Tucked away at the foot of the Italian Alps in the beautiful Lombardy region is Brescia, a small town surrounded by some of the most spectacular natural scenery in all of Italy. Brescia is just a short distance away from cities like Milan and Verona, yet it’s one of the lesser-known spots in Italy. Brescia isn’t as popular among travelers as cities like Rome, Florence and Venice, thus this picturesque city feels like an old, authentic Italian town rather than a tourist hub. So when I had the chance to visit Brescia, I jumped at it. I wanted to get a feel for the daily lives of Italians in this gorgeous region, and I knew I’d be able to immerse myself in the Italian culture in a small town like Brescia.
I wasn’t originally planning on traveling to Brescia, but after a couple of weeks touring the major cities in Italy, I decided to head to a smaller town in the north so I could experience life like the locals do. To book my last-minute hotel in Brescia, I simply pulled up the HotelTonight app and within minutes, I had a great hotel room waiting for me in the center of this historic town. Just like that, I was ready to explore Brescia and get a taste of “la dolce vita.”
No matter which town you visit in Italy, you’re sure to wander into some beautiful squares. I quickly found that Brescia had some of the most beautiful, charming squares I had seen, and Piazza della Loggia certainly topped the list. This traditional Italian square features old, well-preserved buildings like the Loggia, the old Town Hall, which dated back to the 15th century. You’ll notice hints of Venetian architecture throughout this picturesque square, which I found to be most beautiful at night, when it’s illuminated by romantic street lamps. Piazza della Loggia is a square you’ll want to visit over and over during your stay in Brescia, so find your favorite restaurant or cafe in the square, sit down, relax and enjoy the beauty of the slow life like the locals around you.
Brescia is home to the best preserved Roman ruins in all of Italy, and you’re sure to stumble upon ruins during your Brescia trip even if you’re not searching for them. Some of the best ruins can be found at the Piazza del Foro, which was once the city’s bustling forum during the Roman Empire. On a hill right above the Foro is the Tempio Capitolino, a Roman temple built in AD 73. While much of the temple has crumbled over the centuries, it’s still incredible to stand in front of columns and walls that are almost 2,000 years old.
This square, formerly known as Piazza del Duomo, is considered the heart of Brescia. Dating back to the Middle Ages, Piazza Paolo VI is the site of Brescia’s most important historical buildings, such as Broletto Palace, the Duomo Vecchio (the Old Cathedral) and the Duomo Nuovo (the New Cathedral). If you want to see some of Brescia’s grandest architecture and its most significant historical sites, simply spend a morning or an afternoon exploring this incredible square. Then pop into one of the restaurants in the square to refuel with some mouthwatering homemade pasta.
Since Brescia is surrounded by some of the most spectacular scenery in all of Italy, it would be a shame to visit this Italian town without getting out into the countryside. I decided to take a leisurely hike up to Monte Maddalena, a mountain that lies just east of Brescia. The hillside is dotted with small Italian towns, and the viewing areas on the way up the mountain provide incredible views of Brescia and the surrounding Italian countryside.
Northern Italy boasts some of the most beautiful lakes in all of Europe, and Lake Iseo is a special favorite among Italians. This large, sparkling lake is surrounded by lush, green mountains and lined with charming lakeside towns. I took a day trip to Lake Iseo, which is roughly a 20-minute drive from Brescia, and I spent most of the day exploring the area’s quaint towns and basking in the sunshine at this beautiful lake. It was the perfect way to end my time in northern Italy.
For some odd reason, Brescia is not one of the most popular destinations in Italy. After spending a few days in this beautiful town in northern Italy, I couldn’t quite understand why. I didn’t complain too much, though, since I never had to fight crowds of tourists while wandering the old streets of Brescia. Instead, I felt like I was always strolling through Brescia alongside locals, which made it one of my most memorable travel experiences in Italy. As I said a sad farewell to the town of Brescia, I reminisced on my short, but very sweet, stay in this Italian town, and I acknowledged just how lucky I was to be able to book a great last-minute hotel in Brescia through HotelTonight. Now that I always know I can rely on HotelTonight, traveling has never been easier or less stressful.