BresciaBrescia is a rich industrial city in Lombardy between Lake Garda, Lake Iseo and the Valtrompia in the foothills of the Alps, about 100 km east of Milan, and the capital of the province of Brescia.
Also, vintage car aficionados flock to Brescia to witness the start and final of the Mille Miglia race, and wine lovers appreciate the local fine Franciacorta wines.
Brescia, however, also has another face, having been founded over three millenniums ago in the times of the Roman Empire, of which several remains can be found, and it remained an important city throughout the early Middle Ages, with the local monastic complex earning a place on the UNESCO World Heritage list (see Longobards in Italy, Places of Power (568–774 A.D.)).
phone: +39 0303749916address: Piazza del Foro, 6
Aeroporto di Brescia-MontichiariA small airport which is served by charter flights.
The other close airports are:
- Bergamo Airport (aka Milan Orio al Serio, 50 km away, and is served by low-fare flights from all over Europe)
- Verona Airport (50 km away)
- Milano Linate (100 km away)
- Milano Malpensa Airport (150 km away).
By trainYou can reach Brescia by any train from the expensive Eurostars to the cheap and slow regionale commuter trains.
By busThere are 2 bus hubs located near the railway station.
Autostazione SAIAaddress: Via Solferino 6/D
Autostazione SIAaddress: Viale Stazione, 14
By carBrescia is reachable using the following motorway:
(Torino-Trieste), exits: Brescia Ovest, Brescia Centro, Brescia Est;
(Torino-Brescia), exits: Brescia Centro, Brescia Sud;
(Brescia-Bergamo-Milano) Under costruction.
To get to the outer districts, you can take advantage of Brescia's metro, opened in 2013, making it the smallest city in the world with an underground train system. It features the same driverless automated system as in Copenhagen but with even more spectacular station designs.
Much of the rest of the area, including the Franciacorta wine district and nearby museums such as that of the Mille Miglia automobile race, is more easily accessible by car.
address: Via dei Musei, 81/bA UNESCO World Heritage Site. A former monastery of Santa Giulia (it includes the earlier monastery of San Salvatore) now is a massive museum with a collection of art and archeology dating back more than 10,000 years and exploring the region's history from pre-history to Roman occupation to the Lombard settlement, etc. The museums also contain foundational remnants from various periods of Brescian houses with well preserved beautiful mosaic floors. The permanent collection of religious art is one of the best in northern Italy. Be sure not to miss the Vittoria alata di Brescia (Winged Victory of Brescia) — a true gem of the museum. It's a Greek statue of 3rd century BC, modified in the 1st century with adding the wings — a must see by your own eyes. Also not to be missed a collection of Ritratti romani bronzei di Brescia — a collection of six gilded bronze busts found in 1826 at the Capitolium of ancient Brixia.
Chiesa di Santa Maria in SolarioNot to be missed for its magnificent frescos. Also there you'd find the Croce di Desiderio (Desiderius’ Cross) a 9th-century wooden processional cross covered with golden foil and adorned with 212 gemstones (50 of them are of antique origin) — the biggest and finest artifact of Lombard goldsmith of the period.
address: Via dei Musei, 57Said to be one of the best-preserved Roman public complexes in Italy (still it's not like in Pompeii), complete with a forum, amphitheatre and capitolium (Roman temple). Old Roman ruins, the last remains of what once was the city's forum during the Roman Empire, built by the emperor Vespasian.
Piazza del ForoLocated at the place of the Roman Forum.
phone: +39 030 2977833-834address: Via Castello, 9Dating to pre-Roman times and last fortified by the Venetian overlords of the 16th century, the city's stronghold houses museums of armory and of the Risorgimento (Italy's first struggles for independence and unification), and provides eccelent views of the Valtrompia, the alps, and the city itself.
Chiesa di San Giuseppeaddress: Vicolo San Giuseppe, 516th-century church, inside, there is one of the oldest organs in the world.
