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The Beautiful City of Brescia.

semi-overcast

Nativity Scenes

Nativity Scenes

We have just returned from a trip to Northern Italy. During that trip we based ourselves in Brescia and travelled around the region. As well as looking at Brescia itself, we visited Verona, the stunningly beautiful Iseo Lake, Cremona, Lake Garda and returned briefly to Milan where we based ourselves for last year's trip. I had read mixed reviews about Brescia, with several people describing it as rough and threatening. We loved it. We found it perfectly safe and perfectly friendly. We loved the fact it was a real place, not just a tourist destination, yet it had so many beautiful places to explore.

The only downside to this year's trip was that it was much colder than last year. When we were in Verona, it even started to snow. We devoted three half days to exploring the historical centre of Brescia. Only one of these half days was not unbelievably cold. The historical heart of Brescia centres around three main interconnected squares: the Piazza della Loggia, the Piazza della Vittoria and the Piazza Paolo VI. There is also a lovely hill-top castle and wonderful Roman remains. Brescia has an apparently excellent museum, too. I say apparently, because we did not visit it. There were just too many other things to do.

Brescia is situated at the foot of the Alps. It is close to Lake Garda and Lake Iseo. Brescia was founded over 3,200 years ago. Its old name was Brixia. It was an important town in Ancient Roman times. Roman Brixia had three or more temples, an aquaduct, a theatre, a forum and some baths. We were able to see the remains of the theatre, one temple and parts of the forum. Modern Brescia is an industrial city. Its symbol is the lion which you can find carved on many walls and emblazoned on many drain covers. While visiting Lombardy we bought a seven day rail pass for the region, just as we did the year before. At 41 Euros this pass is good value. It is also convenient as it only has to be stamped on the first day of use and it saves having to queue up for tickets. We had to buy an extra ticket to get all the way to Verona as it is out of the Lombardy Region.

Piazza del Mercato.

Piazza del Mercato means Market Square. It was the first square we got to when we walked into town from the railway station. This square has been home to Brescia's market since 1428. On the west side of the square stands Palazzo Martinengo Palatino. This former palace is now part of Brescia University.The square also houses the little church of Santa Maria del Lino. In the middle of the square there is a fountain of a boy with a dolphin. There was a merry­-go-round in the square when we visited.

Piazza del Mercato

Piazza del Mercato

The Torre Pallata.

We had a wander through Brescia's old town and found some lovely attractions such as the Tower of Pallata. This was built in 1254 as part of the city walls. Pallata means fence. A clock was added to the tower in 1461. At the bottom of the tower is the lovely Fountain of Pallata which dates from 1597. The statues on the fountain represent the gods of the two main rivers of Brescia: the Mella and the Garza.

The Torre Pallata

The Torre Pallata

Brescia Castle - ­ Sculptures.

The castle had attractive grounds and there were also some interesting statues and sculptures spread out around the castle grounds. We spent quite a while wandering around here. It is well worth a visit.

Brescia Castle - Sculptures

Brescia Castle - Sculptures

Brescia Castle - Sculptures

Brescia Castle - Sculptures

Brescia Castle - Sculptures

Brescia Castle - Sculptures

Brescia Castle - Sculptures

Brescia Castle - Sculptures

Brescia Castle - Sculptures

Brescia Castle - Sculptures

Brescia Castle and its views.

Brescia Castle is also known as the falcon of Italy, presumably because of its high vantage point over the town. Construction of the castle began in the thirteenth century and continued until the sixteenth century.

Brescia Castle and its views.

Brescia Castle and its views.

Brescia Castle and its views.

Brescia Castle and its views.

Brescia Castle and its views.

Brescia Castle and its views.

Brescia Castle and its views.

Brescia Castle and its views.

Brescia Castle and its views.

Brescia Castle and its views.

Brescia Castle - Castello di Brescia.

Brescia Castle is an attractive building located on Cidneo Hill. We walked up here by following the signs from Paolo VI Square. It is an easy uphill walk. The castle houses two museums though we did not visit these. There are wonderful views over Brescia from the castle. The castle is free entry. You only pay if you go to the museums. There were some interesting statues in the castle grounds, including the statues of two lions. The castle grounds also housed an old steam locomotive engine.

Brescia Castle

Brescia Castle

Brescia Castle

Brescia Castle

Brescia Castle

Brescia Castle

Brescia Castle

Brescia Castle

Brescia Castle

Brescia Castle

Piazza della Loggia.

