Top Historic Sights in Brescia, Italy

Explore the historic highlights of Brescia

Sant'Agata Church

A church at the site of Sant"Agata was present by the 8th century, when the neighborhood was located outside the city walls, but after the 1184 fire destroyed the ancient church, it was reconstructed in the 15th-century in Gothic style. Destruction by fire of this church was somewhat paradoxical, since Saint Agatha was the saint invoked for protection against fires. Further modifications were completed along the cent ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Brescia, Italy

Piazza della Loggia

Piazza della Loggia is fine example of Renaissance piazza. The construction of eponymous Palazzo della Loggia (current Town Hall) began in 1492 under the direction of Filippo de" Grassi and completed only in the 16th century by Sansovino and Palladio. Vanvitelli designed the upper room of the palace (1769). On the south side of the square are two 15th–16th century Monti di Pietà (Christian lending h ...
Founded: 1492 | Location: Brescia, Italy

Broletto Palace

The Broletto or Broletto Palace of Brescia has for centuries housed the civic government offices of the city. Initial construction of the Broletto took place during 1187—1230, although the structure has undergone many modifications over the centuries, specially after the Sack of Brescia in 1512 during the War of the League of Cambrai. The long stone facade on the south fronts Via Cardinale Querini and aligns pa ...
Founded: 1187 | Location: Brescia, Italy

Brescia New Cathedral

Construction of the Brescia New Cathedral, Duomo Nuovo, was begun in 1604 at the site where the paleo-Christian 5th-6th century basilica of San Pietro de Dom was located. The original commission was given to Andrea Palladio, but the commission was subsequently granted to the architect Giovanni Battista Lantana. He was aided by Pietro Maria Bagnadore. Work was interrupted during a season of plague around 1630. Work s ...
Founded: 1604 | Location: Brescia, Italy

Brescia Old Cathedral

The Duomo Vecchio or Old Cathedral (also called La Rotonda because of its round layout) is a rustic circular Romanesque co-cathedral standing next to the Duomo Nuovo (New Cathedral) of Brescia. It is one of the most important examples of Romanesque round church in Italy. While some claims for an earlier construction exist, the earliest documents state the cathedral was built in the 11th century on the site of ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Brescia, Italy

San Giorgio Church

San Giorgio Church at the site is documented since 775. In 1218, Franciscan friars erected a nearby monastery and were in possession of the church. But by 1254, they had moved to the convent and church of San Francesco. By 1429, this parish church was in a dilapidated state, and a major restoration, including present facade occurred in 1639. An inventory of works in 1826 noted to right of nave an oil painting depicting a ...
Founded: 8th century AD | Location: Brescia, Italy

Brescia Castle

Brescia Castle on the rocky hill is the ancient part of Brixia, Roman city established in the 1st century BCE. The castle is called the 'Falcon of Italy' because of its position on the summit of the hill, where it overlooks the city from above. It is one of the largest fortified complexes in Italy with 75,000 square metres enclosed within its surrounding walls. The old Venetian-Visconti stronghold dominates the city and ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Brescia, Italy

Brescia Roman Theatre

The Roman amphitheatre in Brescia is located immediately at east of the Capitolium. It has been built in the Flavian era and altered in the 3rd century. With its 86 meters diameter, is one of the largest Roman theatres in northern Italy and originally it housed around 15,000 spectators. In the 5th century, an earthquake has heavily damaged the building. In addition, in later centuries, its remains were incorporated ...
Founded: 69-96 AD | Location: Brescia, Italy

San Salvatore Monastery

San Salvatore (or Santa Giulia) is a former monastery in Brescia, now turned into a museum. The monastic complex is famous for the diversity of its architecture which include Roman remains and significant pre-Romanesque, Romanesque and Renaissance buildings. In 2011, it became a UNESCO World Heritage Site as part of a group of seven inscribed as Longobards in Italy, Places of Power (568-774 A.D.). The monastery i ...
Founded: 753 AD | Location: Brescia, Italy

