Built during the Flavian period and remodelled during the 3rd century, it is believed to have been damanged by fire in the 4th century. Part of the building is believed to have collapsed as a result of an earthquake in the 5th century, completely destroying the stage and one wall.
Despite this, the building continued to be used until 1173.
The building was unearthed in the 19th century at the same time at the Capitolium during some demolition work in the area.
Original construction on this building commenced around the 12th century on the site dedicated to San Zeno, 8th Bishop of Verona during the second half of the 4th century. San Zeno was known for his evangelistic work as well as being protector of freshwater fishing.
During the Baroque period, the church underwent a major makeover at the request of the young Pietro Giovanni Dolfin, priest of the time.
This church contains many valuable pieces of art, mainly from the 18th century.
These Roman ruins can be found walking through the old town part of Brescia and can be viewed through the railings which surrounded the area.
This was a Corinthian temple built by Emperor Vespasian as a sign of affection for Brixia after the battle of Bedriacum.
The church of San Faustino in Rest is located in Vicolo della Torre (Tower Lane), north of the Piazza della Loggia.
This intriguing building has an outer cone shape, only visible down an alley located just around the corner from the entrance to the church. It was built in the 12th century as a shrine with legend declaring that this was the resting point of the bodies of Faustino and Giovita during their journeys from the cemetery to the church of San Faustino.
The interior is beautifully decorated and makes a visit here a must for visitors to Brescia.
Located on the east side (opposite to the Palazzo della Loggia), you will find a beautifully decorated clock tower.
This unique clock has a face which is marked into a 24-hour day.
Decorations on the face include the twelve signs of the zodiac.
The Palazzo della Loggia sits on the west side of the Piazza della Loggia. Originally designed in 1484, when city officials decided to give the citizens a new building to house the council and be a symbol of good government.
Building began in 1492, with the best architects of the time contributing to the building, including Sansovino and Palladio.
The original entrance to the building can be seen in the right of the main picture - a much smaller frontage than the imposing one of modern times.
Unfortunately, the building was closed during our visit.
OPENING HOURS :
Monday to Friday : 09:00 - 12:30 and 14:00 - 19:00
Entrance is free.
Originally commissioned in 1603, the foundation station for this grand edifice was laid in 1604 but building works would continue from then right through until 1825. It was originally planned that the famous architect Andrea Palladio would work on the project, but financial difficulties drove the town to seek a more local solution and they hired the services two local architects for the construction, Gian Battista Lantana and Pietro Maria Bagnadore. As construction progressed and greater funds were obtained, architects came and went from the project; construction of the project was concluded by architect Luigi Cagnola of Milan. Cagnola was responsibly for the majestic cupola (which measures some 80m tall at its interior), later destroyed during bombing in 1943.
The cathedral's ground plan is that of a Greek cross, nave and two two aisles.
We were unfortunate not to see the interior as it was closed at the time of our visit.
OPENING HOURS :
Weekdays : 08:00 - 12:45 and 16:00 - 19:15
Sundays : 07:30- 12:00 and 16:00 - 19:00
Palazzo della Loggia or Palazzo Pubblico dominates the square named after it. It is a beautiful Renaissance building with fine sculptural details. The ground floor was built between 1492 and 1508, the upper storey between 1554 and 1574.
The architect is unknown, although Lodovico Beretta, Jacopo Sansovino, Galeazzo Alessi and greatest of all Andrea Palladio are all thought to have been involved.
On the right of the Loggia is a fine 16th century portal.
The church of San Francesco, St. Francis, was built in 1254-1265, and it has a handsome facade. In fact, the whole church looks very beautiful in particularly the rear side where the presbitery is situated.
Inside the church contains paintings from the 14th century, works of Moretto.
In 1394 the cloister was added to the church.
The ground floor of the Torre della Pallata is decorated with an beautiful fountain, which is meeting point for the locals. The fountain is made of the white marble from Botticino. The marble of many Brescian monuments comes from Botticino, starting from the Roman era when it was extracted using wooden wedges, which after being water soaked, expanded and split the stone.
The fountain represents allegoric scene of Brescia and its rivers Mella and Garza.
Beautiful Clock Tower, Torre della Pallata, is situated at the cross of Corso Garibaldi and Via Pace. The 31 metres tower was constructed in the 13th century under the designs of Bagnadore. It is one of the emblems of the town of Brescia.
What can I say about this huge complex?
