There are so many beautiful destinations in Italy to explore and Brescia is definitely one of them. Most travelers have never heard of Brescia because it is one of Italy’s best cities off the beaten path. Brescia is the most precious city during the day and night which is one reason we fell in love with the city. Moreover, there are so many incredible things to do in Brescia, such as visiting some Roman ruins, a gorgeous basilica, a peaceful piazza and a castle overseeing the city. It is also home to Italy’s leading culinary school, Cast Alimenti. With that being said, one of the best things to do in Brescia is indulging in their outstanding food. Brescia happens to have the best Italian pasticerria (pastry shop) with the country’s leading master pastry chef, Iginio Massari.
Brescia is in the Lombardy region and is situated at the foot of the Alps. So in addition to the many things to do in Brescia, you can also enjoy the city’s majestic scenery. Brescia is home to beautiful mountains surrounding the city with several lakes such as Lake Idro, Lake Iseo and Lake Garda all just a short drive away. Speaking of a short drive away, Brescia is also less than 90 minutes away from Milan. So if you have more than one day in Milan, a day trip to Brescia is more than doable. As you can see, it is a city more than worthwhile to add to your list of places to visit when you are planning your trip to Italy.
Here are the best things to do in Brescia, Italy that you cannot miss in this charming city.
The Castle of Brescia
Visiting the Castle of Brescia is by far one of the best things to do in Brescia, Italy. It also happens to be our favorite place in the entire city. This medieval castle sits on the summit of Cidneo Hill, in Brescia and can be seen from almost anywhere in the city. The castle overlooks the city from above, hence why it is called the “Falcon of Italy”. It is one of the largest fortified structures in Italy with 75,000 square metres enclosed within its surrounding walls. The castle has an amazing architecture that children only read about in fairytale books. To be honest, we are surprised it is not a kingdom in the famous HBO series, Game of Thrones.
Within the walls of the castle guests can find a tower, drawbridge, tunnels and two museums. The Luigi Marzoli Arms Museum can be found in The Visconti Keep and boasts 15th and 16th century arms and armor, as well as, 17th and 18th century guns. The second museum is The Museum of the Risorgimento, which can be found inside the Grande Miglio. This museum has historical documents, pictures, period prints, and relics on display that date back from the end of the 18th century to the late 19th century.
We thoroughly enjoyed exploring the grounds of the castle on our own. We felt like ants when we walked around the walls and towers because of their magnitude. It was exhilarating to walk and overlook the walls that has kept enemies at bay. You could feel the history and significance this castle played in keeping the city safe for more than four centuries.
We can understand why, the fortification of this castle is outstanding and worth protecting when the views from the top are magnificent. Watching the sunset from the castle can be quite romantic in the gardens with your favorite king or queen.
For a detailed map of the Castle’s ground click here.
The Castle of Brescia
Via del Castello, 9, 25121 Brescia BS, Italy
To walk the grounds is free, but to enter the museums is € 4,00 total
Piazza della Loggia
This is the most beautiful piazza in Brescia. It is pretty during the day, but absolutely stunning at night. The two main focal points of the piazza is the Palace of Loggia, and an elegant 16th century mechanical Clock Tower.
The Capitolium and Roman Forum
A Capitolium is a Roman temple with three cells dedicated to the gods Jupiter, Minerva, and Juno, it is also referred to as the “Capitoline Triad”. This temple was built in 64 A.D. by Vespasian in the heart of ancient Roman Brixia (Brescia). It is now listed as an UNESCO World Heritage Site. In addition to the temple, there is a theater and the remains of the city forum. Together they comprise the most important ruins and remains from the Roman Era in the Lombardy region of Italy. Seeing the ruins felt like we were back in Rome, it is definitely worth a visit.
The New and Old Cathedral
The New and Old Cathedral are situated adjacent from one another in the Piazza Paolo VI. Though they contrast each other in structure and architecture, they are both stunning cathedrals. The Piazza Paolo VI has a few restaurants with seating in the piazza, giving guests the ultimate view of these angelic cathedrals.
The Old Cathedral was built during the 11th century and dedicated to Santa Maria Maggiore. It is often called the Rotonda due to its unique shape.
The New Cathedral, or Duomo Nuovo, is the largest Roman Catholic church in Brescia, Italy and was built between 1604 and 1825. It is a sight not to be missed, which is hard not to because you can almost always see the beautiful green duomo from anywhere in the city.
Pasticceria Veneto – Iginio Massari
This was our other favorite thing to do in Brescia, eating delicious desserts from Italy’s best pastry chef, Iginio Massari. The pastry shop itself is gorgeous – when you step inside you feel like you walked into a luxurious mansion’s foyer. There is a crystal chandelier hanging from the ceiling, a glass case full of luscious chocolates, a display of the most beautiful cakes and pastries and a shrine of some of Chef Iginio’s awards.
We were extremely lucky to have the hook up here – our family host, Marco is close friends with Chef Iginio and set up a meeting for us to have the opportunity to meet him. Chef Iginio is a very kind man, he took the time out of his day to talk with us through Google translate. He also gave us a signed copy of one of his books and didn’t let us pay for a single pastry!
The pastries – the best Italian pastries we have ever had! Chef Ignio’s desserts are flawless – perfect layers in his cakes, every dessert was packed with flavor, amazing contrast of textures and more!
Via Salvo D’ Acquisto, 8
25128 Brescia (Bs) Italy
Closed on Mondays
Tu – Sat: 7:45am – 8pm
Sun: 7:45am – 1pm and 3pm – 7:30pm
As you can see, Brescia is a hidden gem of Italy! There are so many amazing things to do in Brescia – Roman ruins, a castle, amazing pastries, beautiful cathedrals… what more could you need?!?!?!
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Tuesday 12th of September 2017
When I visited the north of Italy I went from Bergamo to Verona without stopping in Brescia, and I kinda regret it now after reading your post! Brescia looks like a great place to visit with plenty of tourist attractions, hopefully I can make it there one day!
Sunday 17th of September 2017
Aww bummer! We went to Verona, but not Bergamo. We hope you make it to Brescia one day too and us Bergamo! :)
Sunday 10th of September 2017
Looks like a beautiful city! I've only been to the major cities in Italy but haven't explored smaller cities/towns like this. Definitely should do it next year. And those pastries are TO DIE FOR!!
Saturday 16th of September 2017
We really wanted to immerse ourselves in the Italian culture, which gave us the opportunity to live in unknown cities like Brescia, but still venture out to the popular cities. If you are in the Lombardy region of Italy next year do make your way to Brescia and Lake Garda if you haven't already visited it!
Saturday 9th of September 2017
I have never heard of Brescia and wonder how! The city has so much to explore and yet not often head among the regular tourists. The castle looks amazing with its tunnels and towers. The draw bridges across many castles are being replaced by permanent structures and I was glad when I read that the castle has a draw bridge. Your pics do complete justice to the beautiful town.
Saturday 16th of September 2017
Aww thank you so much for your beautiful comment. We had never heard of Brescia either, but are so happy we were able to live there for two weeks to explore and familiarize ourselves with the city. It gets easily missed in the Lombardy region because of Milan and Lake Como.