Brescia is a town in Northern Italy, more precisely in Lombardy (Lombardia in Italian).

It sits, or rather sprawls in the flatlands known as Pianura Padana. Brescia does not have a river, which is clearly a big defect in a town.

The town was born as a Roman camp, in what was then Gaul (the cisalpine part of it). There are still impressive Roman remains. In Piazza Arnaldo an impressive protochristian round church and a rather more normal Romanic cathedral stand shoulder to shoulder.
Historically Brescia was part of Veneto (Repubblica Veneta, even), the Italian state whose capital was Venice. This explains the rather surprising insistence on the St. Mark's Lion motif.
In Piazza Loggia, where a bomb exploded during the Leaden Years, one is able to admire a rare Fascist style square, consistent, complete and consistently hideous.

In Brescia there are two universities, but the main force behind the city is industry, particularly metallurgy, particulary guns, land mines and anything that goes boom.
Many of these industries are in the hinterland, particularly in the rather ugly Val Trompia: Beretta was born there, more than five centuries ago.

A more interesting valley, turistically speaking is Val Camonica, that leads into Trentino Alto Adige via the lofty, windy, chilly, snowy Passo Tonale. Brescia is home to thousands of North African immigrants - friction is not uncommon, but I would say that the average Brescian (Catholic, conservative) is not a racist.

Reasons for going to Brescia

The Castello hosts a very good museum, and the city centre is rather pleasent. It is not as beautiful as Florence but it is not as ugly as Milano.
Besides, Brescia is on the railway line that goes from Milano to Venezia, touching the Lago di Garda, Verona and Vicenza, all of them interesting places.

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