The Best Things to See in Brescia, Italy
Brescia is not just another city in Italy, but a place we call home. We stayed in Brescia, Italy for 16 days and they were some of our best days in Europe. We did not know what we were expecting to find when we chose Brescia as our home, so we were more than surprised to find that Brescia is a beautiful part of Italy! The city is in the Lombardy region and is situated at the foot of the Alps, making it home to beautiful mountains surrounding the city with several lakes just a short drive away. Our family host, the Martinelli’s, lived in the countryside of Brescia, which happened to be up on a mountain in a town called Caino. We took many drives with them in and out of Brescia and were always driving through mountainous landscapes. To read about this experience click here.
Besides the jaw-dropping landscape, Brescia also has a beautiful city full of life and architecture. We spent one full day in the heart of the city and fell even more in love with Brescia. It is a precious city during the day and night with roman ruins, a gorgeous basilica, a peaceful piazza and a castle overseeing the city. It is also home to Italy’s leading culinary school, Cast Alimenti, where Marco (our host) worked. With that being said, the food in Brescia is outstanding and has the best Italian pasticerria (pastry shop) with the country’s leading master pastry chef, Iginio Massari.
Here are a few sights you cannot miss if you find yourself in this charming city.
The Castle of Brescia
You cannot miss this medieval castle as it sits on the summit of Cidneo Hill, in Brescia. The castle overlooks the city from above, hence why it is called the “Falcon of Italy”. It is one of the largest fortified structures in Italy with 75,000 square metres enclosed within its surrounding walls. The castle has amazing architecture that children only read about in fairytale books. To be honest, I am surprised it is not a kingdom in the famous HBO series, Game of Thrones.
Within the walls of the castle guests can find a tower, drawbridge, tunnels and two museums. The Luigi Marzoli Arms Museum can be found in The Visconti Keep and boasts 15th and 16th century arms and armor, as well as, 17th and 18th century guns. The second museum is The Museum of the Risorgimento, which can be found inside the Grande Miglio. This museum has historical documents, pictures, period prints, and relics on display that date back from the end of the 18th century to the late 19th century.
We thoroughly enjoyed exploring the grounds of the castle on our own. We felt like ants when we walked around the walls and towers because of their magnitude. It was exhilarating to walk and overlook the walls that has kept enemies at bay. You could feel the history and significance this castle played in keeping the city safe for more than four centuries.
We can understand why, the fortification of this castle is outstanding and worth protecting when the views from the top are magnificent. Watching the sunset from the castle can be quite romantic in the gardens with your favorite king or queen.
For a detailed map of the Castle’s ground click here.
The Castle of Brescia
Via del Castello, 9, 25121 Brescia BS, Italy
To walk the grounds is free, but to enter the museums is € 4,00 total
Piazza della Loggia
This is the most beautiful piazza in Brescia. It is pretty during the day, but absolutely stunning at night. The two main focal points of the piazza is the Palace of Loggia, and an elegant 16th century mechanical Clock Tower.
The Capitolium and Roman Forum
A Capitolium is a Roman temple with three cells dedicated to the gods Jupiter, Minerva, and Juno, it is also referred to as the “Capitoline Triad”. This temple was built in 64 A.D. by Vespasian in the heart of ancient Roman Brixia (Brescia). It is now listed as an UNESCO World Heritage Site. In addition to the temple, there is a theater and the remains of the city forum. Together they comprise the most important ruins and remains from the Roman Era in the Lombardy region of Italy. Seeing the ruins felt like we were back in Rome, it is definitely worth a visit.
The New and Old Cathedral
The New and Old Cathedral are situated adjacent from one another in the Piazza Paolo VI. Though they contrast each other in structure and architecture, they are both stunning cathedrals. The Piazza Paolo VI has a few restaurants with seating in the piazza, giving guests the ultimate view of these angelic cathedrals.
The Old Cathedral was built during the 11th century and dedicated to Santa Maria Maggiore. It is often called the Rotonda due to its unique shape.
The New Cathedral, or Duomo Nuovo, is the largest Roman Catholic church in Brescia, Italy and was built between 1604 and 1825. It is a sight not to be missed, which is hard not to because you can almost always see the beautiful green duomo from anywhere in the city.
Pasticceria Veneto – Iginio Massari
The reason why we went to Italy, to find the best Italian pastry chefs and desserts! There is no better Italian pastry chef than Iginio Massari. (I actually tried to work here, but unfortunately the labor laws are strict in Italy). The pastry shop itself is gorgeous – when you step inside you feel like you walked into a luxurious mansion’s foyer. There is a crystal chandelier hanging from the ceiling, a glass case full of luscious chocolates, a display of the most beautiful cakes and pastries and a shrine of some of Chef Iginio’s awards.
We were extremely lucky to have the hook up here – Marco is close friends with Chef Iginio and set up a meeting for me to have the opportunity to meet him. Chef Iginio is a very kind man, he took the time out of his day to talk with a young aspiring American pastry girl as she, (me), asked him a billion questions through Google translate. He also gave me a signed copy of one of his books and didn’t have us pay for a single pastry!
The pastries – the best Italian pastries I have ever had! I discovered so many new desserts that I hope to one day bring to America. His desserts are flawless – perfect layers in his cakes, every dessert was packed with flavor, amazing contrast of textures and more!
Via Salvo D’ Acquisto, 8
25128 Brescia (Bs) Italy
Closed on Mondays
Tu – Sat: 7:45am – 8pm
Sun: 7:45am – 1pm and 3pm – 7:30pm
As you can see, Brescia is a hidden gem of Italy! Roman ruins, a castle, amazing pastries, beautiful cathedrals – what more could you need?!?!?!