Things to do in Brescia

Things to do in  Brescia

Italy in a nutshell

Brescia is capital of its eponymous province, but there is nothing provincial about this attractive city with ancient Roman roots. Its old town (a popular day trip from Milan) is home to cultural gems like the Brixia Archaeological Park, Santa Giulia Monastery, and twin cathedrals overlooking the main square, as well as tony boutiques and lively cafés set under the historic porticoes. Travelers also keep busy with excursions to headliners in the surrounding province, including Lake Garda and Lake Iseo, the Franciacorta wine country, and the paleolithic stone carvings in Valcamonica.

Top 3 attractions in Brescia

Mille Miglia Museum (Museo Mille Miglia)

The Mille Miglia is one of the world’s most storied open-road races, featuring vintage cars that travel across Italy. The race is named after the original distance of about 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers). The Mille Miglia Museum, set in the 11th-century Monastery of Saint Eufemia outside Brescia, celebrates the race and automobiles.More

Desenzano del Garda

The pretty resort town of Desenzano del Garda is on the southern shore of Lake Garda (Lago di Garda), Italy's largest lake that straddles the northern regions of Lombardy, Veneto, and Trentino. A popular destination for ancient Roman nobility from nearby Verona, the town is home to the ruins of a Roman villa and a museum of artifacts unearthed during its excavation. There is also an archaeological museum, a picturesque harbor, and a waterfront promenade.More

Franciacorta Outlet Village

Milan is famous for its fashion and design, and the Franciacorta Outlet Village is one of the largest and most popular outlet centers outside Lombardy’s cosmopolitan capital. Browse Italian and international brands at the more than 70 retailers offering deep discounts off retail prices.More
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All about Brescia

When to visit

Most travelers skip past Brescia when traveling between Milan and Venice, so this city a tourist-free paradise even in the summer high-season. The busiest month of the year is June, when the city hosts the Mille Miglia vintage car race, attracting car enthusiasts from Italy and abroad. (There’s even a museum dedicated to this historic rally.) The Festa della Musica music festival is held that same month and features dozens of jazz, rock, blues, and classical concerts.

Getting around

A fast and efficient network of local bus and light rail lines make getting around Brescia a breeze. The city has expanded its bike sharing program (Bicimia) and increased its bike lanes, so you can easily and safely explore the center as well as nearby towns on two wheels; there is also a bike rental agency outside the main train station. Much of the historic center is closed to unauthorized vehicles. If you drive to the area, leave your car in one of the public parking lots and explore on foot.

Traveler tips

Brescia’s crown jewel is an ancient treasure virtually unknown outside the city. The dazzling Winged Victory is a 1st-century AD bronze that was discovered hidden in the city’s Capitolium temple in 1826. It was restored in 2021 and is now housed in a specially designed gallery in the Santa Giulia City Museum. Roman history buffs can visit it along with the city’s ancient ruins, which make up the largest Roman archaeological area in northern Italy.


A local’s pocket guide to Brescia

Rebecca Winke

Rebecca’s food and travel writing often take her to Milan, and Brescia is her go-to retreat when she needs a break from the city bustle.

The first thing you should do in Brescia is...

make a beeline for the Brixia archaeological area to marvel at the recently restored Winged Victory, a dazzling ancient Roman bronze.

A perfect Saturday in Brescia...

kicks off with a leisurely cappuccino in Piazza della Loggia. Then, dedicate yourself to browsing the local shops that reflect nearby Milan’s sense of style but with less sticker shock.

One touristy thing that lives up to the hype is...

the massive Santa Giulia museum complex housed in an ex-monastery and home to an endless array of treasures from ancient Roman ruins to 16th-century frescoes.

To discover the "real" Brescia...

park yourself at a sidewalk table at one of the many old town coffee bars and while away a few hours watching the locals nurse their espresso in true “la dolce vita” style.

For the best view of the city...

visit the hilltop castle surrounded by a lush park to admire Brescia’s old town from the highest point in the area.

One thing people get wrong...

Brescia is closer to Milan than it may look on a map. It's less than a 40-minute direct train ride away from the Milano Centrale train station.

People Also Ask

Is Brescia worth visiting?

Yes, if you want to experience a history-rich Italian city that’s off the mass tourism radar, Brescia is worth visiting. And after your fill of Roman ruins and art history, the mountains, Lake Garda, and Franciacorta wine region are all nearby, along with the famous cities of Verona and Milan.

What is in Brescia, Italy?

The city traces its origins to Roman times and is home to an impressive UNESCO-listed Roman archaeological area—brought to life today with augmented reality tours. Other attractions include the Santa Giulia Museum, Teatro Grande, Brescia Castle, and Mille Miglia Museum just outside the city.

What is Brescia in Italy known for?

Brescia is known for its history and wealth of artistic gems to interest curious travelers. Founded in Roman times, the city was later ruled by the Lombards and then the Venetians. They all left their mark, and Roman temples, grandiose *palazzi, *and religious monuments are found around the city today.

What does Brescia mean in Italian?

Beyond indicating an ancient city in Lombardy—which is what Brescia is—the name lacks a definite meaning, although many believe it evolved from the Latin Brixia (high place). While many travelers won’t have heard of Brixia, a few might be familiar with Brescia’s nickname—the Lioness of Italy.

Can I visit Bergamo from Brescia?

Yes, Bergamo and Brescia are nearby, linked by the A4 highway. To travel between, it takes roughly an hour by car, or a little longer by train. There are frequent direct trains, or change at Treviglio or Milan. The trains go as far as Bergamo’s città bassa (the lower town).

What can I do in Brescia at night?

A university city, Brescia has no shortage of bars and nightclubs. The Carmine district holds edgier appeal, while the locales around Piazza della Loggia offer downtown fun for tourists and locals. For a more elegant night of classical music or opera, the gilded Teatro Grande is the place to go.

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