Beautiful Bergamo our home
Bergamo’s heart is broken. It is impossible to live unaffected in this town at the moment. The whirl of fake news, real news and ambulance sirens surround us everyday. I hope to pay homage to the city of Bergamo today. Let us celebrate this city for all of its beauty and people
By Kristine Fifer Ripamonti edited by Elva Kenna
Bergamo has been my home for nearly seven years. Somehow, we have ended up in the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic. As I write, birds are chirping, pans are clinging and ambulance sirens are blazing in the distance. Bergamo’s heart is broken. Countless people have lost their loved ones, taken away by an ambulance. Some never returning home.
Everywhere there is heartbreak and devastation. I want to shine some light through this collapse, to remind people and show the world the beauty that is Bergamo.
The older generation of Bergamo has helped me in making this place my home. They are the foundation of this city. Their values are firmly rooted in the cities bedrock. So many have welcomed me and my family with open arms, willing to share all they have with us and expect nothing in return. Our first encounter with the Bergamaschi was our neighbors, Franco and Angela. Let them be my example of how benevolent people from Bergamo can truly be.
We moved into our home nearly five years ago with our two year old son. The house came with a spacious garden and like most Italian houses – strong foundations. However, the best part, was our new house sat next door to Angela & Franco. In the last five years, these people have become more then neighbours. Their kindness and openness has planted itself in our families core. They are like adopted grandparents to our children and dear friends to us, we could not imagine a life without them.
We have shared laughs and worries over the years. They love our children as they would their own. Always positive and with a smile. They giggle together, as they watch the goofy absurdities play-out during our kids playtime. Angela brings gifts and hand knitted hats. Franco takes the dog for walks during the day. Sometimes Franco decides to clean our walkway when there has been heavy snowfall. Or when accidents happen. A child’s fall leads to a head injury that requires an abrupt hospital visit. Franco freely offers to take us. The list is endless folks, but you get the idea. These people are AMAZING, their generosity knows no bounds!
Angela & Franco make preparing home baked treats during the holidays and having shared BBQs all the more special. I love listening to Franco and my father in law chatting with each other on the phone about different things. Always passionate and loaded with hand gestures.
Then comes the hard times, but, we all join together. Losing sleep over Franco’s heart surgery, a scary head injury or more recently Franco’s fever that lasted a week. We find solace in knowing that our support and love for Angela & Franco keeps their spirits high. Especially in this current climate. Angela recently said, “let’s hope he heals, as they are letting us die, the young need help first…we can only pray.” It pained me to hear this, my heart breaking, how could this be happening? But, we are the fortunate ones. In the last week Franco has recovered well, his fever gone and he is staying and resting at home.
While we mourn the loss of so many. Let us remember to celebrate these people’s lives too.
Let me finish on this. People like Franco and Angela have made this city a place that we can all call home. We celebrate them today.