Brescia

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Brescia
Comune
Panorama of Brescia
Panorama of Brescia
Flag of Brescia
Flag
Coat of arms of Brescia
Coat of arms
Brescia is located in Italy
Brescia
Brescia
Location of Brescia in Italy
Coordinates: 45°32′30″N 10°13′00″E / 45.54167°N 10.21667°E / 45.54167; 10.21667Coordinates: 45°32′30″N 10°13′00″E / 45.54167°N 10.21667°E / 45.54167; 10.21667
Country Italy
Region Lombardy
Province Province of Brescia
Frazioni Fornaci, Sant'Eufemia, San Polo, Urago Mella, Sant'Anna, Mompiano
Government
 • Mayor Emilio Del Bono (PD)
Area
 • Total 90.7 km2 (35.0 sq mi)
Elevation 149 m (489 ft)
Population (April 2011)
 • Total 197,250
 • Density 2,200/km2 (5,600/sq mi)
Demonym Bresciani
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 25100
Dialing code 030
Patron saint Sts. Faustino and Giovita
Saint day February 15
Website Official website

Brescia (Italian: [ˈbreʃʃia] ( ); Lombard: Brèsa [ˈbrɛsɔ] or [ˈbrɛhɔ]; Latin: Brixia) is a city and comune in the region of Lombardy in northern Italy. It is situated at the foot of the Alps, between the Mella and the Naviglio, with a population of around 197,000. It is the second largest city in Lombardy, after the capital, Milan.

The city is the administrative capital of the Province of Brescia, one of the largest in Italy, with about 1,200,000 inhabitants. The ancient city of Brixia, Brescia has been an important regional centre since pre-Roman times. A number of Roman and medieval monuments are preserved, among the latter the prominent castle. The city is at the centre of the third-largest Italian industrial area, concentrating on mechanical and automotive engineering and machine tools, as well as Beretta and Fabarm firearm manufacturers. Its companies are typically small or medium-sized enterprises, often with family management. The financial sector is also a major employer, and the tourist trade benefits from the proximity of Lake Garda, Lake Iseo and the Alps. With 195,375 arrivals, Brescia is the fourth most visited city in Lombardy after Milan, Bergamo and Como.[1]

The plan of the old town is rectangular, and the streets intersect at right angles, a peculiarity handed down from Roman times. The area enclosed by the medieval walls is larger than that of the Roman town, which occupied the north-eastern quarter of the current "Centro storico" (the old town).

The Piazza del Foro (Forum Square) marks the site of the Roman-time forum: on the short north side, on the side of the Colle Cidneo (Cidneo Hill), stands a Corinthian temple with three cellae, which was rediscovered starting in 1823. This temple complex, built on top of an earlier, smaller temple dating from Republican times, was probably the Capitolium of the city; it was erected by Vespasian in 73 AD (if the inscription belongs to the building[2]). During excavation in 1826, a splendid bronze statue of a winged Victory was found within the Capitolium. It was likely hidden in late antiquity to preserve it from one of the various sackings that the town had to endure in those times.

The Capitolium had been used to house the Brescia Roman museum. This has been relocated to the nearby Santa Giulia (St Julia) complex, a former powerful nunnery. During the period of Lombard domination, the convent was headed by Princess Anselperga, daughter of King Desiderius.

In the area various other Roman remains are visible, although not open to the public. Among these, on the south side of Forum Square, are scanty remains of a building called the curia, which may have been a basilica.

East of the Capitolium, and in antiquity attached to it, stands the imposing Roman theatre. Now only part of it is visible because of a palace built in Renaissance times on the slopes of Cidneo Hill. In time it slid down to cover the entire Capitolium-theatre area. The theatre was renovated and used for public performances in the early 20th century, but it has now long been closed to the public.

The monumental archaeological area of the Roman Forum and the monastery complex of San Salvatore-Santa Giulia have become a UNESCO World Heritage Site as part of a group of seven inscribed as Longobards in Italy. Places of the power (568-774 A.D.).[3]

History[edit]

Ancient era[edit]

Remains of the Roman Capitolium.

