00028: ARLECCHINO AROUND TOWN
While Napoli embraces Pulcinella as part of its arts and culture, the entire region of Campagna also embraces the character as part of its popular pop culture. Bergamo, on the other hand, and the entire region have not made Arlecchino or Brighella part of their popular pop culture. And if you recall an earlier post, the majority of people do not considered Brighella a commedia dell’arte characters from Bergamo, at least not in the way they considered Arlecchino.
As I roamed the streets of both Cittá Bassa and Cittá Alta, I saw a few signs of Arlecchino’s presence. And the few things that are there, are significant because, to me at least, they emphasize the importance of Arlecchino as a symbol of art, culture, and pride for the Bergamo region.
There is, for example, the “Dispensa di Arlecchino” restaurant. A famous eatery and a very difficult place to get in without a reservation. This restaurant is in Cittá Alta. The title translates to “Arlecchino’s Food Storage,” and I’ve been told the food is high quality and also expensive.
Other signs of Arlecchino’s presence were magnets and figurines, but these are very few and only found in in a couple of “souvenir stores.” In a gallery, however, I found a drawing featuring Arlecchino. And let us not forget the modern art Arlecchino statue found at the entrance of the city, welcoming everyone into town.
If the signs of Arlecchino are few and rare, it is because, unlike Neapolitans who have made Pulcinella a pop culture icon, Bergamasche and Begamaschi recognize Arlecchino as a symbol of their region and honor him through the arts.