Visiting Brescia, Italy
If you like to go off the beaten path, Brescia is one of the “must see places” for you. Brescia, Italy has a long history dating back to the Bronze Age and you will find Roman ruins, an amazing collection of churches from different centuries, a castle, plazas, ancient fountains and more. The amount of things to see in Brescia requires at least two full days if not three!
Brescia is well equipped with tourist information with signs at major sights, well-illustrated maps, and a wealth of information to help you navigate the city.
How to Get to Brescia, Italy
Brescia is between Milan and Venice.
-Train – From Milan only takes 46 minutes to be exact! And if you are coming from Venice, Brescia is just an hour and a half train ride away.
From the train station to the historic old center, I would recommend taking a taxi, which you can find right outside the station. The ride to the old city center is about 10 minutes.
Main Sights to see in Brescia, Italy
The main place to start is Piazza del Duomo, which is a long rectangular square bordered by the Town Hall and the old and new cathedrals. (The Square is also known as Piazza Paolo VI, named after Giovanni Battista Montini who became Pope Paolo VI). The Town Hall (the Broletto) dates back to the 12th and 13th centuries and you can still see the original city towers, walk through the courtyard and admire this Medieval building. The old town hall, the Broletto, was the seat of political life from the 15th to 18th century and now houses the offices and police station.
The Old Cathedral (Duomo Vecchio) is a small round building at one end of the plaza and right next to the tall white “new cathedral.” The Old Cathedral was built in between the 11th and 12th centuries and the outside does not lend any hints to the treasures of mosaics and paintings you will find inside. When you enter the old Cathedral there is a large red marble tomb of Bishop Berardo Maggi of Brescia, which dates back to 1308. There are stairs leading down into main section and another pair of stairs leads to the crypt. The New Cathedral (Duomo Nouvo) was built between the 17th and early 19th centuries.
Piazza della Loggia is a lovely square with many interesting details and dates back to 1433. You will see the current Town Hall building at one end with its unusual silver dome-like roof; this building was built in the late 15th century. The center of the plaza is full of tables and umbrellas in the evening; and is a nice place to rest and admire the views and architecture. Opposite the Town Hall, at the other end of the square, is the 16th century Clock Tower with two figures that strike the bell.
The Capitolium are the Roman ruins between the Piazza del Duomo and the Santa Giulia Museum Complex. The Captilolium was built as a temple with a Roman city surrounding it, and therefore most of the streets you walk on are on top of this old city.
Tickets start at 4 Euros for adults and 3 Euros for groups/students. Note that if you visit the Museum of Santa Giulia, that ticket can be used for the Capitolium – reservations are needed to visit the Capitolium and can be made at the Museum of Santa Giulia. For hours for the Capitolium click here
Castle above Brescia, Italy
Climb up to the castle above Brescia for panoramic views of the city and to visit one of the largest castles in Italy. The castle was built on Roman ruins; the walls were built in 1588. The main castle was constructed between the 14th and 15thcenturies under the Viscontis. Note the Lion of Saint Mark at the entrance, which represents the power of Venice, which ruled over the area for more than four centuries.
You can visit the museum of ancient weapons, the Luigi Marzoli Arms Museum, at the top inner courtyard, and see over 1000 items from the 15th to 18th centuries. The Risorgimento Museum houses temporary exhibitions.
>Castle ticket prices and opening hours:
Tickets for the castle include both museums and are 5 Euros for adults and 4 Euros for students (as of 2013). Castle hours in the summer are from 10:30am to 6pm and in the winter from 9:30am to 5pm (closed on Mondays).