Various myths relate to the founding of Brescia: one assigns it to Hercules while another attributes its foundation as Altilia ("the other Ilium") by a fugitive from the siege of Troy. According to another myth, the founder was the king of the Ligures, Cidnus, who had invaded the Padan Plain in the late Bronze Age. Colle Cidneo (Cidnus's Hill) was named after that version, and it is the site of the medieval castle. Scholars attribute the founding to the Etruscans.

The Gallic Cenomani, allies of the Insubres, invaded in the 4th century BC, and used the town as their capital. The city became Roman in 225 BC, when the Cenomani submitted to the Romans. During the Carthaginian Wars, 'Brixia' (as it was called then) was usually allied with the Romans. In 202 BC, it was part of a Celtic confederation against them but, after a secret agreement, changed sides and attacked and destroyed the Insubres by surprise. Subsequently the city and the tribe entered the Roman world peacefully as faithful allies, maintaining a certain administrative freedom. In 89 BC, Brixia was recognized as civitas ("city") and in 41 BC, its inhabitants received Roman citizenship. Augustus founded a civil (not military) colony there in 27 BC, and he and Tiberius constructed an aqueduct to supply it. Roman Brixia had at least three temples, an aqueduct, a theatre, a forum with another temple built under Vespasianus, and some baths.

When Constantine advanced against Maxentius in 312, an engagement took place at Brixia in which the enemy was forced to retreat as far as Verona. In 402, the city was ravaged by the Visigoths of Alaric I. During the 452 invasion of the Huns under Attila, the city was besieged and sacked. Forty years later, it was one of the first conquests by the Gothic general Theoderic the Great in his war against Odoacer.

Middle Ages[edit]

The castle of Brescia.
Santa Maria in Solario Church in the Santa Giulia monastery.

In 568 (or 569), Brescia was taken from the Byzantines by the Lombards, who made it the capital of one of their semi-independent duchies. The first duke was Alachis, who died in 573. Later dukes included the future kings Rotharis and Rodoald, and Alachis II, a fervent anti-Catholic who was killed in the battle of Cornate d'Adda (688). The last king of the Lombards, Desiderius, had also been duke of Brescia.

In 774, Charlemagne captured the city and ended the existence of the Lombard kingdom in northern Italy. Notingus was the first (prince-)bishop (in 844) who bore the title of count (see Bishopric of Brescia). From 855 to 875, under Louis II the Younger, Brescia become de facto capital of the Holy Roman Empire. Later the power of the bishop as imperial representative was gradually opposed by the local citizens and nobles, Brescia becoming a free commune around the early 12th century. Subsequently it expanded into the nearby countryside, first at the expense of the local landholders, and later against the neighbouring communes, notably Bergamo and Cremona. Brescia defeated the latter two times at Pontoglio, then at the Grumore (mid-12th century) and in the battle of the Malamorte (Bad Death) (1192).

During the struggles in 12th and 13th centuries between the Lombard cities and the German emperors, Brescia was implicated in some of the leagues and in all of the uprisings against them. In the Battle of Legnano the contingent from Brescia was the second in size after that of Milan. The Peace of Constance (1183) that ended the war with Frederick Barbarossa confirmed officially the free status of the comune. In 1201 the podestà Rambertino Buvalelli made peace and established a league with Cremona, Bergamo, and Mantua. Memorable also is the siege laid to Brescia by the Emperor Frederick II in 1238 on account of the part taken by this city in the battle of Cortenova (27 November 1237). Brescia came through this assault victorious. After the fall of the Hohenstaufen, republican institutions declined at Brescia as in the other free cities and the leadership was contested between powerful families, chief among them the Maggi and the Brusati, the latter of the (pro-imperial, anti-papal) Ghibelline party. In 1258 it fell into the hands of Ezzelino da Romano.