The Piazza della Loggia is a beautiful square interconnected with the Piazza Vittoria. Here you can see the Renaissance Palace of the Loggia. This building is now the town hall. It dates back to 1492. On the south side of the square stands the Monti di Pietà which has fragments of ancient masonry embedded in its wall. The east side of the square contains a building dominated by the sixteenth century mechanical Clock Tower. This is modelled on the clock tower in Venice. The tower also has an astrological clock. There are several statues around the square. This square was the site of a dreadful terrorist explosion on the 28th of May 1974. Eight people were killed and more than a hundred were injured here during an anti­fascist ralley. The bomb which caused all the damage was concealed in a rubbish bin.

Piazza della Loggia

Piazza della Loggia

Piazza della Loggia

Piazza della Loggia

Piazza della Loggia

Piazza della Loggia

Piazza della Loggia

Piazza della Loggia

Piazza della Loggia

Piazza della Loggia

Astrological Clock - Brescia

Astrological Clock - Brescia

Piazza Paolo VI.

Piazza Paolo VI used to be called Piazza del Duomo because it houses both of Brescia's cathedrals: the old and the new. However, it was re­named in honour of the Brescian pope Giovanni Battista Montini or Pope Paul the Sixth who lived from 1897 to 1978 and held the office of pope from 1963 until his death. On one side of the square stands the lovely Broletto -­ home to the Provincial Council, the Prefecture and the local Registrar's office. Next to that is the magnificent new cathedral with its huge green dome. Next to that stands the picturesque Rotonda or old cathedral. There are two fountains in the square. One depicts the goddess Minerva and is called Brescia Armed.

Piazza Paolo VI

Piazza Paolo VI

Piazza Paolo VI

Piazza Paolo VI

Piazza Paolo VI

Piazza Paolo VI

Piazza Paolo VI

Piazza Paolo VI

Piazza Paolo VI

Piazza Paolo VI

The Broletto - Palazzo del Broletto.

The Broletto was built in the thirteenth century. It has been the headquarters of the municipal authority in Brescia since the Middle Ages. The broletto has a tall tower -­ the tower of Pegol ­ whose bells were once used used to summon the citizens of Brescia. I especially loved the faces carved above the central courtyard. Some were quite comical.

The Broletto

The Broletto

The Broletto

The Broletto

The Broletto

The Broletto

The Broletto

The Broletto

The Broletto

The Broletto

The New Cathedral - Duomo Nuovo. ­

One of the best things about the new cathedral was it was lovely and warm inside. I say that because Italy was freezing when we visited and getting in somewhere warm from time to time helped us to keep going. Another thing I really liked was the cathedral's nativity scene, especially the camels peeping out from under the table. The new cathedral was built on the site of an earlier cathedral -­ the Cathedral of San Pietro. Construction of the cathedral began in the first half of the seventeenth century. The cathedral was designed by the Brescian architect Gian Battista Lantana.

The New Cathedral.

The New Cathedral.

The New Cathedral.

The New Cathedral.

The New Cathedral.

The New Cathedral.

The New Cathedral.

The New Cathedral.

The New Cathedral.

The New Cathedral.

The New Cathedral. - Brescia

The New Cathedral. - Brescia

The Rotonda - Duomo Vecchio or Old Cathedral.

The Old Cathedral of Brescia is also known as the Rotonda, because of its round shape. Near the entrance there is a sarcophagus containing the body of Bishop Berardo Maggi, who died in 1308. Inside the cathedral you can find the Holy Crosses Chapel and the Holy Sacrament Chapel. There are also stairs down to a crypt.

The Rotonda

The Rotonda

The Rotonda

The Rotonda

The Rotonda

The Rotonda

The Rotonda

The Rotonda

The Rotonda

The Rotonda

Nativity Scenes.

During our visit to the rotunda there was an exhibition of Nativity Scenes from around the world. This exhibition was very popular and crowded. The church and exhibition were free entry.

Nativity Scenes

Nativity Scenes

Nativity Scenes

Nativity Scenes

Nativity Scenes

Nativity Scenes

Nativity Scenes

Nativity Scenes

Piazza della Vittoria.

Piazza della Vittoria was designed by the Roman architect Marcello Piacentini. The is home to the Post Office building and the Torrione or high tower. It is a very modern looking square. The facades of some of the buildings are decorated with marble. On one side of the square is a red stone pulpit covered with carvings. It is used by public speakers to address the assembled crowds. When we visited, there was a very popular ice-­skating rink in the square.This square overlooks some attractive churches. It is interconnected with the Piazza della Loggia and the Piazza Paolo VI.

