Are you planning a trip to the northern part of Italy? If so, Brescia is one of the most highly recommended cities for tourists. It sits on the eastern fringe of the San Salvatore-Santa Giulia complex with a host of interesting places to visit. It's a tourists delight, but if this is your first time there, you could benefit from a few pointers to help you make the most of your trip. There are some hidden attractions that you might not otherwise hear about that we would like to point out. Italy is famous for cities like Rome and Venice, but there are so many other cities worth visiting. Here are the 20 best things to do in Brescia, Italy for first-timers.
20. Visit Piazza del Foro
Piazza del Foro is a small square in one of Brescia's oldest districts, according to Lonely Planet. It's an area where you can still feel the old Roman influence of centuries past. The streets are cobbled. As you walk toward the old center historic district you'll feel like you've gone backward in time. At the square, you'll find ancient buildings along with Roman ruins including the Capitolino temple. There are many Renaissance buildings to view.
19. Tour Tempio Capitolino
While you are visiting the Piazza del Foro take a little extra time to tour the Capitoline Temple, aka Tempio Capitolino. This is an old Roman structure and complex that is one of the most visited sites in the Northern part of Italy. You'll marvel at the ancient site built in 73 AD. It's stood for thousands of years as a reminder of how massive the Roman Empire was at one time. Take photographs of the temple in front of the pillars. Large sections of the temple are still intact and some of the pillars still contain inscriptions written in the Latin language. Also, stop to visit the Museum to learn more facts about Brescia's history.
18. Have lunch at Piazza della Loggia
The Piazza della Loggia is a beautiful Italian square in the traditional sense. It's filled with amazing sights to see including the Comune di Brescia at one end with arched columns, a domed roof, and marble statues, and on the other end, there is a series of gorgeous arches and a walkway. There is also a decorated clock adorned with gold trim and a variety of colored frescos. If you visit the Piazza at night, it's a gorgeous sight as they light up the entire area. You can get a bite to eat at one of the restaurants or cafes there. They offer outdoor seating for guests.
17. See the Museo Mille Miglia
This is a Museum that is a must-see for car lovers. It is named after the famed Mille Miglia race that took place in Italy between 1927 through the late 1950s. It's a trip down memory lane for those who are familiar with the History of Italian racing. The Museum is situated in an old monastery complex in the eastern part of Brescia. Learn all about the Mille Miglia as well as a view of old photographs, memorabilia and see a few of the cars that competed and won in the races.
16. Take pictures at Broletto
Broletto is a building in the Piazza Paola. It is the former old town hall of the city. It was built in the twelfth century. Although the sides and the facade of this structure were finished, you'll see that the bell tower still has exposed stonework. They never got around to finishing it. It's a great historic site to visit and is highly recommended.
15. Walk through the Brescia Museum of Art and History
The Brescia Museum of Art and History, also known as Via dei Musei, the Civici Musei Storia Santa Giulia, is a quaint museum in an ancient monastery. It contains a variety of exhibitions and displays from antiquity. Here you can learn more about the history of Brescia and the Lombardy region . Underneath the monastery, there is a complex of Roman houses with old mosaic floors. There are also a variety of relics made of gold. There are a lot of ancient artifacts, sculptures, and old artwork. It gives visitors some insights into what life was like if you lived in the region in ancient times.
14. Chateau de Brescia
The Chateau de Brescia is in the northeast part of the town center. It's a castle that visitors can see from several miles away. It was built in the 13th century. Visitors are welcome to walk through the castle grounds to view the remains of the turrets and walls along with the lovely park area with trees around the complex. Here you can learn more about the building's history as well as view fascinating armor, weaponry, and other artifacts, according to Bresciamusei.com.
13. Tour Santa Maria dei Miracoli
The Church of Santa Maria dei Miracoli is not a very big building but its exterior is gorgeous to behold. The interior is also quite ornate, and well worth your time to visit, according to Parrocchiasantinazroecelsobrescia. You'll find an array of decorated columns, an ornate front facade, with a lot of stucco sculptures and artwork. The ceiling of the interior of the church is covered with frescos of Christ and other religious figures.
12. See the artwork and architecture at the Duomo Nuovo (New cathedral)
The Duomo Nuovo is the new cathedral that was build immediately next to the old cathedral. It is a historic site that features beautiful decor. Construction of the cathedral began in the year 1604 but was not complete until the year 1825. It features a Late Baroque styling with white stone and marble, columns, and a decorative pediment. Check out the detailed stucco work as well as the sculptures that most cities in Italy are known for.
