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Introduction to Brescia

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7. The new Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta

6. The old co-cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta

5. Santa Giulia Museum

4. Brescia's Castle

3. Capitoline temple & Roman Anphitheatre

2. Square of the Loggia

1. Introduction to Brescia


The city of Brescia is nicknamed "The Lioness", originally for the value and attachment shown to the Venetian republic: in 1438, in this regard, the same Venetian Senate proclaimed the city of Brescia "Lioness and worthy wife of the Lion", giving it the title of “Brixia Fidelis fidei et Iustitiae”, a title proudly shown on the front of the Palazzo della Loggia.

Brescia is an Italian town in Lombardy. An ancient city whose origins date back to over 3 200 years ago, Brescia has a great artistic and architectural heritage: its monuments from the Roman and Lombard periods have been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

Piazza della Loggia

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It was designed in the Renaissance period, and construction began towards the end of the 15th century. The square immediately became the beating heart of the city both for its position and for the presence of the Loggia, begun in 1489 under the direction of Filippo Grassi and finished in 1574.


It is one of the main squares of Brescia. Its shape is rectangular, bordered by a series of buildings from the Venetian era, including the Loggia, seat of the municipal council of Brescia.

The clock has four angels in gilded copper representing the winds; and there are two bronze male statues that mark the hours by beating the hammer on the bell placed on top of the clock


In front of the Loggia we find Renaissance-style arcades surmounted by the "Clock Tower", so named for the presence of an ancient clock from 1546.

Under the portico of the Palace of the Loggia there is the Lodoiga, a sculpture dating back to the second half of the sixteenth century. This statue, placed in direct contact with the square, was considered by Brescia as a "spokesperson" for the complaints of the people, who expressed their criticisms through tickets and sheets glued anonymously on the statue itself.

The square of the Loggia is certainly central to city life, it became famous for the massacre that on May 28, 1974, during an anti-fascist demonstration, killed 8 people and wounded 102 others.

Capitoline temple and roman anphitheatre

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By the square are the remains of the Capitolium Temple (73 A.D.) and the Roman Theatre (1st century A.D.), one of the main Italian theatres at the time with a capacity of 15 thousand spectators.

To discover Roman Brescia, start from Piazza del Foro, one of the oldest squares in Brescia. Piazza del Foro is a sort of city navel, this was the centre of the city’s civil, political, business, and trade life.

By looking at the portion of the temple that was rebuilt, you can understand the size of the building. The original white parts are mixed with the pink stones added during the restoration. The pronaos (entrance) protects the three large doors and rooms which contain several headstones dating from Roman times. In 2013, it was reopened to the public. Today, it is one of the most visited museums in Brescia.

Capitolium Temple, commissioned in 73 A.D. by Emperor Vespasian, was dedicated to the cult of Jupiter, Juno, and Minerva, the three Capitoline gods that were venerated in Rome at the namesake temple built on the Capitoline hill. In the Middle Ages, the Temple was in disrepair and was buried by landslides and rubble falling from the Cidneo hill right behind it. In 1823, portions of the temple and three rooms were rediscovered and rebuilt.

Capitolium Temple

Light also contributes to the charm of this enchanting place: in the summer, at dusk, shadows create intriguing patterns on the surfaces; at night, artificial lights add to the mistery of the place.

The temple exudes an aura of sacredness and power. It is a means to maintain history alive. The interior floors still has the original coloured marble tiles arranged in geometric shapes.

The theater was built in the Flavian era (69-96 AD), perhaps on previous structures, and was fully restored at the end of the second century, when it reached its maximum splendor. Between the end of the fifth and the beginning of the sixth century it was partially destroyed, but continued for a few more centuries to serve as a public meeting place. In medolo stone and marble, in bricks in the highest ambulatory, it is characterized by considerable dimensions: it is believed that it could hold 15,000 spectators.

Roman Theatre

Brescia's Castle

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Pass over the moat and here you are already inside the castle walls!

In the Castle of Brescia there is the first public astronomical observatory in Italy.

The Castle of Brescia located on the Cidneo hill, is recognized by many Brescians as the symbol of the city. A destination suitable for everyone, it can be easily reached on foot from the center of Brescia.


Inside there is also the Museum of Arms and the museum of the Risorgimento.

The castle surprises with narrow streets full of mystery, hidden environments and a panorama among the most engaging that embraces all the town

The castle of Brescia represents also one of the most fascinating fortified complexes in Italy from which are visible the signs of the different dominations throughout history


The first settlements on the hill date back to the Bronze Age and it was for Romans that the hill was inserted within the city walls.

It is a very large and articulated complex, rich in architectural testimonies that confirm the ancient defensive function of the hill.

Santa Giulia Museum

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Santa Giulia Museum was founded in 753 as a monastery by the last Lombard king Desiderius. In 1882 it became the Museum of the Christian Age after being damaged during the French invasion. Now the museum contains different parts form many epochs: it goes from Roman age to the sixteenth century.

The museum includes:- the basilica of San Salvatore (9th century)- the oratory of Santa Maria in Solario (12th century)-the 16th century church of Santa Giulia-the museum from the Bronze Age to Roman times

In the museum you can also see some Roman domus (houses in latin) that were excavated beneath the former nuns' church

Duomo vecchio or Old Cathedral

  • location: Brescia
  • Region: Lombardy
  • Religion: Christian catholic of the Roman Rite
  • Architectural style: Romanesque
  • Construction beguns: 10th century
  • Completition: 16th century


  • The Duomo Vecchio or Old Cathedral is a Roman Catholic church in Brescia, Italy; the rustic circular Romanesque co-cathedral stands next to the Duomo Nuovo (New Cathedral) of Brescia. It is officially known as the Winter Co-Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, while the adjacent main cathedral is known as the Summer Cathedral. It is one of the most important examples of Romanesque round church in Italy. While some claims for an earlier construction exist, the earliest documents state the cathedral was built in the 11th century on the site of a prior church with a basilica layout. It has a circular shape that became rare after the Council of Trent. In the 19th century, many additions to the original medieval building were removed. The entrance portal is one later addition remaining. It contains the medieval Crypt of San Filastrio, in honor of the beatified Brescian bishop.


Due to its characteristics and to the very high degree of conservation of its original structures, the Old Cathedral of Brescia ranks among the most important examples of Romanesque round churches in Italy. The large cylindrical structure of the church is composed of regular blocks of limestone, interrupted by single lancet windows with round arches arranged on three different levels – the first on the walls of the ambulatory, the second at the base of the central cylinder and the third on the top of the latter, where the mullioned windows are replaced, towards north, south and east, by circular oculi. The central cylinder is also decorated with thin pilasters arranged at regular intervals and crowned by a terracotta frieze with small arches, typical of the decorative art of the period.

The new Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta

Built between 1604 and 1825

At the beginning of the 16th century the diocese decided to build a church near the precarious structure of the Duomo Vecchio. But the construction soon starts to be a really difficult project. The main reasons are: a quarrel between architects due to the design of the original project; the economic crisis during the black plague; continuous modification of the project in the XVIII century.

Why so many years to build this cathedral?





The cathedral was built in Piazza Paolo VI. The style is between baroque and neoclassical and it is constructed with marble of Botticino.Also, on the gable, you can see the city coat of arms.

About the architecture...

Many of the sculptures and of the paintings (inside the cathedral) were first set in the Duomo Vecchio.Among them there are two funeral monuments both belonging to bishop died in the 19th century.

What you can see in the cathedral: