The UNESCO Creative Cities Network offers local operators an international platform on which to channel the creative energy of their cities, which can in this way the foundations to project local experiences into a global context and to foster the development of cultural exports and creative industries.

The District of Italian UNESCO Creative Cities for Gastronomy was created for this reason. Formed by the three Italian Creative Cities for Gastronomy – Parma (Creative City since 2015), Alba (since 2017) and Bergamo (2019) – with the aim of creating an international platform for cooperation on which to build projects in line with UNESCO’s priorities.

The memorandum of understanding sanctioning the creation of the District was signed on October 21, 2021 in Bergamo by the mayors of the three cities.

The objective of the agreement is the development of a common narrative and development project of the three Creative Cities, emblematic for variety, richness, productivity and originality of their territories. The District operates on different levels of local development:


  • Educational: promotes collaboration among educational institutions of all levels for the realization of common initiatives for the exchange of knowledge and development of skills, aimed at students, teachers and professionals;


  • Tourist: through mutual participation in tourist, food and wine, cultural, and trade fair events organized in their respective territories in order to promote maximum adherence also of economic operators to promote their uniqueness;


  • Economic: thanks to the involvement of the territories’ trade associations, it promotes their collaboration in the development of common projects and initiatives to be proposed to the members, encouraging the exchange of best practices and specific professionalism. In this area, among the most important results is the signing of the “Memorandum of Understanding within the UNESCO Creative Cities District for Gastronomy” between Associazione Commercianti Albesi, Ascom Bergamo and Ascom Parma.


In 2022 four Creative Cities for Gastronomy and/or Food Capitals of the Délice Network – Tucson (USA), San Antonio (USA), Mérida (Mexico) and Puebla (Mexico) – established the “Pueblos del Maíz Fiesta,” a multilingual international festival celebrating corn-related gastronomies, stories and food cultures. Since 2024 the founding cities have revolutionized the Fiesta, conceptualizing it as the “International Pueblos del Maíz Network” and accepting applications from other Creative Cities for the UNESCO Gastronomy and Délice Network. Bergamo Creative City, in collaboration with the Municipality of Gandino and the association Mais Spinato di Gandino, joined the Pueblos del Maíz Network in January 2024.
The main goal of the Pueblos del Maíz Network is to bring these Cities, so distant from each other, into a dialogue through collaborative events that celebrate and share the significance of corn in each city’s cuisine and food culture. The events aim to create positive economic impact in participating cities and improve social cohesion through the recognition and visibility of the diversity of corn’s food heritage and culinary creativity. The Pueblos del Maíz 2024 Festival events kick off in April in Tucson until October in Gandino.