Monday, January 24, 2011

Roman Brescia

The reconstructed capitolium

I don't really remember where I first heard Brescia's name, but I do remember coming to Italy having almost a need to go to Brescia. And so I did--it was one of the first Italian towns I visited. Given, it isn't the prettiest. By and large, this prosperous industrial town is indeed industrial, the grimy buildings partnered with fascist-era buildings that now serve the uncaring population as car parks. But in its industrial spirit lies its appeal, and the beautiful city center almost comes as a shock--including a reconstructed Capitolium and partially ruined arena. Brescia's ruins are by no means comparable to Rome or even Verona, but their accesibility is their draw, the city almost built into the ruin and vice versa. The city museum is a detailed--too detailed even--record of Brescia from its bronze-age beginnings, through its stint as a prosperous Roman outpost in barbarian lands, to its modern reincarnation as one o the north's most industrialized cities. Its a museum chock-filled with artifacts, and it is pleasing to know that even a mid-sized town such as Brescia cared enough about its past to save every shard of pot and every piece of millenial leftover. Brescia is largely a nondescript town, as worthy of visit as it is of being overlooked, but its most fascinating aspect is the degree to which it has recorded its existence throughout the ages.

Ruins, right next to the sidewalk

Brescia's most famous resident, the Winged Venus

Excavated floors from local Roman villas

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