Brolettoaddress: Piazza Paolo VI12th-century Town Hall
Duomo VecchioThe unique pre-renaissance church has a massive stone dome and 12th century crucifixes.
The city cathedral, built 150 years ago, with the third largest dome in Italy. The local hero is Pope Paul VI (1963–1978), a native Brescian.
Palazzo della LoggiaThe city hall and center of regional government, this large and oddly shaped building presides over the city's central square, where you'll often see political demonstrations, concerts, and markets. You can enter the building and look around in the main halls, enjoying the architecture and decor, but it remains primarily functional. The Loggia (lodge) also marks the northern end of the city's retail shopping district.
Case del Gamberoaddress: Corso Palestroa number of buildings constructed in the mid 16th century probably by Lodovico Beretta between 1550 and 1555. The façades are decorated by a vast cycle of frescoes painted by Lattanzio Gambara, partly lost, partly moved to the Pinacoteca Tosio Martinengo, but still partly on site, albeit mostly severely degraded. The name "Gambero" is after the hotel Gambero, which was located in the vicinity, south of Corso Zanardelli.
Corsia del GamberoA nice portico passage built in the 15th century near one of the oldest hotels in Brescia — Locanda del Gambero (now private apartments).
Chiesa di San Giovanni EvangelistaIt is one of the oldest churches in Brescia: it was consecrated in the early 5th century.
Torre della Pallata32-metre-high 13th-century tower.
phone: +39 339 838 4933address: Via dei Musei, 30A mid-17th-century palace that houses the offices of the province and occasional exhibitions .
Santa Maria dei MiracoliA Renaissance church with bas-reliefs façade and peristilium. It is considered as one of the finest examples of architecture of this style in Lombardy.
Santi Nazaro e CelsoThe church contains the Averoldi Polyptych(1522), a masterwork of Titian.
Piazza della VittoriaIt is a characteristic example of architecture 1930s, designed by Marcello Piacentini, one of the architects of the EUR district in Rome.
Casa Ottelliaddress: Corso PalestroBuilt in 1932, at the facade there are two bas-reliefs by Angelo Righetti, the sculptor who was quite famous at the time after he created the sculptures for the Piazza della Vittoria.
Piazza Tebaldo BrusatoNamed after a Guelph hero of the defense of Brescia. It was established in 1173 as the first municipal square in the town.
Mercato dei GraniA building with a notable sequence of porticos.
Teatro GrandeSince 1912, the theatre is a national monument of Italy.
address: Piazza Moretto
Travelers might find interesting that, due to the city's industry, Brescia is however a major immigrant center. The Via San Faustino neighborhood, with its cheap housing for both immigrants and university students, is an example of cultural integration that you won't find anywhere else in Italy.
Museo Mille MigliaUntil the auto industry made its dirty, cliff-side roads, hairpin turns, and spectator presence far too dangerous, the Mille Miglia, which starts in Brescia, was one of the world's top automobile races. Since it was discontinued as a real race 40 years ago (following numerous driver and spectator deaths), it has continued as a museum of automobile history. The actual race, now a parade of refurbished and custom designed cars that slowly winds its way through 1000 miles of northern Italy, starts in May of each year.
Brescia has a very old and well regarded university. The medical school, due to its proximity to the large regional hospital, is particularly well regarded. Brescia is not a common or canny destination for study abroad students.
Try the polenta (in winter only) a mush made with durum wheat, Polenta taragna is mixed with homemade cheeses and butter.
Try the amazing spiedo (in winter only) roasted larks and pork meat cooked for 6–7 hours in oven with butter and flavours or on grill. It's very typically Bresciano!!!
As with most of Lombard cuisine, Brescian cooking features more beef and butter and more hearty, German-style dishes than the rest of Italy.
Excellent pizzerias abound, including Al Teatro (by the theater and portici on the corner of Via Giuseppe Mazzini and Via Giuseppe Zanardelli) and the South-American styled Tempio Inca Pizzeria (Piazzale Arnaldo).
