Ex Monastero di Astino

Ex Monastero di Astino, Italy

photo by Nava Rapacchietta

Ex Monastero di Astino

When evening falls: Astino Monastery

In the Astino Valley, amid the hills of Bergamo, sits a monastery built in 1107 by the notables of Bergamo as a refuge for the Vallombrosians, who at the time were tormented by the Investiture Controversy.
The Monastery, which took its name from the valley, soon expanded to become an economic and spiritual centre. The monks were able to make the most of the fertile land around it, creating a network of paths that have today been turned into pleasant walking routes through nature. All these itineraries lead to the monastery, which thanks to the comprehensive restoration work carried out, has become a popular destination with visitors during the summer, who flock here to enjoy both the beautiful landscape and the historical and artistic treasures that can be admired in the monastery.

Since 2020, the cloister of the monastery has hosted the summer terrace of the long-established “Caffè – Pasticceria Cavour 1880” of Bergamo’s Upper Town, listed among the oldest and most prestigious establishments in Italy and belonging to the Cerea family, who also own the Michelin-starred “Da Vittorio” restaurant.
Those who have seen Astino Monastery know that one of the best times of day to enjoy the place is at dusk, when the dense sunset light is hidden away behind the tall trees of the woods, just before the dark of the summer evenings descends over the valley. To illuminate the setting without taking anything away from the aura of the centuries-old complex, a lighting project has been created in collaboration with “Da Vittorio”, featuring outdoor lamps by Catellani & Smith that are able to engage with the surroundings, preserving the harmony of the place without shying away, acting as elements that seem to have sprung up there spontaneously.

The green lawn inside the cloister is marked off by a series of Medousê F, a transparent glass sphere with an irregular surface that conceals an LED 1x29W module, while a brass ring embraces the whole circumference. Placed on the ground is Medousê F, featured here in both the 30 and 50 cm models; in addition to spreading a low, flowing light across the ground, it marks off the border between the paving and the grass.

Installed in the corners of the cloister, where grassy plants rise up in tufts, are Syphasera and Syphasfera, which, with their slender black-varnished brass stems, seem to have sprouted from the earth. At the end of Syphasera, an opaline glass cylinder appears ready to sway in the wind like reeds on the riverbank, while the transparent, irregular glass sphere of Syphasfera resembles the delicate, rounded beauty of dandelion flowers. Among the branches of some of the plants, the More 0 floor lamps resemble glowing fruits that have grown wild among the vegetation.

Resting on the tables arranged alongside the arches of the colonnade is the gentle light of the Giulietta BE T model. These battery-operated, cable-free lamps, with their distinctive “Ocean Brass” custom finish, can easily be moved anywhere and lit with a simple touch of the hand.

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