effervescent and animated.
Bergamo and Brescia are beginning to build a new future full of opportunities.

A2A Life Company: about us

A2A deals with energy, water and the environment, with a circular use of natural resources. It operates with great attention to communities and customers throughout the country, through services that are part of everyday life and that can make a concrete contribution to the sustainable future of new generations.

It promotes the vision of a cleaner world, respectful of the environment, territories and people.

It has chosen to place ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) objectives at the heart of its 2030 strategic plan, based on the energy transition and circular economy.

Tips for responsible energy consumption

Small gestures to avoid waste and help the planet