BRESCIA

The history of the City of Brescia, in present times an industrial and commercial centre of Northern Italy, is witness to some moments of particular architectural and artistic splendour, which can be said for even the most remote times in its history.

For example, in the era of the Roman Empire, the City was a pole of notable importance, testified by an architectonic fervour, which today can be seen in the guarded exhibitions in the new Museum Complex of S. Guilia and the archaeological digs visible in the same complex. In the City, it’s possible to still see the remains of the old Capitolino Temple and that of the Fort of Roman foundations.
Also during the Medieval era Brescia knew a moment of particular reliefs: first of all under the Longobard Duchy during the 8th Century and then as a Free Council and member of the League of Historical Lombard during the 12th and 13th Centuries. Significant and unusual monuments belong to this period, like the Old Cathedral, also called Rotonda, the church of S. Salvatore, the “Broletto” and S. Francesco.
From 1426 to the end of 1797, Brescia passed under the dominion of The Republic of Venice and this stimulated a new architectural season – the Loggia, S. Maria dei Miracoli – and most of all, the development of an important local school of art, which included artists like Romanino, Moretto and Savoldo, all masters of a style which associated the realism of characters and the faces of an extremely evocative use of colour.

The urbanistic structure of the City of Brescia, still shows its Roman origins today, through its regular installation of “Castrum,” and its strangely present, two main squares, as well as two adjoining and connected centres: Piazza della Vittoria – which represents the modern centre of the City, projected in the rationalistic/classicheggiante style and scrupulously by Marcello Piacentini in 1932 – and Piazza della Loggia.

Piazza della Loggia is the Renaissance heart of Brescia; it’s surrounded by buildings with Renaissance characteristics, like the Torre dell’Orologio (Clock Tower), with its two Moors which bring to mind that of S.Marks Square in Venice, the Doors, the Palace of Monte di Pietà, which is notably dominated by the Loggia, which gives its name to the square itself. The Loggia dates back to a period which goes from 1492 to 1574 and is in a Veneto-Lombard style. It shows a ground floor, partly covered by arches from the classicheggiante style and a first floor in the Palladian style. In the square of the Loggia, there’s also a reference to more recent Italian history: on the East side a commemorative stele (slab of stone or wood painted or inscribed with religious texts) designed by the architect Carlo Scarpa, in honour of the victims of the tragic terrorist attack of 28th May 1974.

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