During my last holiday in Italy, I couldn’t miss visiting my town, Brescia. When I show Brescia through my Instagram Stories, I received a lot of messages of people surprised by the beauty of the city!
Well, Brescia is not a very famous tourist destination neither among Italians, but actually is an amazing city rich in things to see and in a great from where you can easily discover the beauty of Northern Italy. Between Milan and Venice, really close to Verona, the city of Romeo and Juliet, and the amazing Garda Lake, Brescia is well connected by train with many other Italian destinations, making it the perfect gateway for a day trip from elsewhere in Italy.
Brescia has a long history, dated back to the Roman Empire, and it gain its nickname “lioness of Italy” for the brave typical of the city, standing against enemies and be always strong and proud. In the years, Brescia was under the reign of Milan and Venice, before being attached by Austrian from whom it stands during the famous “X days of Brescia”.
Visit Brescia in a day – the perfect itinerary
To visit Brescia, one day may be enough and you can easily fit it in an itinerary in Northern Italy.
The historical city center has car traffic limit, which makes it a very pleasant city to visit calmly, stopping to observe its squares, its churches, its alleys and then sit down at a bar for an aperitif strictly with pirlo, the local drink for aperitivo.
To guide you in visit Brescia, I have created a circular itinerary, which will allow you to discover the city center and visit all the major points of interest: the ones highlighted in blue on the map. The pink stars instead indicate “photographic spots“, I suggest you look around when you are in these areas, because you may find particular and fascinating details!
Visiting Brescia means taking a journey through the various historical ages, from the ancient Romans to the Twenties.
I promise you that after visit Brescia in one day, you will be fascinated by my city and you will surely want to know more!
The itinerary starts and ends near the Metro station “Vittoria”, in Piazza Vittoria.
This large rectangular square from the 1920s is the symbol of the Fascist era, with its bas-reliefs that tell the story of “Brescia the strong, Brescia the Lioness of Italy”, in a typical architecture of those years.
It is in this square that the major events take place, especially the political and commemorative ones, and it is the square where start the famous Mille Miglia, the most beautiful race in Italy!
The visit of Brescia continues in the adjacent Piazza Loggia, sadly known in the news for the terrorist attack (by extreme right side) of 1974.
This beautiful square from the 1400s is in typical Venetian style, and here the Republic of Venice built the Loggia, the Palace where there was the government of the city, and is still City Hall today.
In this square, the references to Venice and to the Venetian dominion, well-liked by the people of the time, are clearly visible, and it is impossible not to notice the splendid astronomical clock placed on the opposite side of the square.
This particular clock strikes 24 hours, according to the Ptolemaic system, with the earth in the center and the hand of the sun rotating around the earth. The various phases of the moon and the zodiac signs are also indicated. The splendid colors then make this watch one of the most photographed details in Brescia!
Piazza Duomo (Piazza Paolo V)
A walk under the arcades, to experience even a little what is the Brescia of shopping, up to the small side street of via Trieste (after the Giunti bookshop). Turn, take a few more steps and get ready to be struck by the beauty of Piazza Paolo VI, generally known as Piazza Duomo. Here there are the two Domes of Brescia: the Old Cathedral, from the medieval period in Romanesque style, also called the Winter Cathedral and the New Cathedral, from 1600, called the Summer Cathedral. Both can be visited for free, masses are held, so be careful not to disturb any celebrations in progress during your visit. But if from the outside it is the blue dome of the New Cathedral that absolutely steals the show, it is the interiors of the Old Cathedral that give more emotions (or at least from my point of view): perfectly circular, in masonry, with high windows that let in beams of light that create incredible plays of color with the sober chandeliers… Among the things to see in Brescia, this square is one of my favorites, dedicate it all the time you want, and maybe stop there in one of the several cafè with outdoor tables.
Piazzetta Tito Speri
If you know about the X Days of Brescia, this small square full of greenery is dedicated to Tito Speri, a heroic patriot from Brescia who helped organize the city’s uprising against the Austrians.