In 1311 Emperor Henry VII laid siege to Brescia for six months, losing three-fourths of his army. Later the Scaliger of Verona, aided by the exiled Ghibellines, sought to place Brescia under subjection. The citizens of Brescia then had recourse to John of Luxemburg, but Mastino II della Scala expelled the governor appointed by him. His mastery was soon contested by the Visconti of Milan, but not even their rule was undisputed, as Pandolfo III Malatesta in 1406 took possession of the city. However, in 1416 he bartered it to Filippo Maria Visconti duke of Milan, who in 1426 sold it to the Venetians. The Milanese nobles forced Filippo to resume hostilities against the Venetians, and thus to attempt the recovery of Brescia, but he was defeated in the battle of Maclodio (1427), near Brescia, by general Carmagnola, commander of the Venetian mercenary army. In 1439 Brescia was once more besieged by Francesco Sforza, captain of the Venetians, who defeated Niccolò Piccinino, Filippo's condottiero. Thenceforward Brescia and the province were a Venetian possession, with the exception of the years between 1512 and 1520, when it was occupied by the French armies under Gaston of Foix, Duke of Nemours.

Modern era[edit]

Map of Brescia in the early 18th century.

Brescia has had a major role in the history of the violin. Many archive documents testify that from 1585 to 1895 Brescia was the cradle of a magnificent school of string players and makers, all styled "maestro", of all the different kinds of stringed instruments of the Renaissance: viola da gamba (viols), violone, lyra, lyrone, violetta and viola da brazzo. So you can find "maestro delle viole" or "maestro delle lire" and later, at least from 1558, "maestro di far violini" that is master of violin making. From 1530 the word violin appeared in Brescian documents and spread throughout north of Italy.

Early in the 16th century Brescia was one of the wealthiest cities of Lombardy, but it never recovered from its sack by the French in 1512.

It subsequently shared the fortunes of the Venetian republic until the latter fell at the hands of French general Napoleon Bonaparte; in Napoleonic times, it was part of the various revolutionary republics and then of the Napoleonic Kingdom of Italy after Napoleon became Emperor of the French.

In 1769, the city was devastated when the Bastion of San Nazaro was struck by lightning. The resulting fire ignited 90,000 kg (198,416 lb) of gunpowder stored there, causing a massive explosion which destroyed one-sixth of the city and killed 3,000 people.

After the end of the Napoleonic era in 1815, Brescia was annexed to the Austrian puppet state known as the Kingdom of Lombardy-Venetia. Brescia revolted in 1848; then again in March 1849, when the Piedmontese army invaded Austrian-controlled Lombardy, the people in Brescia overthrew the hated local Austrian administration, and the Austrian military contingent, led by general Haynau, retreated to the Castle. When the larger military operations turned against the Piedmontese, that retreated, Brescia was left to its own resources, but managed to resist recapture by the Austrian army for ten days of bloody and obstinate street fighting that are now celebrated as the Ten Days of Brescia. This prompted poet Giosuè Carducci to nickname Brescia "Leonessa d'Italia" ("Italian Lioness"), since it was the only Lombard town to rally to King Charles Albert of Piedmont in that year.

In 1859, the citizens of Brescia voted overwhelmingly in favor of its inclusion in the newly founded Kingdom of Italy.

The city was awarded a Gold Medal for its resistance against Fascism in World War II.

On May 28, 1974, it was the seat of the bloody Piazza della Loggia bombing.

Government[edit]

Since local government political reorganization in 1993, Brescia has been governed by the City Council of Brescia, which is based in Palazzo della Loggia. Voters elect directly 33 councilors and the Mayor of Brescia every five years.

Between the 1994 and 2008 local elections, the center-left coalition held the largest number of seats with a partnership administration based on the alliance between Italian People's Party, Democrats of the Left and other minor left-wing and green parties. In the 2008 local election the center-right coalition formed by Silvio Berlusconi's People of Freedom party and the regionalist Lega Nord won the majority in the City Council. In the 2013 elections the Democratic Party achieved an outright majority, after gaining an additional 5 seats across the city. The current Mayor of Brescia is Emilio Del Bono (PD), elected on 10 June 2013.

Brescia is also the capital of its own province. The Provincial Council is seated in Palazzo Broletto.

Geography[edit]

Topography[edit]

The castle and the city.