Capitolium of Brixia

The Capitolium of Brixia was the main temple in the center of the Roman town of Brixia (Brescia). It is represented at present by fragmentary ruins, but is part of an archeological site, including a Roman amphitheatre and museum in central Brescia. The temple was built in 73 AD during the rule of emperor Vespasian. The prominent elevated location and the three identifiable cellae, each with their own polychrome marbl ...
Founded: 73 AD | Location: Brescia, Italy

San Marco Evangelista Church

San Marco Evangelista is a Romanesque-style church located at the end of via Laura Cereto in central Brescia. This small church was erected at the end of the 13th century as a family chapel for the Avogadro family, who owned the nearby Palazzo Avogadro. The church was damaged by a bombing raid during World War II. A frieze of earthenware arches intertwining under the cornice that goes all round the building. On the faça ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Brescia, Italy

Santi Cosma e Damiano Church

Santi Cosma e Damiano was originally a Roman Catholic church affiliated with an Augustinian convent, it is now Greek Orthodox church. Of the 12th-century Romanesque construction, only the bell-tower remains; the present facade and interiors mainly date to a reconstruction in the 18th century. The main altar (18th century) in polychrome marble has statues by Antonio Callegari and altarpiece by Giambettino Cignaroli  ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Brescia, Italy

Franciscan Monastery

The Franciscan order arrived in Brescia around 1220, after a visit to the city by the founder himself. Construction of the convent structures began around 1254 and continued for over a century. The cloister of the adjacent Convent, designed by Guglielmo da Frisone, was completed in 1394. In the 14th century, it is likely the entire walls and ceilings were frescoed, but the creation of chapels and other restorations co ...
Founded: 1254 | Location: Brescia, Italy

Santa Maria dei Miracoli

Following a plague that afflicted Brescia between 1480 and 1484, there were rumours that a votive fresco depicting the Madonna and Child in front of a house in the San Nazario quarter had developed miraculous powers. On the wave of popular religious fervour, the Catholic church began negotiations in 1486 for the purchase of the house. In 1488, the construction of the Santa Maria dei Miracoli began. The interior, but not ...
Founded: 1488 | Location: Brescia, Italy

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Abbey of Saint-Étienne

The Abbey of Saint-Etienne, also known as Abbaye aux Hommes ('Men"s Abbey'), is a former monastery dedicated to Saint Stephen (Saint Étienne). It is considered, along with the neighbouring Abbaye aux Dames ('Ladies" Abbey'), to be one of the most notable Romanesque buildings in Normandy. Like all the major abbeys in Normandy, it was Benedictine.

Lanfranc, before being an Archbishop of Canterbury, was abbot of Saint-Etienne. Built in Caen stone during the 11th century, the two semi-completed churches stood for many decades in competition. An important feature added to both churches in about 1120 was the ribbed vault, used for the first time in France. The two abbey churches are considered forerunners of the Gothic architecture. The original Romanesque apse was replaced in 1166 by an early Gothic chevet, complete with rosette windows and flying buttresses. Nine towers and spires were added in the 13th century. The interior vaulting shows a similar progression, beginning with early sexpartite vaulting (using circular ribs) in the nave and progressing to quadipartite vaults (using pointed ribs) in the sanctuary.

The two monasteries were finally donated by William the Conqueror and his wife, Matilda of Flanders, as penalty for their marriage against the Pope"s ruling. William was buried here; Matilda was buried in the Abbaye aux Dames. Unfortunately William"s original tombstone of black marble, the same kind as Matilda"s in the Abbaye aux Dames, was destroyed by the Calvinist iconoclasts in the 16th century and his bones scattered.

As a consequence of the Wars of Religion, the high lantern tower in the middle of the church collapsed and was never rebuilt. The Benedictine abbey was suppressed during the French Revolution and the abbey church became a parish church. From 1804 to 1961, the abbey buildings accommodated a prestigious high school, the Lycée Malherbe. During the Normandy Landings in 1944, inhabitants of Caen found refuge in the church; on the rooftop there was a red cross, made with blood on a sheet, to show that it was a hospital (to avoid bombings).