Brescia, dubbed the Lioness of Italy, boasts a wealth of history and art that stretches from the pre-Roman Camuni to the present day.
The province has inherited an age-old tradition of craftsmanship, industry and trade that has made it one of the richest in Italy, yet it also offers visitors numerous interesting events, including exhibitions, concerts and trade fairs, and more further afield a highly varied landscape, geological rarities, nature reserves, horse-riding routes and cycle tracks.
Each era in history has regaled Brescia with works of art that have enabled it to build up an invaluable patrimony. The Forum, Capitoline Temple and Amphitheatre are gifts from Roman times; the Santa Giulia Monastery (now the City Museum) and the Old Cathedral (the Rotonda) have been passed down from the Middle Ages to Gothic times.
Pearls of the Renaissance are Piazza Loggia, one of the mainland’s loveliest “Venetian” squares, the clock tower and Palazzo Martinengo, now the Tosio Martinengo art gallery.
The Great Theatre and the New Cathedral date back to the turn of the 18th century; Piazza Vittoria, Art-Nouveau buildings and the Grain Market, which flanks Piazza Arnaldo, the hub of Brescian nightlife, belong to the period stretching from Neoclassicism to the 20th century.
The Province of Brescia, the second largest and one of the wealthiest in Italy, extends from the peaks of the Adamello to the hills that slope down to the plain and surround two of the country's largest stretches of water, Lake Garda (or Benaco) and Lake Iseo (Sebino).
The area around Brescia abounds in lakes, valleys, mountains and vineyards, with interesting itineraries such as the Iron Road, the Marble Road and the Romanino Road. There are also itineraries for those who enjoy good food and wine, such as various wine roads, not to mention shopping and sporting activities, all contributing to the variety of attractions in this lovely corner of Lombardy.
The landscape at the northern end of the province is coloured by intense greens of the mountains in Val Camonica, where the pre-historic Camuni made their world-famous rock engravings, the best known of which – the camonic rose - has been adopted by the entire Lombardy region as its symbol.
For those who enjoy a sense of good taste, the roads of Franciacorta are unrivalled; the air is as fresh and sparkling as the dancing bubbles of famous local wines sipped as you visit a winery or stroll in the hills in search of villas and gardens.
The pride and joy of this area, however, is the immense variety of attractions, from winter sports in one of the many renowned ski resorts to a revealing cultural experience to relaxing in total wellbeing.
Brescia lives in a dimension in limbo between past and present, one capable of entrancing even demanding visitors.
Photos © Brescia in Vetrina