Piazza della Vittoria

Piazza della Vittoria

Piazza della Vittoria

Piazza della Vittoria

Piazza della Vittoria

Piazza della Vittoria

Piazza della Vittoria

Piazza della Vittoria

Ancient Roman Theatre.

Not far from the temple lie the remains of an Ancient Roman theatre. This was built in the 1st Century AD. It could hold up to 15,000 spectators. This theatre, like most Ancient Greek theatres, lies on the sloping hill.

Ancient Roman Theatre

Ancient Roman Theatre

Ancient Roman Theatre

Ancient Roman Theatre

Ancient Roman Theatre

Ancient Roman Theatre

Roman Remains - The Temple.

If you walk through the broletto from Paolo VI Square and follow the signs, you will end up at the Capitolino Temple. This restored Roman temple was built in 73 AD. It towers over the remains of the ancient Roman forum. The Capitolino Temple was the heart of Roman Brixia. It was built by the Emperor Vespasian.

Roman Remains - The Temple

Roman Remains - The Temple

Roman Remains - The Temple

Roman Remains - The Temple

Roman Remains - The Temple

Roman Remains - The Temple

Roman Remains - The Temple

Roman Remains - The Temple

The Big Face.

If you look closely at my photos of statues and fountains in Brescia, you will see many have no noses. This is explained next to the statue of the Big Face in Brescia. At a time when the states that now make up Italy were always fueding, Brescia sided with the pope and against the emperor. Sadly the emperor conquered the city and he was so angry with the people of Brescia he threatened to cut off their noses. He was later persuaded to alter his threat to cut the noses off all their statues which he did. Big Face was one of many statues deformed in this event.

The Big Face

The Big Face

Fountains of Brescia.

Brescia had some very beautiful fountains. Apparently there are more than seventy in total. We did not see all of them.

Fountains of Brescia.

Fountains of Brescia.

Fountains of Brescia.

Fountains of Brescia.

Fountains of Brescia.

Fountains of Brescia.

Fountains of Brescia.

Fountains of Brescia.

Fountains of Brescia.

Fountains of Brescia.

Monument to Garibaldi.

We rather liked this statue to Garibaldi in Brescia old town. I especially liked the lion. Wandering around Brescia old town was quite rewarding with lots of interesting sights scattered around. I would recommend doing this.

Monument to Garibaldi.

Monument to Garibaldi.

Monument to Garibaldi.

Monument to Garibaldi.

Monument to Garibaldi.

Monument to Garibaldi.

The church of Santa Maria dei Miracoli.

Brescia's old town had some beautiful churches. We liked the church of Santa Maria dei Miracoli. This is located on Corso Vittorio Emanuele. This church was built to house an icon which was believed to have miraculous powers. The church was designed by Ludovico Beretta between 1480 and 1490. The exterior of the church is very beautiful. We sat inside for a while and found the interior lovely, too. The interior of this church was damaged during the Second World War but has been restored.

The church of Santa Maria dei Miracoli.

The church of Santa Maria dei Miracoli.

The church of Santa Maria dei Miracoli.

The church of Santa Maria dei Miracoli.

The church of Santa Maria dei Miracoli.

The church of Santa Maria dei Miracoli.

The church of Santa Maria dei Miracoli.

The church of Santa Maria dei Miracoli.

The Church of Santa Maria della Carita.

We found this beautiful church quite close to the Roman remains in Brescia. This church was originally built in the sixteenth century but has been added to and changed over the years. It is very beautiful inside.

The Church of Santa Maria della Carita

The Church of Santa Maria della Carita

The Church of Santa Maria della Carita

The Church of Santa Maria della Carita

The Church of Santa Maria della Carita

The Church of Santa Maria della Carita

Getting to Brescia.

We flew from Dubai to Malpensa Airport near Milan, then travelled into Milan Central Station and caught a train to Brescia. From Milan Central to Brescia takes around an hour. On the flight we passed over some wonderful snow clad mountains. I am not even sure what country we were flying over at the time. It could have been Turkey.

Getting to Brescia

Getting to Brescia

Getting to Brescia

Getting to Brescia

Getting to Brescia

Getting to Brescia

Getting to Brescia

Getting to Brescia

Getting to Brescia

Getting to Brescia

Trains from Brescia.

