Day 25 – Torino to Brescia

It took a while to get a taxi this morning to take me to the train station. Even though a taxi stop is half a block from the Palazzo, this morning there were none. The clerk at the corner bookstore kindly called a cab for me. When it came, a man who had also been waiting asked if we could share. And so we did. It turns out all the cabs were busy with the Torino International Book Fair, where my fellow cab passenger was headed. Surprisingly, with all the events going on in Torino, I did not see a posting for the book fair. I would not have bought any books, but it would have been fun to see what was going on.

On the way to Brescia, the train passed many rice fields and this line of trees, probably a wind break.

My lodging in Brescia is very near to the Piazza Duomo. The building is at least 300 years old but has all the conveniences along with a nice view of the gardens behind the Bishop’s Palace.

Walking around the historic center, I came across a music festival where young people were performing. The announcer talked about how music lifts the spirits and how much it is needed after this long period of sadness related to the pandemic. These kids sang ballads beautifully, and it did indeed lift the spirits. As the day wore on, the music descended into loud, bad rap or like that.

On to the archaeological park and the remains of ancient Brixia, a Roman town that thrived in the first century B.C. It was abandoned and buried by time, then rediscovered in the early 19th century. The Capitolium, with its enormous columns, is quite impressive.

The Republican Temple, built in 73 A.D. was dedicated to Jupiter, Juno and Minerva. Interesting frescos look like abstract paintings or faux marble wall coverings.

This bronze statue of the Roman goddess of Victory was found during excavations at the Capitolium in 1826 It is one of the few large Roman bronze statues preserved to this day. It originally held a shield carved with the name of the victor and rested its left foot on Mars’ helmut. Several years back it was sent to Florence for restoration work and returned to Brescia three years later, a symbol of the city.

From the Roman archaeological park, I walked just a few blocks and found the large Piazza Duomo, where stands the Duomo Nuovo, Brescia’s main cathedral, built between 1604 and 1825,

and next to it the Duomo Vecchio, a Romanesque 12th-century cathedral.

Preparations were underway for a wedding in the beautiful old structure.

I headed back to my lodging. It’s hard to get lost in Brescia’s compact historical center, especially with these next door neighbors beckoning me back to my place.

At first, arriving in Brescia after Torino was a bit like going to Novato after visiting San Francisco. I missed the energetic buzz of the big city. But the visible presence of layer upon layer of history, from its origins in the Bronze and Iron ages, makes Brescia a fascinating place to visit.

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