The main churches of Brescia are the old and the new cathedral, which stand pleasantly side by side. However, the city has a large number of other beautiful houses of worship, the highlights being the San Francesco d’Assisi Church and the San Giorgio Church.
Churches of Brescia
The Duomo Vecchio is also called “La Rotonda” because of its circular floor plan. This “Old Cathedral” was built on the ruins of the 7th century church Santa Maria Maggiore Church. Its architecture is Romanesque. It consists of two cylindrical bodies on top of each other, with a conical drum above. The highlight is the crypt from the 11th century. Address: Piazza Paolo VI, 24.
Wherever there a Duomo Vecchio exist, there must also be a Duomo Nuovo. The “New Cathedral” was also built on an older structure, in this case the early Christian San Pietro the Cathedral Church. Its construction took a long time. Work began in 1604, but the church was not completed until 1825. Behind the impressive facade is an interior decorated with various masterpieces. Address: Piazza Paolo VI, 18.
San Francesco d’Assisi Church
Built in a Romanesque-Gothic style, the San Francesco d’Assisi Church is among the most important churches in the city. Highlights within the church include some works by local painter Moretto and by Romanino. The large late 14th century cloister is also worth a visit.
Santa Maria dei Miracoli Church
The foundation stone for the Santa Maria dei Miracoli Church was laid in 1488. Between 1500 and 1566 the church was enlarged, In the 18th century they completed the dome and the murals, which however were largely lost in bombings in 1945. The sumptuously decorated facade of the church is particularly impressive.
San Giovanni Church
The San Giovanni Church was probably built in the 15th century. The church has a façade that reflects the interior, which consists of three naves. The portal was designed by Filippo de Grassi. As in many churches in Brescia, the artistic highlights were painted by local artists Moretto and Romanino.
San Giorgio Church
The San Giorgio Church was built in the second half of the 13th century. However, its current appearance is the result of a 20th century reconstruction. The facade is characterized by a marble portal and an impressive staircase. The frescoes gracing the interior date largely from the 13th century. Today the building is used for conventions and other events.
San Giuseppe Church
The San Giuseppe Church is next to the monastery of the same name and is considered a kind of Pantheon of the Brescian music world. The associated monastery is currently used as the seat of the city’s Museo Diocesano.
Santa Maria del Carmine Church
Construction of the Santa Maria del Carmine Church began in 1429. It would take fifty years to complete the church. The most striking feature of this 75-meter-long church are the pinnacles on its façade. The three cloisters next to the church are the seat of the Library of the University of the city.
Santi Nazaro e Celso Church
The current appearance of the Santi Nazaro e Celso Church is the result of a major renovation in the 18th century. Highlights include the “Averoldi Polyptych” by Titian and some works by Moretto.
Santa Maria della Carità Church
The Santa Maria della Carità Church is also known as the Buon Pastore Church, as it used to belong to the convent of that name until 1998. The architect Agostino Avanzo began building the church in 1640. The highlight is a richly decorated altar with the effigy of the Vergine dei Terragli. Behind it is a chapel that bears a resemblance to the Santa Casa di Loreto. The walls are decorated with frescoes, various types of marble and ornamental plasterwork.
Santi Faustino e Giovita Church
The Santi Faustino e Giovita Church is dedicated to the patron saints of Brescia. The church was built in 1622, but the facade was designed by Santo Callegari il Vecchio in 1711. The striking central vault is by Tommaso Sandrini. Paintings by Giambattista Tiepolo and other decorate the church. (Address: Via S. Faustino 74/a. Tel: +39 030292195)
San Pietro in Oliveto Church
The San Pietro in Oliveto Church is also known as San Pietro in Castello Church. Its official name, San Pietro e Paolo Church is rarely used however. Designed by Antonio Medaglio, the 16th century façade is characterized by the statues of Saints Peter and Paul placed in niches. The interior is unusually austere.
The interior of the Sant’Alessandro Church is almost entirely the result of a reconstruction carried out by Donegani in the 18th century. The church consists of a single nave, with four chapels on either side. The highlight is a “Marian Message” by Jacopo Bellini. After bombings in World War II, extensive repairs were necessary.
San Clemente Church
The San Clemente Church is part of a Benedictine Monastery. After earlier renovations in the 14th century and in 1471, the Domenicans were responsible for the most important embellishments in 1517. Artistic highlights in this single nave church are the main altar created by Antonio Calegari, the cloisters and a small pinacotheque with paintings by Il Moretto.