1st day: afternoon – Brescia (historical centre sightseeing tour)
Lunch at Loggia Square or surroundings - (the following order of visits may be reversed)
Panoramic sightseeing tour, along Via Musei – the Roman Decumanus Maximus - starting from Forum Square, with Capitoline Temple, remains of the Roman Theatre and remains of lateral Porticoes. An impressive archaeological reality.
The second stop in Paul VI Square, where three monuments stand: The Medieval Communal Palace (Broletto) and the Old Cathedral, both built between XII and XIII century, and the New Cathedral, a real contrast, on the same side of the square, because built in XVII century.
As regards Broletto, it is only possible to cross the internal courtyards, but the two churches can be visited inside: The Old Cathedral, with the pure Lombard Romanesque style atmosphere, the old church crypt, the cross vaults, Roman period remains and paintings by Moretto… the New Cathedral has a baroque and neoclassical style, but also Renaissance paintings by Romanino (Girolamo Romani nicknamed Romanino), that tried to reproduce the Lombard reality.
The tour finishes in Loggia Square, where the Town Hall is one of the most important examples of Renaissance Style in Brescia and the Palladian influence is still visible. Undoubtedly noteworthy, the Clock Tower, with 24 hours, the lunar phases and two automata striking hours. (Very similar to Saint Mark’s Square Clock Tower, in Venice).
2nd day: full day – Lonato and Sirmione
10.00 a.m.: Lonato, Casa del Podestà
The House of the Podestà (Major) has been built in the middle of the XV century, as a seat of the Representative of the Republic of Venice in Lonato, whose duty was to control the territory. Lonato has been dominated by the “Serenissima” starting from 1441, for more than 350 years, except for a small bracket, due to the short government of the Marquis Francesco Gonzaga (from 1509 to 1516).
Because of the Treaty of Campoformio in 1797, Napoleon gave the House of the Podestà to Austria and it has been turned into a military barracks.
The Mansion finally passed to the Municipality of Lonato but any interest has been taken in it.
At a public auction in 1906, the lawyer and liberal deputy Ugo da Como bought it.
He was perfectly aware of the historical role of the mansion, and asked to the most famous architect in Brescia Antonio Tagliaferri (1835-1909) to restore it.
Thanks to the repair work, the Venetian house recovered the original style, and suitable furniture has been added to transform it into a Museum-House, a comfortable place to live, according to the trend of XIX and XX century.
Ugo Da Como, that died in Lonato in 1941, and his wife Maria Glisenti, dead in 1944, lived here.
The identity of this bourgeois dwelling has remained intact to this day.
The House of the Podestà is a real “Library home”, that houses about 50,000 volumes, and because of that, we can mention it as one of the most important private collections in the North of Italy.
It is part of a monumental complex of extraordinary beauty, dominated by the great Visconti-Venetian Fortress. (€ 8,00 p.p.)
Lunch in Sirmione
The beauty of Sirmione has been described in the 1st century B.C., by Catullus, a Veronese Poet.Sirmione stands out from other lake resorts for its historical patrimony like the Medieval Scaliger Fortress, the local parish church, Saint Mary the Greatest, the smaller San Pietro in Mavino Chapel and the large and imposing Roman Villa, called: "Catullus’ Grottoes.
The XIII century Scaliger Fortress is supposed to be the symbol of Sirmione and its history dates back to the Roman period and evolves through the Lombard period (some remains of a VIII century monastery are visible, not far); the same Fortress witnesses the Veronese influence, then Venetian and Austrian rule.
3rd day: morning - lake Iseo (Eastern Side Road, Pisogne – Romanino – village of Iseo) –Lunch at Montisola
Departure for the Eastern Side Road of Lake Iseo: discovery of the small villages, with their coloured houses and typical churches … the unexpected beautiful landscape, the Mediterranean vegetation and the three islands: Montisola, the greatest island of the lakes in Europe, where traditions still survive: those linked to the production of fishing nets, the manufacturing of boats and the fish conservation technique.
The minor islands of San Paolo and Loreto are also visible.
Not far, the town of PISOGNE, that has always been an important commercial hub, a market that created prosperity. Because of that, Our Lady of the Snow Church was painted inside from 1532 to 1534 by a famous painter called Romanino. The theme is Passion – Death – Resurrection - Ascension of Jesus Christ. It is called the “Sixtine Chapel of the Poors”, one of the most important examples of “Sacred Painting” in 1500 years. Among the years 1532 and 1534 Girolamo Romani called Romanino frescoed the walls, the Saint Arch and the counter façade of this church, using a style completely different from the Academic one of that periods. He used a very simple language, which could be easily understood by poor people.
His transgressive figures, often grotesque, are inspired by the simple local people.
Return to Iseo and visit of the historic centre, with its Medieval plan, Garibaldi Square, where the first monument dedicated to this hero has been erected in Italy.
Boat to Montisola