Brescia has good train connections to many different areas. It is on the main Milan/Verona line. It has direct connections to Lake Garda, Lake Iseo, Venice, Cremona, Bergama. We read a lot of negative comments about Brescia Station before going. We passed through it at least twelve times during our stay without ever feeling threatened, being asked for money or being harassed in any way. It was absolutely fine, just busy.

Trains from Brescia

Trains from Brescia

Trains from Brescia

Trains from Brescia

Brescia Metro.

Brescia has a very useful metro system for getting around on. To get to it, exit the station and go right. It is signposted. To get to the centre, travel one stop to Vittorio Station. This journey is also walkable.

Brescia Metro

Brescia Metro

Lombardy Pass.

We bought a seven day Lombardy Pass for our stay in Italy. It cost 41 Euros each. It includes train travel on regional trenord trains, on the Milan metro, the Brescia metro and on the boats on Lake Iseo. It also includes one return trip on the cable car at Como. Last year it included transport from Malpensa Airport if you travel via Ferma. This year we had to pay to Ferma and the pass included the rest of the journey. The pass is good value, plus it only has to be stamped once and it saves queuing for tickets at stations.

Lombardy Pass

Lombardy Pass

The Novotel Brescia.

We stayed in the Novotel Brescia Due for six nights in December 2014/ January 2015. To get to the hotel we travelled by train to Brescia train station, then exited the station and turned right towards Brescia Metro. We travelled one stop in the direction of Sant Euphemia and got off at Brescia Due. When we exited the metro we turned left and walked along the main road. We crossed one major road. ­I think it was called Malta Street. There are zebra crossings on it and on the next road we turned left and walked to the hotel. The walk took around 10 minutes or less. Check in was efficient and friendly. Our room was wonderfully quiet and we slept really well every night. Everything in the room was very clean. The bed felt hard but was surprisingly comfortable. We had a fridge and tea/coffee making facilities. We had a room safe worked by a credit card, but it did not work at all. We did not complain; we just did not use it. The only thing that annoyed me was that we came back one night to find no cups and glasses in the room and I got angry when I had to wait a long time for them to be replaced. Cups in Italian Novotels always seem to be paper cups and glasses plastic glasses which I also do not like. We had breakfast every morning. The breakfast staff were always pleasant. Breakfast was extremely good. We loved the fresh bread. For hot foods there was Italian ham, scrambled egg and sausage. I normally ate bread, cheese, cold meat, tomatoes and boiled egg. There was also cereal, cakes and fruit. You could order freshly made coffee, but we generally just used the coffee machine. There was also a selection of teas. At first we thought our room was a bit cold, but then we realized that we controlled the heating from inside the room and made it lovely and warm. The hotel has a restaurant and bar but we did not use them. Directly opposite the hotel there is a large and excellent supermarket. This stays open till around 8PM. They have a great selection of breads, cold meat, cheeses and even hot food. Above the supermarket there is a pizza restaurant called Blue Lagoon. You get to it via the lift. We had an excellent pizza here, though they do a whole range of food. We also ate in the Spieler Pizza Restaurant which we passed on the walk from the metro. It had pizzas and lots of other choices plus German draught beers. We had a lovely meal here too. To get to the centre of Brescia by metro we travelled two stops to Vittoria Station which is right at Brescia's historical heart. If you walk in I believe it is around 2KM. The hotel had an attractive outdoor swimming pool but of course it was not open in winter. The hotel had free wifi and the signal strength was good. Checkout was quick and efficient. Brescia is a beautiful place and it is very close to both Lake Iseo and Lake Garda. I would happily stay here again. Unique Qualities: Nice and quiet, handy for the supermarket. Address: Via Pietro Nenni 22, 25124.

Our Room. - Brescia

Our Room. - Brescia

Our Room. - Brescia

Our Room. - Brescia

Posted by irenevt 02:02 Archived in Italy

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Comments

Brescia is an interesting place to spend some days. I have visited it twice.

Ciao!

by Maurizioagos

We've always been satisfied with Novotel although usually reserve it for nights near the airport when we're arriving late or leaving early. I notice the weather kept people from eating outside in the piazze. We've only been to Italy in spring and summer. I never thought of it being cold although friends who live there have sent us snow pictures.

I love all your lions. Amazing how different they can be.

by Beausoleil

Hi Maurizio, yes we found it interesting, too and pleasantly non-touristy.

by irenevt

Hi Sally, Everyone thinks of Italy as hot but we keep going when it's freezing. At least it is nice and quiet then.

by irenevt

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