11. Take a day trip to Monte Isola
Monte Isola is an Island not far from Bresci that is Located in the center of Lake Iseo. It is a small town that features a commune and ample amenities for tourists. The town is home to just 1,700 residents who are fond of riding bikes or walking to get from one place to another, according to Brescia Tourism. No vehicles are allowed on the island. Here you'll find some interesting attractions including quite a few small villages to explore.
10. Spend a day on Lake Iseo
Lake Iseo is one of the most breathtaking areas near Brescia. If you need to take a break from all of the sightseeing and just get back to nature, this is the place to go. It's just 20 minutes outside of the city if you travel by car. Here you'll find a variety of small little villages to visit and find souvenirs, but you can also enjoy the simple pleasures of the lake after exploring the quint little villages.
9. Windsurf on Lake Garda
Visit Lake Garda and book a windsurfing or kitesurfing excursion. It is a beautiful place to visit while in Brescia, and there are so many different activities to do and sites to see that you could spend several days in this location alone. It's not far from the Veneto and Lombardy mountains. The area offers some beautiful views along with the Jamaica beach and plenty of old historic buildings. You can also rent a bike for cycling, or a kayak from one of the local vendors if you like water sports.
8. Take a walk or drive on Monte Maddalena
If you're a fan of the mountains then you won't want to miss out on visiting Monte Maddalena. It's also called the mountain of Brescia. It's found in the eastern part of the region and offers multiple small towns to explore. You can either walk or drive up the mountain. It's ideal for hikers who have a lot of stamina. You'll enjoy the panoramic views on your way up the mountain.
7. Go for a hike at Parco delle Orobie Bergamasche
Parco delle Orobie Bergamasche is in the Lombardy region. It's a national park with a series of high mountain peaks from the Italian Alps. It's a great place to explore if you're a hiker or a nature lover. The mountainous region is home to multiple hiking trails. Be warned that most hiking trails in the area are on the challenging side.
6. Tour Torre della Pallata
The Pallata is a must-see for anyone visiting Brescia. It is in the center of town and towers over the city. The medieval tower was built in the year 1254 as a fortification. It's made of stone and has served as a treasury and clock tower. It's an interesting attraction to see and photograph in Italy.
5. Visit the Museo delle Armi L. Marzoli
The Museum of Weapons is one of the most incredible tours for anyone who is into history. It documents technological and artistic evolutions that took place in Brescia from the fifteenth to the eighteenth century. Here you'll find exhibits and displays of fascinating artifacts and old historical weapons and more. You will receive educational information along with visuals to show how weapons have changed through the centuries.
4. Tour the Museo del Risorgimento
The Museo del Risorgimento is an educational museum that offers a recounting of the history of Brescia and the surrounding region. Here you'll learn about Italy's independence movement that took place in the middle of the 1800s. You'll find wonderful exhibits of artifacts and artwork. The Museum is well worth a walk-through.
3. See the artwork at Pinacoteca Tosio Martinengo
Pinacoteca Tosio Martinengo is a former palazzo that houses a collection of artworks rendered by Renaissance period masters from the surrounding region. Here you will find pieces from Moretto, Tournier, Veneziano, Ferramola, Lotto, Giordano, and more. There is also a room dedicated to the paintings of Cerruti. The palace is filled with large galleries with a beautifully restored setting. You can get up close and personal with the works of Raphael and more. There are sculptures, paintings, glass art, tile ceilings, and many more examples of decorative arts. You'll find this treasure trove for tourists to be one of the best places in Brescia to view the artwork of master artists.
2. Explore the tunnels of the Brescia Underground
There is an underground part of Brescia that is begging to be explored. It's situated on the western side of the city. There are multitudes of underground channels and streams that flow beneath the streets. They were at one time open watercourses for bolstering the industry and economy of the city. They were eventually all bridged and built over and they are largely hidden, but they still exist. You'll find signposts in English and Italian around the city that provide the details of the site. In one location you can go on Underground Tours of the area that last about two hours. We highly recommend the San Faustino tour that takes you to a glass manhole that gives you a great view of the underground. You can book a guided tour of the Brescia Underground, to learn about the fascinating history of this old part of the city that many visitors do not even know exists.
1. Take in an opera
While in Brescia, make sure that you book your reservations in advance with Teatrogrande to spend an evening at the opera. No trip to Italy is complete without experiencing one of these moving events. The Teatro Grande offers a variety of musicals, plays, ballet, and other performances, according to the official website. Browse through the offerings at the Theatre at least two weeks before you embark on your trip to ensure that the venue is open due to Covid-19 restrictions and secure your reservations in advance.
Written by Liz Flynn
Read more posts by Liz Flynn