Comune di Brescia tourism website: useful information about what to see and where to go.

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Points of Interest

The Roman Theatre

Tue, 23/09/2014 - 10:47 -- Laura
Brescia Teatro Romano

The theatre, visible from Vicolo del Fontanone, is located at the eastside of the Capitoline Temple and connected to it through the «aula dei pilastrini», a room divided in three naves by two rows of tall and slim pillars. The theatre was built during the Flavian era (69-96 AD), probably on preexisting buildings, and was completely restored at the end of the 2nd century, at the peak of its splendour. Between the end of the 5th and the beginning of the 6th century it was partially demolished, but for few centuries it continued to be a place for public gatherings.

San Faustino in Riposo Church (known as Santa Rita Church)

Mon, 22/09/2014 - 15:27 -- Laura
Brescia, San Faustino in riposo church

The small entrance opens under the face of Porta Bruciata tower, in Via dei Musei. The name of the church was coined after a religious procession that took place at the beginning of the 9th century: it carried the relics of Faustino and Giovita saints – patrons of Brescia – and stopped here on its way towards San Faustino Maggiore.
Erected at the end of the 12th century on a preexisting chapel, the church has a round plan rebuilt in the 18th and 19th century. The altarpiece on the main altar, Vergine con Bambino tra i Santi Faustino e Giovita (Virgin Mary and Child between the Saints Faustino and Giovita), was painted by Domenico Romani in 1743. The church, full of ex-voto, hosts in its left chapel an image of the Virgin Mary that is fondly cherished by devotees in Brescia.   
The original outside architecture, visible where the street widens, presents a cylindrical stone building covered with a cone-shaped roof with a denticular cornice in cotto tiles. There it stands a cylindrical bell tower with four small mullioned windows, covered with a pinnacle decorated with another denticular cornice in cotto tiles.

Piazza Tebaldo Brusato

Thu, 11/09/2014 - 15:59 -- Anonimo (not verified)
Brescia, Piazza Tebaldo Brusato

In medieval times this was a large orchard to the south of the Monastic Complex of Santa Giulia. From 1173 it was the only square in the city which was permitted to hold a market and was called "Piazza del Mercato Nuovo" (New Market Square). Subsequently new buildings for small businesspeople and craftsmen were constructed in the area.
During the following centuries the function of the square changed and the buildings overlooking it, such as the splendid Palazzo Cigola (nowadays Fenaroli), were built for the aristocratic families. Both façades of this building are of similar style, although they were built in different centuries. The XVIth-century wing of the building, which has a portal with imposing telamons supporting a richlydecorated stone balcony, looks onto Via Carlo Cattaneo: the other wing, built the following century, faces onto the square.

Piazzale Arnaldo

Thu, 11/09/2014 - 15:00 -- Anonimo (not verified)
Brescia, piazzale Arnaldo

This XIXth-century square, which is called after the famous monk, Arnaldo of Brescia, is a significant example of urbanisation combining "public utility" with "magnificence".
The vast square and the adjoining long building with its arcade were built to provide an area for the corn market, which was previously held in Piazza Loggia and then in Via San Faustino. The Corn Warehouse, inaugurated in 1823, is considered one of the finest examples of Brescian neo-classical construction, with its solemn row of bossed arches and a fountain at each end. The building was 111 metres long and included twelve storage-rooms in the basement and as many again on the ground floor.To the granary store was added a toll house, effectively closing off the square.

Teatro Sociale

Wed, 30/07/2014 - 11:45 -- Laura

L'attuale Teatro Sociale trae le sue origini dalla storia della famiglia di Luigi Guillaume, nobiluomo francese fuggito con la moglie Maddalena, da Lione (Francia) durante la rivoluzione francese.
I Guillaume, confusi a un gruppo di saltimbanchi e di attori girovaghi, per meglio ingannare gli inseguitori, raggiunsero l'Italia in modo rocambolesco trovando però, nell'affascinante mondo circense, il modo di sopravvivere alla propria condizione di esuli espropriati.

Shield of Parade, Bartolomeo Piatti (?)

Tue, 08/07/2014 - 11:01 -- Laura
Brescia, Bartolomeo Piatti (?), Luigi Marzoli Arms Museum, Castle of Brescia

This elegant shield of parade, formerly in the Rotschild collection and now in the collection belonging to the businessman Luigi Marzoli, falls in the category of circular shields used in the 16th century. This particular shield owes its name to the use ad pompam vel ostentationem, which had to symbolize wealth and power for its owner. It seems more like an art piece rather than a shield to be used in battle. Together with prestigious armours, this shield was used only in rare occasions where the aristocrats of the time gathered to celebrate an important event.
This object is expensive because of the rich and damascened decorations carved in relief. It probably dates back to the luxury armour production which spread from the fourth decade of the 16th century. In this period, the producers of armours began to create, together with war armours, also pieces decorated with scenes from historical events and the classic mythology which symbolized the legitimacy of the power held by the aristocratic class, exerted both through arms and a right that had ancient roots.
The images and the archaic style were derived from engravings, largely diffused, of mannerists followers of Raphael and Giulio Romano. In the majority of cases, these were a mixture of different iconographic sources that were attentively juxtaposed to create a well-balanced picture.

