The convent of San Salvatore, later named after Santa Giulia (915) was founded at the wish of King Desiderius and his wife Ansa in 753 AD, and built on a particularly rich archeological site ( the remains of Roman domus have been found under the basilica of San Salvatore and in the kitchen garden of Santa Giulia. Considerable enlargement and reconstruction over the centuries produced a building constructed round three cloisters, as it is today. Major alterations were made in the time of the city states (XII century: rebuilding of the cloisters, enlargement of San Salvatore's crypt, building of Santa Maria in Solario) and in the late XV century ( complete rebuilding of the cloisters and addition of the north cloister of dormitories, raising of the nuns' choir and repositioning of the front of the church of San Salvatore, which was in turn destroyed and completely redesigned when the new church of Santa Giulia was built in 1499).
When Brescia was under Roman rule, this square was the centre both of religious and political life. The Capitolium temple, prominently situated at the north end, had an arcade with a double order of columns, as can be seen from the remains of the arches on the former ground level. The Basilica (the law courts) was situated on the south side: remains of this edifice can be seen incorporated into the nearby houses in Piazza Labus.
The magnificent Piazza del Foro was traversed by the “Decumanus Massimus” (nowadays Via dei Musei) which ran from Bergamo to Verona.
The Church of San Zeno in Foro faces onto this road. It has a small churchyard enclosed by railings with statues of intertwined dolphins; inside the church a collection of paintings deserves attention.