Brescia is the ideal place to spend a relaxing weekend, but if you really want to enjoy your trip to the full, don't forget that:
• Whether Italians from the north of Italy may seem cold and distant, the people in Brescia are used to giving three kisses on the cheeks by way of greeting (starting from the left, it's important!);
• After 6 pm around Brescia, doesn't matter if you had a good or a bad day, you must drink an aperitivo (aka “ape” if you're talking to friends). Our favourite is "il Pirlo", with Campari or Aperol, you choose what you prefer;
• All right, Brescia dialect is quite strange, but you must learn at least a couple of words: “fes” means “a lot” (e.g. "Brescia mi piace fes" means “I like Brescia very much”) and “in parte”, contrary to the rest of Italy, means “next to” (e.g. "il Duomo Vecchio è in parte al Duomo Nuovo" means “Duomo Vecchio is next to Duomo Nuovo”);
• The typical dish in Brescia is meat cooked on the spit with polenta, “casoncelli” - triangular-shaped filled pasta, “malfatti” filled with spinach, bread and Grana Padano cheese, or “manzo all’olio”, slowly cooked stew with polenta as a side;
• It's party time! Go to Piazzale Arnaldo and have an ape with friends to start your evening, but if you prefer to join in the movida in Brescia, just jump in the quarter of Carmine to see the thousand of disco-pubs and concept-stores open through the night.
Want to visit Brescia city? Here's what you can't miss…
BRESCIA ROMANA: do you really think that the Arena in Verona is the most important archaeological Roman site in northern Italy? Think again: in Brescia we have a site included from 2011 in the UNESCO World Heritage list, right in the city centre! The Roman Temple is dedicated to the emperor Vespasian and, thanks to the recent restoration works, it is possible to see its beautiful mosaics.
SANTA GIULIA: the museum was built on Roman and Lombard remains, and is located on the “beauty kilometre”, one of the most characteristic itineraries in Brescia. Inside there is the statue of the Winged Victory, symbol of Brescia, and the wonderful monastery of San Salvatore. This, together with the Roman theatre and the Capitoline Temple, is part of UNESCO World Heritage list.
PIAZZA LOGGIA, our little Venice: admire the architectural style of Palazzo Loggia and you will feel like you were in Venice! On the eastern side check out two strange characters that hit the bells every hour: they are the “Matti delle ore” (“the hours madmen”), in Brescia dialect “Macc de le ure”. Always on the same side of the square there is a commemorative stone to remember the carnage of May 28th 1974 where 8 people died. Piazza Loggia is one of the best places to socialize: in the summer there are numerous concerts and throughout the year on Saturday morning there is the city market.
DUOMO VECCHIO (the basilica with wrinkles!): its stone blocks on the outside and the circular plan transform the Duomo Vecchio in one of the most charming places of Brescia. Inside this ancient church you can see various masterpieces by Moretto, a famous painter from Brescia.
DUOMO NUOVO: next to Duomo Vecchio there is Duomo Nuovo, a solemn building, taller and even more majestic than the other. Its dome, destroyed during the second World War, is the third largest dome in Italy. Inside, see the statue of Paolo VI, the Pope from Brescia…habemus Papam!
BIBLIOTECA QUERINIANA: the generous cardinal Angelo Maria Querini donated to the city of Brescia this magnificent library with over 500,000 volumes. Some collections are preserved in archives closed to the public, which count more than 10 km of shelves.
IL CASTELLO: the walls of the Castle are still tall and tough like in the 14th century. It hosts two museums: Museo delle Armi Antiche and Museo del Risorgimento. This is the perfect place for a romantic walk on a hot summer afternoon.
PIAZZA VITTORIA: built during the fascism, this square has two important buildings, Palazzo delle Poste and Torre della Rivoluzione. At the basis of the tower there is a bas-relief that represents memorable scenes of Brescia history. Note: if you are interested, every second Sunday of the month Piazza Vittoria hosts an antiques market.
TEATRO GRANDE: a very small treasure hidden under the porticoes of Corso Zanardelli. In the beginning it was called “il Grande” to honour Napoleon, but then Brescia citizens erased the dedication because the Emperor did not show up at the inauguration ceremony. French generals used to gamble here a long time ago, but today it is the stage of famous operas that all Brescia people consider their pride and joy.
MUSEO MILLE MIGLIA: Brescia is the city of Mille Miglia, a historical car race held every year, which starts and finishes in Brescia. In the museum you will see vintage race cars, car helmets and drivers' race uniforms.
IL CARMINE: the old popular quarter where having fun is a must. Music and art exhibitions animate the area almost every day. Along the road you can see a small photography museum, open only over the weekend. Check out for the camera that takes more than 6,000 photos per minute! Almost at the end of this quarter there is Torre della Pallata that rises beyond 32 metres. Some time ago it hosted the municipality bank, and it was sacked by the French during the so called “sacco di Brescia”.
BRESCIA UNDERGROUND: want to see Brescia from a different perspective? The association Brescia Underground will take you on a tour to discover Brescia among ancient foundations and hidden canals.
LA MADDALENA: if you are sport geeks, mount Maddalena is what you need! In the summer it is the ideal place for jogging, for riding a bike or relaxing immersed in its refreshing breeze.
GALLERIA MININI: since 1973 it is the most famous contemporary art gallery in Brescia, thanks to the exhibition of masterpieces of Arte Povera, conceptual art and minimal art.