The Duomo Vecchio (Rotonda) is such an ancient church (1100s, but built over an earlier church probably dating from the 7th century) that its entrance now lies some way beneath the modern surface of Piazza Paolo Vl. You now enter through what was originally the women's gallery.
The Duomo is round...the original Romanesque style. It is one of the most important examples of this style in Italy. Its crypt...the Crypt of San Filastrio...dates from the time of the earlier church, probably the 800s, and is filled with chunks of roman masonry, its roof held up by recycled Roman columns.
Inside the main church you can see frescoes from the 1300s and 1400s (with a very little surviving from the 1200s). What remains of the frescoes in the Crypt of San Filastrio dates from even earlier...probably the 1100.
There are also works of art within the Duomo, including paintings by Romanino and Moretto, and the huge red marble sarcophagus of Berado Maggi, Bishop of Brescia in the 1200s.
Near the altar you'll find chunks of floor have been removed and replaced by glass panels. These allow you to see fragments of the Roman bath house which lies beneath the structure, with its mosaic floors and walls, as well as parts of the earlier church.
Definitely worth a visit.
I din't really pay as much attention to this as I should have done. It looked too modern. Since returning home and researching further, it turns out that the Torre dell'Orlogico is really pretty old.
Venice has a similar clock tower, and the good citizens of late-Medieval Brescia decided they would like one as well. So, between 1540 and 1550, they built the one in the photo.
The clock itself dates from 1544-1546 and can mark moon phases and zodiacal signs as well as the hours. On top of the tower are two mechanical men (installed in 1581), made of bronze and linked to the clock mechanism. They strike the hours.
The tower itself is incorporated into a long, white-stone arcade dating from 1595.
This building fascinated me.
Set on the southern side of the piazza it dates from the 1400s. Originally shops, in 1480 the city authorities decided to add various bits of Roman masonry to the facade. There are two loggias (colonnaded spaces) which allow access to the much-more-modern Piazza della Vittoria and, above these, a balcony from which, it is thought, speeches may once have been made
The building was later used by the Monte di Pieta, a type of city-run pawnbrokers.
There are Roman inscriptions galore to be sought out on the facade and it is this which fascinated me. Some are memorial stones, some are simply reliefs, some are...well, my Latin is no longer up to the challenge!
Definitely a must-see. Be warned: centuries of pollution have worn away the inscriptions so you will have to look closely. Most of them are not at all obvious.
Piazza della Loggia is Brescia's main square and a pretty one, with Medieval buildings on all sides.
The Loggia in the name is placed at the western end of the square...the Palazzo della Loggia, to be accurate, started in 1494. The lower part was completed in 1501, the upper in 1548.
Built by the city, its was originally intended for hearings by various civic authorities including those of Venice, for Brescia at that time was under the protection of powerful Medieval Venice.
At one time there was a room with paintings by Titian, but this was destroyed by fire in 1575.
I didn't go inside (the building still houses municipal authorities) but believe that on the first floor there is an octagonal 'salon' with a wooden ceiling and frescoes.
This is many things to do tips in one.
The castle itself is nice, (you did get in only at those rooms which were part of some of the museums).
The views from the castle were nice, worth of climbing there, and we visited also two museums:
Museo delle Armi:
and Museo del Risorgimento:
First one was more intresting if you ask me, but maybe it is because I´m also a smith artist even if I don´t those that work right now.
Built in the second half of the 15th century, this is one of the biggest castles in the north of Italy.
Inside the castle, there are two Museums;
- Museo Civico del Risorgimento
- Museo Civico delle Armi Antiche Luigi Marzoli
the visit of the Castle is free but not for the museums.
Apart from the Castle iself, it offers beautiful views of Brescia (see other tip).
- Main: Main entrance
- Second: Drawbridge (first half of the 14th century)
- Third: Prisoners' Tower (1.337-1.403)
- Fourtt: Mirabella Tower
Walk along Via dei Musei, then through Vicolo del Fontanon to reach the Theatre - it's right next to the Tempio Capitolino
This well-preserved arena was built in times of Flavia partly in marble, but was destroyed by either Barbarians or an earthquake (which seemed to have a comparable effect on Italy's ancient art treasures). However, the theatre company itself functioned well into the 12th century.
In Roman Empire times, it was one of the largest theatres of the province with a capacity of ca. 15 thousand people.
In Via dei Musei
The temple we know as Tempio Capitolino was built by Vespasian in years 73 and 74 AD, and is the most important symbol of 'Brixia', a Roman city that was today's Brescia. The temple was destroyed a couple of centuries later by an invasion of Barbarians.
Aulas, fountains, altars (probably to Jupiter, Minerva, and Juno) - little of that remains today, but it's still much more than what the archaeologists had to work with at the beginning of their excavations which was a grand quantity of about 1/2 of a column!
Today, steps and a partially reconstructed colonnade lead into the salas (also reconstructed) that give a good idea of what the temple must have looked like in its better days.
Santa Giulia is an old Lombard monastery, and it hosts the City Museum. It is an outstanding complex of different buildings at the foot of the Castle, built along the ancient Roman main street Via Musei.
Just in front of the Capitolium (Piazza del Foro/Foro Square), housed Brixia’s market and was the centre of commerce; it was surrounded by arcades lined with shops and closed to the south by the Basilica di San Zeno al Foro (second pic).
Capitolium and Roman Thatre
The Capitolium, built by the emperor Vespasian in 73 A.D., was a religious site and the monumental centre of ancient Brixia. The building was discovered in 1.823. It is a temple with three chambers
The Theatre was used for entertainment and public meetings and is calculated to have held fifteen thousand people. The forum, in front of the
This is the heart of Brescia and the most beautiful square of the city. It wax inaugurated in 1.433.
To point out: Palazzo della Loggia, The Clock Tower, La Loggetta, Monte di Pietà and the Tourism Office.
All of them have their own tip.
The Old Cathedral of St. Maria Maggiore was pulled down around the 11th-12th centuries, and replaced by a stone building in the European Romanesque style. The Duomo Vecchio (Old Cathedral) is also known as Rotunda.
Centomiglia beginning of September. An international regatta that has been held on Lake Garda since 1951. The most prestigious European sailing competition on internal waters with hundreds of teams participating. The regatta's departure and arrival point is the little port of Bogliacco, which is transformed into an international yachting center during the event.
Mille Miglia in April and May. A recreation of a historic automobile race. The route starts from Viale Venezia in Brescia and wends its way along the streets of half of Italy. The historic competition began in 1927 when Renzo Castagneto inaugurated the Freccia Rossa race that was run for 27 editions until 1957. Today, the competition is an incredible procession of antique cars and an excellent occasion to see the jewels of the most prestigious auto manufacturers as well as a world class that features the participation of many personalities of the international jet-set, and the world's of entertainment and sports.