Brescia is located in the north-eastern section of the Po Valley, at the foot of the Brescian Prealps, between the Mella and the Naviglio, with the Lake Iseo to the west and the Lake Garda to the east. The municipal territory is mostly flat, although the Monte Maddalena in the north-east is the highest point of the city at 874 m above sea level. The administrative commune covers an area of about 90 square kilometres, with a population, in 2013, of 189,094 and a population density of 2,085 inhabitants per square kilometres. A larger urban area has a population of over 500,000 inhabitants.

Modern Brescia has a central area focused on residential and tertiary activities. Around the city proper, lies a vast urban agglomeration that expands mainly to the north, to the west and to the east, engulfing many communes in a continuous urban landscape.

Climate[edit]

According to the Köppen climate classification, Brescia has a humid subtropical climate (Cfa). Its average annual temperature is 13.7 °C (57 °F): 18.2 °C (65 °F) during the day and 9.1 °C (48 °F) at night. The warmest months are June, July, and August, with high temperatures from 27.8 °C (82 °F) to 30.3 °C (87 °F). The coldest are December, January, and February, with low temperatures from −1.5 °C (29 °F) to 0.6 °C (33 °F).

Winter is not very cold and snowfall is rare (average 21 cm per year), mainly occurs from December through February, but snow cover does not usually remain for long. Summer can be sultry, when humidity levels are high and peak temperatures can reach 35 °C (95 °F). Spring and autumn are generally pleasant, with temperatures ranging between 10 °C (50 °F) and 20 °C (68 °F).

The relative humidity is high throughout the year, especially in winter when it causes fog, mainly from dusk until late morning, although the phenomenon has become increasingly less frequent in recent years.

Precipitation is spread evenly throughout the year. The driest month is December, with precipitation of 54.6 mm (2.1 in), while the wettest month is May, with 104.9 mm (4.1 in) of rain.

Climate data for Brescia
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 5.0
(41)
8.5
(47.3)
14.2
(57.6)
18.6
(65.5)
23.1
(73.6)
27.8
(82)
30.3
(86.5)
29.4
(84.9)
25.1
(77.2)
18.5
(65.3)
11.6
(52.9)
6.8
(44.2)
18.2
(64.8)
Daily mean °C (°F) 1.8
(35.2)
4.4
(39.9)
9.6
(49.3)
13.7
(56.7)
17.9
(64.2)
22.3
(72.1)
24.6
(76.3)
23.9
(75)
20.1
(68.2)
14.3
(57.7)
8.1
(46.6)
3.7
(38.7)
13.7
(56.7)
Average low °C (°F) −1.5
(29.3)
0.3
(32.5)
4.9
(40.8)
8.8
(47.8)
12.7
(54.9)
16.7
(62.1)
19.0
(66.2)
18.4
(65.1)
15.1
(59.2)
10.0
(50)
4.5
(40.1)
0.6
(33.1)
9.1
(48.4)
Precipitation cm (inches) 6.39
(2.516)
6.43
(2.531)
7.10
(2.795)
8.30
(3.268)
10.49
(4.13)
9.95
(3.917)
8.63
(3.398)
10.11
(3.98)
7.28
(2.866)
9.81
(3.862)
8.70
(3.425)
5.46
(2.15)
98.65
(38.839)
Avg. precipitation days 7 6 7 9 10 9 6 7 6 7 8 6 88
Source: Brescia Centro Weather Station


Boroughs[edit]

The city of Brescia is divide in 5 boroughs called circoscrizioni:

Circoscrizione Population
31 December 2010
Map
Historical Center 41,856 Boroughs of Brescia.
North 41,772
West 37,773
South 44,281
East 28,070


Transportation[edit]

Brescia Metro[edit]

The Brescia Metro is a rapid transit network that opened on 2 March 2013.[4] The network comprises one line, 13.7 kilometres (9 mi) long,[5] with 17 stations[5] between Buffalora and Prealpino, of which 13 are underground.

The first projects for a metro in Brescia date back to 1980s, with the introduction of the first fully automatic light metro systems in other mid-size cities in Europe. Two feasibility studies were commissioned in 1987. The automatic light metro system was chosen as the best technology for the city. The first public tender was announced in 1989. But this project was then cancelled in 1996.

