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 a prior church with a basilica layout. It has a circular shape that became rare after the Council of Trent.
In the 19th century, many additions to the original medieval building were removed. The entrance portal is one later addition remaining. It contains the medieval Crypt of San Filastrio, in honor of the beatified Brescian bishop.
Near the entrance, rests the sarcophagus of Bishop Berardo Maggi (1308) made of red marble. The Duomo Vecchio contains l'Assunta(1526) and St. Luke, St. Mark and the sleeping Elijah(1533 - 34) by Moretto da Brescia. It contains a Gathering Manna by Gerolamo Romanino and a Translation of the Bodies of Saints by Francesco Maffei.
Built around AD 90 to entertain the legionaries stationed at the fort of Caerleon (Isca), the impressive amphitheatre was the Roman equivalent of today’s multiplex cinema. Wooden benches provided seating for up to 6,000 spectators, who would gather to watch bloodthirsty displays featuring gladiatorial combat and exotic wild animals.
Long after the Romans left, the amphitheatre took on a new life in Arthurian legend. Geoffrey of Monmouth, the somewhat imaginative 12th-century scholar, wrote in his History of the Kings of Britain that Arthur was crowned in Caerleon and that the ruined amphitheatre was actually the remains of King Arthur’s Round Table.
Today it is the most complete Roman amphitheatre in Britain.