Places to visit in Brescia

Brescia Airport is located approximately 20 km from the city centre of Brescia, in northern Italy. Although Brescia is not a major tourist location on many people’s list, it does have some interesting attractions, and there are areas nearby which are quite popular, such as the holiday resorts surrounding Lake Garda, as well as the quieter Lake Iseo. Many people use Brescia Airport as a cheaper alternative to arriving at Verona International Airport, since Brescia is only 60 km from Verona, and an easy trip by car. Brescia Airport is one of the smaller Italian airports, handling only around 200,000 passengers per year, and consists of one modern terminal building.

Among the most popular of things to do in Brescia includes a short drive to the Ronchi, which is a beautiful area of meadows, woods, farmhouses and orchards, as well as taverns and some elegant restaurants. This is the area from where Brescia receives most of its fresh produce, and is only a ten-minute drive from the city centre. Locals and tourists alike thoroughly enjoy the traditional cooking at the restaurants, or even at places known as ‘licinsi’, which are the old farmhouses open to tourists during the summer months. On the way to Ronchi, take a moment to enjoy the view from Via Panoarmica, as from here you can see the whole of Brescia city and the surrounding countryside.

What is known as ‘The Castle’ in Brescia is found up the Cidnean Hill, which can be reached on foot from the cobbled Contrada San’Urbana. Around the castle’s area is where the first settlers established their homes in Brescia. The Castle itself is a magnificent structure, complete with fortifying towers, out buildings, courtyards, drawbridges, and even underground tunnels. The St. Mark’s Lion marks the entrance to the castle. Within The Castle tourists will find the Ancient Arms Museum, which is dedicated to Luigi Marzoli. The museum displays around 500 weaponry items, as well as various pieces of armor, which make up one of the most important collections of this kind in Europe. Other items on display include helmets, lances, shields and swords, and some firearms. These items all date back to between the 13th and 17th century. Other attractions in the museum include original 14th century frescoes, and the remains of a Roman temple. In other areas of The Castle visitors will also find the Cidnean Observatory and two large model railways.

There are a couple of monasteries in Brescia which many people find fascinating. The Monastery of Santa Giulia was founded in 753 A.D., and also houses the city museum, or the Museo della Città. Plenty of Brescian history dating from the Bronze age to the Renaissance can be explored in the museum, with over ten thousand items on display. At the monastery visitors will also find the Basilica of San Salvatore and the Church of Santa Maria, which houses the Treasure of San Giulia, and three Renaissance cloisters. The museum within the Church of Santa Giulia is very often the site of large art shows as well. Brescia is home to one of the most impressive monastic sites in Italy, known as the Abbey of San Nicola, dating back to the 11th century. At the Abbey of San Nicola many great works of art from artists in the 16th and 17th century can be admired (these artists are from the Brescian School), while there is also a book restoration workshop and museum of wrought iron. It is also a location where monks still produce herb-based liquor. The third monastery of interest is the San Pietro in Lamosa, dating back to the 11th century, and featuring the old Church of San Pietro. This monastery is also considered to be one of the most interesting of Romanesque remains in the area.

One popular attraction in Brescia is the Cinefotoclub, which is a unique establishment like no other in the world. The museum can be visited on Cs. Matteotti, 16/b – 18/a, and demonstrates an amazing look into the history of photography. Many collections of still and movie cameras can be examined, along with various camera accessories and over 12,000 photographs.

Two popular Romanesque buildings are the Duomo Vecchio, or ‘Rotonda’, and the Duomo Nuovo. The Duomo Vecchio is a magnificent building with a great round centre area covered by a majestic dome held up by eight pilasters. The crypt of San Filastro is found below the building, and there are also some interesting paintings on display by Romanino and Moretto, as well as the sarcophagus of Bishop Berardo Maggi, dating back to the 13th century. The Duomo Nuovo was only completed in 1825 even though its construction began in 1604. It is therefore quite interesting to view, as the parts built at various times in history are quite obviously different. The Dome of the building towers 80 meters in height, and there are also sculptures and paintings to be viewed from the Renaissance era and beyond. More art pieces can be admired at the Pinacoteca Tosio Martinengo, an art gallery to the southeast of the city centre.

Brescia and its surrounding areas are well known for certain events that take place though the year. Brescia’s largest fair is the Fair of San Faustino and Giovita, in honor of the city’s patron saints. Hundreds of Italians flock to the old town centre to display their stalls, and complete the tradition of Rogo della Vecchia, which is a scarecrow loaded with all sorts of fireworks and crackers to be set off in front of the crowd. This is a symbol of the evils of daily life. The Teatro Grande hosts the International Piano Festival from April to June, while the Mille Miglia is a recreation of a historic automobile race during April and May. A line of the most incredible antique cars, as well as cars from the more prestigious auto manufactures wind their way from Viale Venezia in Brescia through the streets of half of Italy. The Centomiglia is held on Lake Garda, and is one of the most prestigious sailing competitions in Europe.

Brescia’s main tourist information office is found at Piazza della Loggia, the prettiest square in the city, and offers all that tourists need to know about Brescia and its surrounding areas. Information desks are also available at Brescia Airport.