Authentic Brescian osterias and trattorias are common on the north side of the city center, but you will find that the best are out of the way and, purposefully, rather hard to find. Try to find the Contrada Santa Chiara, a dark side street parallel to Via San Faustino, where just off Via Dei Musei (close to the Roman Ruins and Santa Giulia), you'll find several highly authentic and inexpensive osterias including Osteria al Bianchi.
Cafe culture is just as prominent here as elsewhere, and there are several great coffee and aperitivo spots. Try the Due Stelle on Via San Faustino (also a great restaurant), or any of several cafe/restaurants just north of the Duomos between the Piazza Paulo VI and Via Dei Musei, which feature drinks and unlimited gourmet aperitivo buffets for under 6 Euro.
phone: +39 030 42216address: Via Fratelli Ugoni 16aFast food. Has vegan options.
phone: +39 030 292328address: Via Gasparo da Salò, 32
phone: +39 030 280 7252address: via Mazzini 5 & Via Cipro 15Fast food joint.
Trattoria G.A. Porteriphone: +39 030 301833address: Via Trento, 52
Brescia is also one of the most night-active city in the whole Italy, because of the industrial wealth. Brescian youths (and Lombardians in general) are famous for partying the night way — every single night. Many hotspots for locals can be found outside the city; in the center try Piazzale Arnaldo on the eastern edge and Borgo Pietro Wuhrer about 5 km east of the center on Via Venezia.
Viselli'sA small bar with an old proprietor who owns the copyright to his cocktails. It's a must in Brescia to try the Viselli's Champagnone (very good but very strong)
- Borgo Wührer: lots of beautiful bars such as Nacio, Hico de puta, BW Cafè, Pappavero, and more.
B&B Cà Del Gandophone: +39 340 675 3630address: Via dei Musei, 75, 25121 BresciaQuaint, local B&B. Very attentive owner and situated in the heart of the Brescia historical center. Close to cultural attractions such as museum, roman ruins and nightlife Piazza Arnaldo.
phone: +39 030 362061address: Viale della Bornata 22 Brescia,4-star hotel located only few steps from city centre of Brescia, on the main road that leads to beautiful Lake Garda. Friendly English-speaking staff.
phone: +39 030 2582721Via Martiri della Libertà 267 Roncadelle Brescia. A renovated, modern and functional ambience here along with top quality services and excellent comfort.
phone: +39 030 44221address: Viale Stazione, 15This fairly standard NH is not as fresh as it used to be, but makes up for it with its location next to the train station and the usual NH breakfast buffet.
AC Hotel Brescia by Marriottaddress: Via Giulio Quinto Stefana 3In an industrial estate right out of the city. A fairly standard, new and solid AC hotel, with typical upscalish simplicity aimed at business travellers.
Novotel Brescia Dueaddress: Via Pietro Nenni 22Renovated in 2016 it is a typical Novotel, complete with an outdoor pool, garden and family-oriented amenities, situated in a business park within 15 minutes of the train station.
Best Western Hotel MasterA solid if slightly uninspired choice in the north of Brescia.
phone: +39 030 398762– Via Triumplina, 66. The Park Hotel Cá Noa is four star hotel with 79 guestrooms, private bath, shower, internet connection, satellite TV and air conditioning. Also available: three meeting rooms and private parking.
Hotel VittoriaThe closest hotel to the Duomo
Hotel AmbasciatoriUpscale hotel with lush historizing decoration, reasonably close to the metro.
Brescia is also so close to other cities more proximate to natural beauty (e.g. Milan, Como, Iseo, Verona, Mantua, and many more), that you may want to just use one of them as a base.
The Franciacorta region south of the Lake Iseo boasts opportunities to taste some of the finest (and most expensive) wines in Italy, as well as tour vineyards and cantinas.
Hiking and biking in the alpine foothills around the city are open to more physically fit and adventurous travellers.