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Brescia is an utter delight. Known as a city for culture lovers because of its architecture, museums and exhibitions, it’s perfect for strolling. Small, with much of the historic centre pedestrianized, it is full of ancient buildings and piazzas, and attractive shops. Unlike in many other cities, the modern business development has been kept out of the city’s heart, giving the historic centre a great visual appeal. Founded by the Gauls, the city became part of the Roman Empire in the 2nd century BC. It enjoyed great prosperity in the Middle Ages, and in 1426 it was conquered by the Venetian Republic, who governed for nearly 400 years. Throughout the city centre there are superb examples of Brescia’s heritage: stunning Roman remains, Medieval churches and streets, and beautifully-decorated Renaissance and Baroque palaces. As a university town, Brescia has a lively atmosphere, particularly in the Medieval area, north of the historic centre: here you will find a plethora of tiny cafés, restaurants, and small international stores, many serving Brescia’s immigrant community.
The Brescia area is particularly well known for its lake landscapes - Lake Garda and Lake Iseo are reachable in less than one hour, and it's recommended to visit them for their atmospheric, breathtaking natural beauty. Here, with old castles emerging from water and greenery, you're likely to see unforgettable views. The center of Brescia also boasts Roman remains, Medieval and Baroque churches, and extensive collections of artworks, preserving the memory of Italy's diverse history and architecture. Moreover, Brescia is a popular destination for children and fun-lovers, near to the huge Gardaland amusement park, and to a refreshing water park for the summer.
Brescian cuisine is well-known for its authenticity and its richness. Thanks to the city's history and the natural diversity of the surrounding area – rivers, lakes, plains, and mountains – the range of different local produce is huge: meat, fish, cheese, olive oil and of course wines from the famous Franciacorta region. Many of the popular dishes on offer have been eaten since the 15th century, such as grilled meats, rich meat stews, risotto, and polenta. The area north of the historic centre has a number of very cheap trattorie, popular with students and workers.
Italian cuisine is famous for its delicious ice creams and coffee, and Brescia has many options for you to enjoy an espresso in the sun or a breakfast cappuccino. Fun fact: Italians usually don't drink cappuccino after 12pm, and many chefs will be emotionally challenged if you dare ordering one while eating your main courses at lunch or dinner. Try out different coffee drinks and find your favourite one.
Thanks to its industrial wealth, Brescia is one of Italy’s most night-active cities, but you'll have to wait for the weekend to see it thrive. You can find a variety of night clubs and bars all around town so don't be shy, visit as many as you can!
Despite its small size, the city of Brescia has much to offer to shopping enthusiasts. A number of famous fashion designers have been based here, and left a mark on the city. At many large squares, such as Corso Palestro, Corso Zanardelli and Piazza della Loggia, you will find the most famous brands in both clothing and jewellery. Other important shopping streets located in the city centre of Brescia are Via Gramsci, Corso Magenta, Via Mazzini, Via X Giornate. If you are interested in antiques, we recommend the areas around Via Trieste, Via Tosio, Via dei Musei and Via Cattaneo, which are popular for their dedicated shops and art galleries. You will also find a large number of gift shops and interior shops in Brescia. If you prefer shopping in markets, the biggest one is open until 8pm. On the second weekend of every month, you will find an antique market at Piazza della Vittoria.
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