Italy’s joint Capitals of Culture for 2023 are Bergamo and Brescia, earning this honor for their robust cultural offerings.

Yet travelers who want to put a more outdoorsy spin on their visit to these marvelous cities can enjoy a brand-new hiking trail that connects the two. Along the way, trekkers will pass by two Unesco World Heritage sites, 34 communities, three wine regions and much more. 

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After having shouldered the blow of the early onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the cities’ designation as cultural capitals serves as a symbol of renaissance and hope, and the vast array of projects that they have put forward for the year are currently in full swing. This month, the new 'camino' trail launched, creating a roughly week-long slow-travel journey between the cities – which are only under an hour apart by car.

A large Venetian city gate outside of an Italian city.
The Venetian walls of Bergamo are worth a visit © Getty Images/EyeEm

This new trail’s official name is Via delle Sorelle, which translates to “route of the sisters” to highlight the similarities and interwoven histories of Bergamo and Brescia. The route’s two bookends connect two Unesco World Heritage Sites: the San Salvatore–Santa Giulia monastic complex in Brescia and the medieval Città Alta in Bergamo, with its 16th-century Venetian walls.

Yet the highlights of the Via delle Sorelle extend well beyond Bergamo and Brescia’s city limits. Over 130km, the route will take travelers through 34 different municipalities of this northeastern corner of Lombardy, each with its own cultural landmarks. 

And that’s before accounting for the beauty of the landscapes you’ll be walking through. The route passes through four different parks and reserves, in an area of green hills sloping down toward Lake Iseo. Less famous than its prominent neighbors Lake Garda and Lake Como, it’s a hidden gem to discover.

People walk on a path beside a beautiful lake in Italy.
View of Lake Iseo from the road to Santuario della Madonna della Neve © Massimo Borchi/Atlantide Phototravel/Getty Images

Of course, a trip to Italy wouldn’t be complete without tasting some delicious wine. Luckily, the Via delle Sorelle has this covered, too: the route passes through three separate DOC and DOCG wine-making regions: Valcalepio, Terre del Vescovado and famous Franciacorta, home of the eponymous sparkling wine. 

In addition to the vistas and the bubbly, the Via delle Sorelle features permanent works of contemporary art dotting the route, with more to be added each year.

The Via delle Sorelle has six total segments and is designed to be walked in its entirety, though shorter segments can also be completed. Depending on your pace, the route should take about a week to complete in all, with each segment about 25km to 30km long. 

Navigating the route is also designed to be simple. The Via delle Sorelle has its own easily recognizable signage to orient you. Plus, the route is dotted with reception facilities and eateries you can take a break at. 

The Via delle Sorelle also has its own credentials to certify the time you spent on the route, and for a small fee will offer you discounts and advantages at the various facilities along the way.

More information about the route and its segments can be found on its official website or Instagram page.

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