In 1994, the first application for public financing was issued. The public financing form the central government arrived in 1995, while other funds arrived in 2002 from the Region. The international public bid for the first phase of the project was announced in 2000. The winning proposal was from a group of companies comprising Ansaldo STS, AnsaldoBreda, Astaldi and Acciona, with a system similar to that of the Copenhagen metro.

A €575 million contract was awarded to a consortium led by Ansaldo STS in April 2003.[6] Work started in January 2004, but archaeological finds caused delays and required station redesigns. The line opened on 2 March 2013.[7][8]

Main sights[edit]

Piazza della Loggia, with its Venetian influences.
Old Cathedral.
New Cathedral.
  • Piazza della Loggia, a noteworthy example of Renaissance piazza, with the eponymous loggia (the current Town Hall) built in 1492 by the architect Filippino de' Grassi. On May 28, 1974, the square was the location of a terrorist bombing.
  • Duomo Vecchio ("Old Cathedral"), also known as La Rotonda. It is an exteriorly rusticated Romanesque church, striking for its circular shape. The main structure was built in the 11th century on the ruins of an earlier basilica. Near the entrance is the pink Veronese marble sarcophagus of Berardo Maggi, while in the presbytery is the entrance to the crypt of San Filastrio. The structure houses paintings of the Assumption, the Evangelists Luke and Mark, the Feast of the Paschal Lamb, and Eli and the Angel by Alessandro Bonvicino (known as il Moretto); two canvasses by Girolamo Romanino, and paintings by Palma il Giovane, Francesco Maffei, Bonvicino, and others.[9]
  • Duomo Nuovo ("New Cathedral"). Construction on the new cathedral began in 1604 and continued until 1825. While initially a contract was awarded to Palladio, economic shortfalls awarded the project, still completed in a Palladian style, to the young Brescian architect Giovanni Battista Lantana, with decorative projects directed mainly by Pietro Maria Bagnadore. The façade is designed mainly by Giovanni Battista and Antonio Marchetti, while the cupola was designed by Luigi Cagnola. Interior frescoes including the Marriage, Visitation, and Birth of the Virgin, as well as the Sacrifice of Isaac, were frescoed by Bonvicino. The main attraction is the Arch of Sts. Apollonius and Filastrius (1510).[10]
  • The Broletto, the medieval Town Hall, which now hosts offices of both the Municipality and the Province. It is a massive 12th- and 13th-century building; on the front, the balcony where the medieval city officials spoke to the townsfolk from; on the north side, still standing one (Lombard: Tòr del Pégol) of the two original city towers, with a belfry still hosting the bells used of old to call all hands in moments of distress.
  • In Piazza del Foro, as mentioned above, the most important array of Roman remains in Lombardy.
  • The monastery of San Salvatore (or Santa Giulia), dating from the Lombard age but later renovated several times. It is one of the best examples of High Middle Ages architecture in northern Italy; it now hosts, after a decade-long renovation, the City Museum, with a rich Roman section; one of the masterpieces is the bronze statue of a winged Victory, originally probably a Venus, converted in antiquity into the Victory by adding the wings; it is said to be in the act of writing the winner's name on her shield (now lost). Also very interesting, one of the very few places in the world where the remains of three Roman domus can be visited on their original site simply by strolling into one of the Museum halls. In 2011, it became a UNESCO World Heritage Site as part of a group of seven inscribed as Longobards in Italy. Places of the power (568-774 A.D.).
  • Santa Maria dei Miracoli (1488–1523), with a fine façade by Giovanni Antonio Amadeo, decorated with bas-reliefs and a Renaissance peristilium.
  • The Romanesque-Gothic church of St. Francis of Assisi, with a Gothic façade and cloisters.
  • The castle, at the north-east angle of the town, on top of Colle Cidneo. Besides commanding a fine view of the city and a large part of the surrounding area, and being a local favorite recreational area, it hosts the Arms Museum, with a fine collection of weapons from the Middle Ages onwards; the Risorgimento Museum, dedicated to the Italian independence wars of the 19th century; an exhibition of model railroads; and an astronomical observatory.
  • Church of Santi Nazaro e Celso, with the Averoldi Polyptych by Titian.
  • Church of San Clemente, with numerous painting by Alessandro Bonvicino (generally known as Moretto).
  • Church of San Giovanni, with a refectory painted partly by the Moretto and partly by Girolamo Romanino.
  • Pinacoteca Tosio Martinengo (currently closed for renovations), the municipal art gallery; it hosts works of the painters of the classical Brescian school, Romanino, Bonvicino, and Bonvicino's pupil, Giovanni Battista Moroni.
  • Biblioteca Queriniana, containing rare early manuscripts, including a 14th-century manuscript of Dante, and some rare incunabula.

