We had just a few hours to stop in Brescia on our way to Venice, but it was a worthwhile stop. It’s a nice city with some good architecture and several nice squares. Within the roads encircling the main part of the city lies two Piazzas worth visiting, Piazza della Loggia where the Palazzo del Loggia is located as well as the beautiful Torre Dell’Orologio with the astrological clock modeled after the clock in Piazza San Marco in Venice. It also reminds me of the astrological clock in Prague.
The other nice piazza is Piazza Paolo where the Duomo Nuovo and Concattedrale Invernale di Santa Maria Assunta. The Concattedrale dates to the early part of the first millenium and is an old stone church that has been expanded a few times over the last 1,700 years; it’s worth a look inside and has nice mosaics.
Piazza della Vittoria could easily be skipped as it feels more modern and really only has a few shops, not much charm in this old square.
Also within the old city is the Castello de Brescia which overlooks the city as any good castle should. It’s a decent hike to the top but you’re rewarded with great views of the city and mountains beyond. It’s free to walk around and just take in the centuries of history and get some good shots of a nice castle with a great background. On the tourism website of the town, they have downloadable audio guides for you to walk the grounds on your own. Definitely worth a visit. Right by the castle is the Museo di Santa Giulia and nicely preserved Roman ruins, Tempio Capitolino.
Tour the Underground
One of the most interesting things to see and do in Brescia (from what we’ve heard, alas we didn’t have time) is to tour the underground rivers of Brescia. For about $5 they will take you on a walking tour of the streams and rivers that flow beneath the town, and they can do this from the surface. However, if you’re more adventurous, you can take the 2.5 hour tour for about $15 and they take you into the underground tunnels that have some pretty cool architecture below; these aren’t just concrete culverts, but some of the ceilings have been done in brickwork that any person would be happy to have in their home.
Brescia, Italy was just a quick stop over as we were heading to our next stop in Venice on our Milano to Ljubljana route.