Between the hills of the Alps and the Po valley, you can admire the city of Brescia in a particularly favourable position, advantageous for the urban settlement and for industrial, commercial and tourist activities. Brixia was inhabited since the Bronze Age, later by Ligurian, by Etruscan and, at the end of the VII century B.C., by Celtic too. In 27 B.C., the city became a Roman colony.
When the Roman Empire declined, Brixia became the capital of a Longobard dukedom (VII century B.C.) with the king Desiderio, who founded the St. Salvatore Monastery (today St. Giulia Monastery). In its cloisters, Alessandro Manzoni set the tragedy “Adelchi”, which tells about Ermengarda, the unlucky daughter of the king. She married Carlo Magno, king of the Franks, the man who would conquer the city. In 1000, Brescia became a free commune and took part in the battle of Legnano against Federico Barbarossa.
At that time a ciziten, Friar Arnaldo, was sent to the stake, accused of heresy because of his objection against the corruption of the clergy.
After 1200, the city was sought by Milan and Venice. In 1438 Milan attacked the city: the tradition tells that St. Faustino and St. Giovita, with their apparition, put the enemies to flight.
In 1512, also the French ranks led by Gaston of Foix occupied Brescia. In this century the painters Foppa, Romanino, Moretto and Savoldo created the most famous paintings of the Renaissance in Brescia, now kept in the picture-gallery and in the churches of the city.
In the long period of peace that followed, Brescia was dominated by Venice, which encouraged agrarian and the artisanal activities. The weapon production made the city famous all over Europe. At the end of the XVIII century, the French ranks led by Napoleon put a stop to the Venice domination: Brescia became part of the Cisalpina Republic and of the Italian Kingdom. After the fall of Napoleon, the city was taken under the Habsburg domination and in the Resurgence, during the Ten Days of Brescia in 1849, it rose up against the Austrian and won the name of “Lioness of Italy”. After the unification of the Italian Kingdom, Giuseppe Zanardelli, who came from Brescia, became minister and also head of government (1901/1903).
In the thirties, they modernized the city centre, and the inauguration of Vittoria Square is an important testimony of the fascist urban architecture. A big industrial development started after the Second World War, and Brescia became one of the most important cities for its economic activities. Among its distinguished citizens, we can remind Giovanni Battista Montini, who became Pope Paolo the Sixth, to whom the Cathedral Square was dedicated .
In contemporary times the southern part of the city, which is called “Brescia due”, represents a modern, forward-looking jump.