The city has no fewer than seventy-two public fountains. The stone quarries of Rezzato, 8 km (5 mi) east of Brescia, supplied marble for the Monument to Vittorio Emanuele II in Rome.

Sports[edit]

Brescia was the starting and end point of the historical car race Mille Miglia that took place annually in May until 1957 on a Brescia-Rome-Brescia itinerary, and also the now defunct Coppa Florio, one of the first ever sport motor races. The Mille Miglia tradition is now kept alive by the "Historic Mille Miglia",[11] a world-class event that gathers in Brescia every year thousands of fans of motor sports and of vintage sports cars. The only cars admitted to the race are the ones that could have competed in (although they do not necessarily have to have taken part in) the original Mille Miglia. The race nowadays is not however a speed race anymore, but rather a "regularity" race; speed races have actually been banned on regular roads in Italy because of the deadly accident that killed a driver and ten bystanders in the last minutes of the 1957 Mille Miglia - that therefore became the last of the original races.

Brescia is also the home of the Brescia Calcio football club and the Rugby Leonessa 1928.

Notable people[edit]

International relations[edit]

In Brazil there is a town called Nova Bréscia. This name was given by its first citizens, who were from Brescia.

Twin towns—Sister cities[edit]

Brescia is twinned with:

See also[edit]

References and sources[edit]

References
  1. ^ "RSY Lombardia-Arrivals and nights spent by guests in accommodation establishments, by type of resort and by type of establishment. Total accommodation establishments. Part III. Tourist resort. Year 2011". asr-lombardia.it. Retrieved 30 November 2013. 
  2. ^ cf. Th. Mommsen in Corp. Inscrip. Lat. v. No. 4312, Berlin, 1872
  3. ^ ""Brescia: description of goods" on Italialangobardorum.it". Retrieved 14 May 2013. 
  4. ^ "La metro di Brescia apre sabato 2 marzo" [The Brescia Metro opens 2 March]. CityRailways.it (in Italian). 5 February 2013. Retrieved 15 February 2013. 
  5. ^ a b "Mappa della linea metropolitana" (pdf) (in Italian). Brescia Mobilitá. Retrieved 2013-11-07. 
  6. ^ Francesco Di Maio (April 2008). "Automation in a medium-sized city". Railway Gazette International. 
  7. ^ "Parte la metro! 2 marzo 2013" [The Metro goes! 2 March 2013] (in Italian). Brescia Mobilitá. 5 February 2013. Retrieved 2013-10-11. 
  8. ^ "La metro di Brescia apre sabato 2 marzo" [The Brescia Metro opens 2 March]. CityRailways.it (in Italian). 5 February 2013. Retrieved 15 February 2013. 
  9. ^ Duomo Vecchio
  10. ^ Duomo Nuovo.
  11. ^ Official Mille Miglia website
  12. ^ "Bethlehem Municipality". www.bethlehem-city.org. Retrieved 2014-04-03. 
  13. ^ "Städtepartnerschaften und Internationales". Büro für Städtepartnerschaften und internationale Beziehungen (in German). Retrieved 2013-07-26. 
  14. ^ 友好城市 (Friendly cities), 市外办 (Foreign Affairs Office), 2008-03-22. (Translation by Google Translate.)
  15. ^ 国际友好城市一览表 (International Friendship Cities List), 2011-01-20. (Translation by Google Translate.)
  16. ^ 友好交流 (Friendly exchanges), 2011-09-13. (Translation by Google Translate.)
Sources

Public Domain This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. 
 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainHerbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company.  [1]

Further reading[edit]

Published in the 19th century
Published in the 20th century

External links[edit]