Zouave camp on Brescia city walls in June 1859, by Angelo Inganni

Thu, 19/06/2014 - 10:15 -- Laura
Zouave camp on Brescia city walls in June 1859, by Angelo Inganni

The battle of Solferino and San Martino was fought on 24th June 1859 between the Austrian and the French-Sardinian armies, thus ending the second Italian War of Independence.
Since over 230,000 soldiers took part in it, this battle is the most important after Leipzig in 1813. In Italy it is still remembered because it was the first concrete step towards Italian national unity, and around the world because it led Henry Dunant to found the International Red Cross.
In the French-Sardinian army fought the group of Zouaves, put together in 1830, shortly after the conquest of Algiers by the French army. The group was originally composed by a single regiment of mercenaries, who largely came from the Berber tribe of zouaoua. Later on, the soldiers of French origins (generally volunteers) became the majority, whereas the indigenous troops were integrated in the “tiralleurs algeriéns” (1841), also called “turcos”. Until 1962 they both kept wearing the elaborated Arabian-Algerian style uniforms. As part of the colonial infantry, the Zouaves proved excellent in facing the most difficult and risky situations, also thanks to their strong “group spirit”, emphasized by the informal presence of squads (tribus) inside every army, guided by a veteran of renowned authority (the débrouillard), who distributed roles during breaks or transfers. 
The Zouaves distinguished themselves also in the Crimean war (1854 – 1855), especially in the battle of the Alma and the conquest of Malakoff. In the following “campaign of Italy” (1859) the three regiments, together with the one included in the Imperial Guard, decidedly contributed to the successful result of the Palestro (30th May), Magenta (4th June), and Melegnano (10th June) battles. On the dawn of the 24th June, the Zouaves on reconnaissance mission were the first to engage in a fight with the Austrians and, later on, participated in the assault and the conquest of Solferino hill.
Few day before the great battle of Solferino (24th June 1859), the French-Piedmont army swarmed in Brescia (from the 18th to the 21st June), as temporary headquarters of the king Vittorio Emanuele II (welcomed in Valotti palace, in Corso Magenta) and Napoleon III (in Fenaroli palace, Via Marsala). The Imperial Guard armies settled on the city walls together with a Zouave regiment.

"Santa Giulia crucified", Carlo and Giovanni (?) Carra

Wed, 14/05/2014 - 10:13 -- Laura
Brescia, "Santa Giulia crucified", Carlo and Giovanni (?) Carra

Written sources from the 17th century – by Bernardino Faino (1630-1669) and Francesco Paglia (1660-1701) – record the excitement in front of Santa Giulia crucified in the new church of the Benedictine nuns. These sources also mention the artists: Giovanni and Carlo Carra, sons of Antonio, who owned the most important sculpture workshop in the 17th century Brescia and province. The Carras are responsible for the Ark of Saint Faustino and Giovita in the church in Brescia of ‘Santi Faustino e Giovita’ (1618-1626). When Antonio died (1632), Giovanni and Carlo – the third brother, Stefano, would succeed as an architect – followed the steps of their late father and worked in a sort of symbiosis. The only exception that is worth noting is when Giovanni proudly signs the Altar of Saint Benedict in the ‘Santi Faustino e Giovita’ church (1645-1648).

Therefore even the Santa Giulia in the City Museum is an output of that workshop – but before 1630, when Faino recorded it – though the delicacy in the marble descriptive technique, the fine expression and the gentle progression of shades on the sculpture reveal a different touch from that of Saint Benedict signed by Giovanni. Here the rough outline is sharper and the drapery very schematic, though fascinating. It is only a hypothesis, but Santa Giulia crucified may have been sculpted mainly by Carlo, who worked as only responsible for the building activities of Duomo Nuovo between 1621 and 1659, in the role of “inzegnero soprastante alla fabbrica” (responsible engineer). Carlo also signed the majority of the contracts that survived until today, thus marking his role as coordinator of all activities related to the family workshop.

"Angel bust", Raphael

Wed, 30/04/2014 - 11:23 -- Laura
"Angel bust", Raphael

In 1821 the painting could be found on the antiques market in Florence described as “Portrait of a Young Man”, and at the time it was already considered as Raphael’s work. Paolo Tosio, thanks to the support of Teodoro Lechi, managed to buy it with a certificate of authenticity from Accademia Fiorentina. Along with the Christ Blessing, the other painting already belonging to the collection of Count Tosio, the “Portrait of a Young Man” became one of the most celebrated works among Brescia experts and beyond. Why was the little painting called “Portrait of a Young Man”?

Desiderius' Cross

Wed, 05/03/2014 - 11:13 -- Laura
Brescia, Desiderius' Cross

Desiderius’ Cross is a processional cross that used to be carried on a tall staff by hand or on carriages.  Considered its use, it was built in wood and covered with golden metal plates. Tradition recounts that it was a gift to San Salvatore and Santa Giulia monastery from the Longobard king Desiderius, who founded it between 753 and 760 together with his wife Ansa.
Among the examples of crux gemmata survived to the present day, this is the largest and it is covered with 211 gemstones set on the four arms. As unique case for this type of decoration, the goldsmiths here reused numerous ancient gems – about 50 – many of which came from other decorative pieces.