Where to next? Brescia, Italy with Katy Clarke

June 02, 2020

No matter where you travel in the world, there is usually one special place that you never tire of visiting. In this exclusive “Where to next?” blog series, we talk to some of the biggest travel influencers in the industry, as they give us expert insights into their favourite parts of the world – shining a light on beautiful destinations through the eyes of some of the world’s most well travelled people.

It’s time to take out your travel bucket list and start filling it up!

Here we’re joined by renowned travel blogger, Katy Clarke. Katy’s websites, Untold Italy and Untold Morsels have become invaluable resources, especially for anyone thinking of travelling to Italy. Her Facebook group, Italy Travel Planning, which has over 30k followers, is brimming with genuine, unbiased advice and recommendations for everything there is to know about Italy travel. The latest addition to her Italy travel repertoire, the Untold Italy podcast, is another amazing resource, where Katy speaks with Italy aficionados from around the world, speaking in detail about all things Italy travel – a great way to get more detailed advice than you can find in any blog post!

In this post Katy tells us why Brescia in the Lombardy region, holds a special place in her heart.

Katy, you have become a go-to resource for all things Italy travel. What first drew to you to this part of the world?

I’ve been traveling since I was a teenager. My first trips were to Indonesia and the United States but I was always drawn to Europe and Italy in particular. Renaissance history was my favourite subject at high school and it inspired much daydreaming about Venice and Florence in particular. When I finally arrived at Lake Lugano on my first trip to Italy, the country was so much more than I had imagined. Apart from bringing to life the history I was so passionate about, I fell in love with the scenery, the people, the culture and the food and wine. Even after more than 30 trips to Italy I still manage to find something unique and inspiring on each visit.

What do you love most about Italy?

The Lombardy region is very special to me as it is the first area I visited in Italy. It’s home to many beautiful lakes and mountains and pretty cities and towns, plus an amazing food and wine culture. I visited Brescia many years after my first trip to Lombardy and was completely charmed. It is a lovely small city in the foothills of the Alps and it’s very close to Lake Garda, known for wonderful architecture, classic cars, food and wine.

What should more people know about Brescia?

Brescia is just 45 minutes from Milan by train but it’s a city with a very different feel. Here people sit and enjoy their aperitivo while watching children play in the piazzas. Locals gather each Saturday to visit the market, shop and catch up with their friends as they have done for centuries. All the while they are surrounded by some of the best preserved buildings representing different architectural styles of Italian history. The city has a proud gastronomic culture driven by local produce from the surrounding region. Local pasta, cheeses and lake fish dishes are found on menus in this town. Of course you must also try Franciacorta – a sparkling wine local to the province.

What is your favourite thing to do here?

I like to simply take a walk through the town and admire the centuries of architecture. It’s just like walking through time. There are some incredible Roman ruins that are very well preserved including an amphitheater and temple complex. The Middle Ages are represented by the city’s castle, Duomo Vecchio and Pallata tower while the Venetians made their mark with the impressive Palazzo della Loggia and 16th century astronomical clock tower.

For Baroque splendour you must step inside the Duomo Nuovo with its impressive dome and altarpiece. Just steps away in Piazza Vittoria you’ll find some of the best examples of imposing Fascist architecture in Italy from the 1930s.

astronomical clock brescia

 

If you had just 24 hours in Brescia, what would you do?

Take your morning coffee in Piazza della Loggia and admire the stunning town hall and astronomical clock. Then pop inside the Chiesa di San Faustino in Riposo close by. This tiny church is beloved by the people of Brescia and is somewhat hidden in the ancient city walls.

 

piazza della loggia brescia

 

Then it is off to discover Roman Brixia. The city’s UNESCO listed world heritage site is one of the most important in northern Italy. The most important buildings here are the forum, Capitolium Temple and 1st century amphitheatre. Next admire Brescia’s twin duomos in Piazza Paolo VI. The contrast between the medieval Duomo Vecchio and Baroque Duomo Nuovo is charming.

 

brescia roman forum

Brescia Roman Forum

After lunch at one of the many bars and restaurants in the piazza, you should visit the castle for beautiful views of the city and Alps in the distance. There are also several museums within the castle complex.

Before dinner enjoy the local Pirlo cocktail. Similar to an Aperol spritz, the Brescian version favours still wine over prosecco. Then it’s off to dinner where you must try the local casconcelli stuffed pasta.

Where is your favourite place to eat in Brescia?

I Du Dela Contrada has fun updated classic dishes typical to Brescia. Don’t order from the menu. Ask them to feed you and you won’t be disappointed.

i du dela contrata

Image Credit: I Du Dela Contrata

 

Do you have any quirky or off-the-beaten-track spots that you’d urge people to visit?

If you’re interested in cars then a visit to the city’s Mille Miglia museum is well worth while. The museum displays a range of memorabilia associated with the classic car race that begins and ends in Brescia each year. For gourmet souvenirs head to Salumeria Porteri where they have selected the finest cold cut meats and cheese for over 150 years. Try the local Grana Padano which you can have vacuum packed safely for your trip home.

Image Credit: Museo Mille Miglia

by Lorna Franklin

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