mercoledì 7 settembre 2011


 After Venice and Florence you would expect Rome.. we went to Sardinia already, where you can find the best sea, then to Abruzzo where the most amazing Appennines are waiting (so to speak..) to be explored. Here we are now in the valleys that face to the Alps, in the city of Brescia, Lombardia region.
 Yeah right Lombardia is where George Clooney has the villa (in Como, north of Milan), the place of Caravaggio (from the town of Caravaggio.. his real name is Michelangelo Merisi). Now this said, Lombardia is the most crowded, by far richest region of Italy. Does that explain why you will never know enough about Lombardia? It's huge, big variety, ranging from small scale jewel Mantova (town of Virgil.. the poet) to Bergamo or Milan, town of mr Berlusconi.. argh.
 Anyway, Brescia is often misunderstood and underestimated, as it was a very very important roman city, in fact the biggest roman city in northern Italy. However, Brescia is famous in italian proverb-size culture as "La Leonessa", the female lion, for its stern pride in battle, especially in the sake of uniting Italy 150 years ago against the Austrians, which dominated this part of Italy (Lombardia, Veneto, Trentino Alto Adige and Friuli Venezia Giulia).
 Brescia is home to some of the richest, most notable families in Italy, and despite being a small city of only about 200.000 inhabitants is home to one of the biggest, longest present immigrant communities (33.000 residents in the city). The province of Brescia alone counts as much as almost 2 million people, which is more than the whole population of Marche. Anyway, it's a much more important place than it seems to the eye of a tourist (even an italian tourist).
 Mille Miglia race starts from Brescia, famous italian writer Aldo Busi (one of the few openly gay successfull intellectuals in Italy) and host to some year long amazing exhibition like last year's Museo Santa Giulia's exhibit dedicated to the Inca. Also, Brescia is famous for pope Paolo VI and for its mundane liberal catholic milieu. It's a place to buy shoes and eat nice food, enjoy the prettiness and then head on to the next step with a full belly and a nice smile on your face. Brescia, the lioness of Lombardia.
 Brescia and Bergamo, which are known to literally "detest" each other in typical italian style (all neighbours complain about each other no?) were both taken under domination of Venice in the 15th century, but in the long run I guess it did help to make them a bit more romantic and renaissance style. Anyway, Brescia is not the most amazing place you will ever see, but it's definitely not the industrial city some will portray. Try to ask them: "But have you ever been to Brescia anyway? Did you know it was the biggest roman colony in the north?" And you will receive as many "no" as your questions about Brescia. Few people know Brescia, those who do, like it.

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