Brescia is very often overlooked. A beautiful city in Lombardy, Northern Italy, situated at the foot of the Alps, a few kilometres from the lakes Garda and Iseo, not far from Bergamo and Milan.
Those may be the reasons why Brescia is often skipped.
However, like many medium-sized Italian cities, it is charming, and liveable, with art and architecture per Italian standards. I went there to see an expo on “Women and the ART” and to visit this beautiful city.
Brescia is old, but aged very well
Founded over 3,200 years ago, Brescia has been an important regional centre since pre-Roman times.
The old town contains the best-preserved Roman public buildings in northern Italy, and numerous monuments, among these the medieval castle, the Old cathedral, the Renaissance Piazza della Loggia, and—of a more recent historic memory— the Piazza della Vittoria (built between 1927 and 1932).
The monumental archaeological area of the Roman forum and the monastic complex of San Salvatore-Santa Giulia have become a UNESCO World Heritage Site as part of a group of seven inscribed as Longobards in Italy, Places of Power.
I was particularly impressed with the Old Cathedral.
The Duomo Vecchio or Old Cathedral (also called “La Rotonda” because of its round layout) is a Roman Catholic church; the rustic circular Romanesque co-cathedral stands next to the Duomo Nuovo (New Cathedral) of Brescia.
It has a circular shape that became rare after the Council of Trento, and is one of the most prominent round churches of the period still remaining. There are 13th-century frescoes on the interior walls.
Piazza Della Loggia is very charming, with the customary cafes where to sit and enjoy the view of the Piazza and its buildings.
A rectangular piazza, built starting from the fifteenth century, delimited by a series of historic buildings among which the sixteenth-century Palazzo della Loggia, seat of the municipal council of Brescia, as well as the two old and new Monte di Pietà (Pawnshops), stand out.
On the eastern side of the square, there are the arcades and the tower with the sixteenth-century astronomical clock.
Brescia has Talking Statues!
The square hosts three of the four “talking statues,” a group of sculptures from various periods on which the people of Brescia used to post anonymous messages containing criticisms against the rulers. Under the portico of the Palazzo della Loggia there is the Lodoiga, the “spokesperson” 😉😁 for the complaints of the people, who expressed their criticisms through messages glued anonymously on the statue itself.
I ate at Antico Beccaria restaurant, which I do recommend. Undeniably refined, the Antico Beccaria restaurant has an extensive international menu in which each recipe is nevertheless united by the refinement of the ingredients used. King of the gastronomic proposal, the Truffle is certainly his majesty.
If you are looking for a traditional and informal place, the choice can only fall on Trattoria Gasparo.
Ristorante Caffe Floriam; The atmosphere, reserved and elegant thanks to the neoclassical arches and the beautiful outdoor space in the heart of the historic center, is also the perfect destination for romantic dinners in Brescia.
Osteria Al Bianchi; Founded in 1881, it is one of the oldest inns in Brescia. A must taste the typical Brescian cuisine, it offers a warm and welcoming environment that is also perfect for enjoying a good glass of wine in good company.