It's just been made a UNESCO World Heritage site, for its magnificent convent and the two churches with...San Salvatore and Santa Giulia.
It contains the civic museum as well as those two churches, stuffed with fascinating local artefacts from prehistoric times right through to the late Medieval period.
It contains the excavated remains of two Roman houses (large ones) with their beautiful floor mosaics and even some of their wall-paintings still in place.
It contains the superbly-frescoed(1400s) 'Nuns' Choir' of San Salvatore and the serene space of the much older, square, 12th-century Santa Maria in Solario.
It has a space for modern exhibitions and an excellent cafe with an outside terrace and lovely views.
You follow a designated route, which can be annoying if there is a loud party around you...hopefully you will find the time to slow your pace and 'lose' them (I couldn't).
There is simply so much to see here. I spent 2 hours, and should have allowed myself at least 3. The artefacts are almost all labelled in English as well as Italian and there is so much to find out.
From Etruscan helmets through Roman milestones and truly superb bronzes, from Roman glass and gravestones through tools and jewellery, from Medieval swords to wooden carvings to the most intricate stonework....
The Museo Civico is a jewel in the crown of the ancient convent complex. Absolutely unmissable (and do allow plenty of time for your visit).
Entrance (2011) is 8 euro.
1st October – 31st May
Tuesday – Sunday 9.30 – 17.30
1st June – 30th September
Tuesday – Sunday 10.00 – 18.00
Closed on non-holiday Mondays
You'll have to keep your eyes open for the narrow 'street' which leads to Brixia's theatre. Walk a little further east from the Forum, along Via dei Musei, and you'll find Vicolo Fontanone leading off Via Giovanni Piamarta on your right. Follow it and, all of a sudden, the vast 1st century amphitheatre is in front of you.
Yes, it's weedy. Yes, much of it is only partially-excavated, or is a confusing mix of rubble and standing architecture....but you wouldn't be in very good condition after 2000 years!
And yes, it is very difficult to photograph so my offerings do not do it justice.
So allow your mind to wander. Imagine the theatre filled with thousands of citizens of Brixia, from the poorest to the most wealthy...it could hold 15000!...roaring their approval of the latest play, or the most popular gladiator, or the poetry readings. Imagine the smell of incense and perfumes, of street-foods (and their sellers!). Imagine the excitement of visiting.....of simply seeing and being seen, of doing business, of casting coy glances at a sweetheart, of meeting best friends and getting drunk afterwards, perhaps of casting longing eyes over the most expensive of Brixia's 'ladies of the night'...Roman theatres provided all those opportunities and more!
Via dei Musei leads from the Broletto on Piazza Paolo toward the Roman centre of Brixia (Brecia's name at that time). It tuns along the same route as the Roman decumanus maximus, the main east-west street of any Roman town (the Romans built to a grid pattern).
Folliwing it will eventually bring you to the heart of Brixia; the Forum, where all business was conducted. Now it lies buried under much more modern buildings and cobblestones, with only a very tiny area excavated to one side (see photo). My photo of the forum area may give you an impression of just how deeply much of Roman Brescia underneath its modern surface.
But the magnificent temples at one end of the Forum, being raised up, still stand.
Brixia's forum was remarkably narrow for the time but the elongated view it gives of what remains of those temples makes it very clear indeed what a hugely impressive sight this city centre must have been 2000 years ago.
The Tempio Capitolino was built around 73AD and is now partially reconstructed with red brick. It is easy to see which is reconstruction and which is original, as it should be...archaeological reconstruction is not about tricking people.
Behind the main temple lie three smaller ones, dedicated to Jupiter, Juno and Minerva. When I visited the site was undergoing further preservation (hence the scaffolding in the photos) and further excavation, so access to the smaller temples was impossible.
Even if the preservation and excavation work is still going on when you visit you really must see this area of Brescia, if only to give you an idea of the power of the Roman Empire at a time when most northern Europe buildings were made from organic materials such as wood.
When I emerged from the arcades eading from Piazza Paolo Vl this piazza was a bit of a shock.
I had not expected such a very 'modern' setting. But it's is impressive in its own way, although its regimented style is not to my personal taste.
Designed by the architect Piacenini, most of the piazza and its biuding facades is in shades of poliched marble. The Post Office building is particularly impressive, with alternate contrasting bands of colour.
I don't know what the tall chunky building is, but it certainly made an impression on me.
Worth a look if only for the total contrast between Piazza della Vittoria and the Adjoining Medieval Piazza della Loggia.