The history of the City of
Brescia, in present times an industrial and
commercial centre of Northern Italy, is witness to some moments
of particular architectural and artistic splendour, which
can be said for even the most remote times in its history.
For example, in the era of the Roman Empire, the City was
a pole of notable importance, testified by an architectonic
fervour, which today can be seen in the guarded exhibitions
in the new Museum Complex of S. Guilia and the archaeological
digs visible in the same complex. In the City, it’s
possible to still see the remains of the old Capitolino Temple
and that of the Fort of Roman foundations.
Also during the Medieval era Brescia knew a moment of particular
reliefs: first of all under the Longobard Duchy during the
8th Century and then as a Free Council and member of the League
of Historical Lombard during the 12th and 13th Centuries.
Significant and unusual monuments belong to this period, like
the Old Cathedral, also called Rotonda, the church of S. Salvatore,
the “Broletto” and S. Francesco.
From 1426 to the end of 1797, Brescia passed under the dominion
of The Republic of Venice and this stimulated a new architectural
season – the Loggia, S. Maria dei Miracoli – and
most of all, the development of an important local school
of art, which included artists like Romanino, Moretto and
Savoldo, all masters of a style which associated the realism
of characters and the faces of an extremely evocative use
The urbanistic structure of the City of Brescia, still shows
its Roman origins today, through its regular installation
of “Castrum,” and its strangely present, two main
squares, as well as two adjoining and connected centres: Piazza
della Vittoria – which represents the modern centre
of the City, projected in the rationalistic/classicheggiante
style and scrupulously by Marcello Piacentini in 1932 –
and Piazza della Loggia.
Piazza della Loggia is the Renaissance heart of Brescia; it’s
surrounded by buildings with Renaissance characteristics,
like the Torre dell’Orologio (Clock Tower), with its
two Moors which bring to mind that of S.Marks Square in Venice,
the Doors, the Palace of Monte di Pietà, which is notably
dominated by the Loggia, which gives its name to the square
itself. The Loggia dates back to a period which goes from
1492 to 1574 and is in a Veneto-Lombard style. It shows a
ground floor, partly covered by arches from the classicheggiante
style and a first floor in the Palladian style. In the square
of the Loggia, there’s also a reference to more recent
Italian history: on the East side a commemorative stele (slab
of stone or wood painted or inscribed with religious texts)
designed by the architect Carlo Scarpa, in honour of the victims
of the tragic terrorist attack of 28th May 1974.