A quiet square, but which in the past was the scene of this clash, together with Via della Barricata which leads up to the Castle from here.
Piazzetta Tito Speri is located just north of Piazza Duomo, but if you want to see a very particular corner of the city, take the small road that climbs diagonally from the Dispensa del Gusto and looking in a corner you will notice a sort of Trullo! It is the small church of San Faustino in rest, small, circular and with a very particular roof.
Castle of Brescia
Behind the statue of Tito Speri starts a pedestrian path, a series of steps leading to the Castle.
Via della Barricata is one of my favorite spots in Brescia, with a magical atmosphere and which offers wonderful photos, always different every time … You can then go up to the Castle along the main road or walk in the green along the paths.
In my opinion, the visit of the castle takes about a couple of hours. Here you will find the Museum of Arms and the Museum of the Risorgimento (currently closed to the public), but even if you do not visit them I recommend you take a nice walk following the various paths of the Castle, to admire the city from above and see every corner of this splendid well-preserved fortress.
Roman Brixia and Capitolium
Let’s continue the day tour of Brescia by descending from the Castle, always passing through parks and alleys (which you can’t get lost in Brescia anyway.. you will always find some parallel street and maybe you will also discover pretty corners to photograph .. well, you know what I’m telling you? Get lost on purpose in this area of the city!) You will come to cross Via Musei, walk it eastwards and you will arrive at the heart of the Roman Brixia of 49 BC, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
You will see the Capitolium, which stands out majestically, with the white parts in original Botticino marble, while the brick part is rebuilt. It is also possible to visit a completely original part, which is located underground, because originally the ground was lower than today, as can also be seen on the right side of the square, where there are the remains of a sort of Roman ancestor of the fast-food!
Since 2020 the Winged Victory has also been moved here, this being the place where it was found.
You can also visit the remains of the Roman Theater, which could hold up to 15,000 spectators.
I would say that this stage is absolutely to be put at the top of the list of what to see in Brescia, the Capitolium can be considered, together with the two domes, the symbol of the city!
Santa Giulia Museum
Continuing on via dei Musei, you arrive at the most important museum in the city, the Museum of Santa Giulia.
This museum is located inside the Longobard-era Monastery of Santa Giulia, which also includes the Church of Santa Maria in Solario, where legends say that Ermengarde, the daughter of the Lombard King Desiderio, was imprisoned and a disowned wife of Charlemagne.
In addition to the monastic rooms, in the complex you can also admire the remains of Domus Romane and excellently preserved floors.
In fact, the tour of the most important things to see in Brescia is over, but if you still have some time, I recommend that you go down to Piazzale Arnaldo, passing Piazza Tebaldo Brusato and have an aperitivo here. Piazzale Arnaldo is one of the favorite areas of Brescia for an evening aperitif, order a pirlo and watch the square fill up with young people, while the sun slowly slips over the city ….
Then return to Piazza Vittoria, but passing through Corso Magenta, passing in front of the Conservatory and continue straight on Corso Zanardelli, where the Teatro Grande is located. Maybe take the opportunity for a nice evening at the theater right?
Where to sleep to visit Brescia
Honestly, I’ve never needed to sleep in the city so I don’t have direct hotel experience.
However, I would advise you to find accommodation in the city center, so you can easily go out on foot, or near the metro stations. Of course, the tram and bus network is also well developed, but moving by metro to reach the center is certainly faster.
By clicking here you can find different options, which is the center of Brescia you can see from my map 🙂
How to get there
Brescia is also well connected by public transport.
By train, both Trenitalia and Italo stop at Brescia Station, and Flixbus connects it to many other cities.
From the station, you can take the metro (ticket zone 1 € 1.40) and in one stop you reach Piazza Vittoria.
If you arrive by car Brescia is located on the A4 Torino-Triste highway, I recommend that you exit at Brescia Ovest if you are coming from Milan, while Brescia Centro if you are coming from Venice.
Most of the parking lots are paid, and the few free ones are hardly free. My advice is to drive to the Prealpino metro stop, leave your car in the parking lot (free for now) and reach the center by metro.
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