Springtime brings a lot of enticing things for every taste and every age. From excursions on the lake to hiking in the mountains, from tastings at a Franciacorta winery to the charm of the historic Mille Miglia car race, Brescia and its province are the place to be in the spring, for a stay full of emotions.
Are you ready? Follow our tips on the 30 things to do in the province of Brescia in the spring!
Breathe the spring breeze and let the water lull you on a beautiful sunny day. There are countless opportunities to choose from, from an elegant and exclusive Lake Iseo tour aboard a Riva motorboat to a thrilling cruise on Lake Garda with view of Mount Baldo and the best panoramas in the area. Great news for Lake Idro, too. The naval authority organises boat tours with stops at various towns and the possibility to bring your bike on board.
In Brescia, May is a synonym of Mille Miglia, the “most beautiful race in the world” according to Enzo Ferrari. Over 400 vintage cars built between 1927 and 1957 gather from 30 countries worldwide to liven the city with their colours, like every year. In the shade of the castle, the cars will start their engines to race to Rome and then back to Brescia, where they will cross the finish line in a festive atmosphere. Here is this year’s Mille Miglia programme.
Spring is the ideal time to visit Brescia’s Castle, the symbol of the city. The fortification can be easily reached on foot from the old city centre. Once you are on top of the hill, you will be able to admire the enchanting view below, walk on the drawbridge and in hidden tunnels, and enjoy a drink at one of the bars outside the walls. One on the unique elements of the castle is Pusterla vineyard, the largest urban vineyard in Europe, located at the foot of the castle and still currently producing wine, grappa, and jams.
As you leave the Castle, in a few minutes you will reach the heart of historic Brescia, a perfect destination for a romantic stroll. The tour starts with a visit to the three main squares: Piazza Loggia, Piazza Vittoria, and Piazza Paolo VI. From there, follow Via Musei where you will find the Capitolium Temple archaeological area and Santa Giulia Museum, both a Unesco site.
At the end of the stroll in historic Brescia, it’s time to visit the fascinating art collection of Pinacoteca Tosio Martinengo art gallery, recently restored and reopened to the public. Then you can relax with some shopping in Corso Zanardelli, Corso Palestro, Via X Giornate and to end your day, what better thing than sipping a big pirlo, traditional Brescia aperitif nominated “cocktail of the year” by the New York Times?
Do you need to completely unplug and relax with a sauna or Turkish bath? Or do you need beneficial inhalation treatments? There are no less than four thermal spas and wellness centres in the province: Aquaria and Terme di Sirmione, Terme di Boario, Terme di Vallio. Great news on this front: the opening in 2023 of the brand new Pontedilegno – Tonale Thermal and Wellness Centre.
In June, Brescia’s air fills with the notes of Festival Pianistico di Bergamo e Brescia, one of the most important international events dedicated to piano. Some of the festival’s elegant venues in the city of Brescia are Teatro Grande, Salone da Cemmo, Diocesan Museum, the Church of San Francesco and Auditorium San Barnaba.
Let’s go back to Lake Garda to visit Vittoriale degli Italiani, a monumental complex created by the eclectic mind of poet Gabriele D’Annunzio and one of the top tourist attractions on Lake Garda. It’s a stunning structure immersed in a natural setting which encompasses elegant gardens, a lemon garden with belvedere terrace, and a magnificent amphitheatre with view of the lake, which hosts Tener-a-mente Festival in the summer.
Vittoriale is located in proximity to Gardone Riviera’s old centre. The town is one of the Most Beautiful Small Towns in Italy thanks to its colourful alleys and the lake front promenade. It’s one of the most photographed towns on the lake. The town also hosts André Heller Botanical Garden, a unique collection of plants from all over the world.
Ancient terraced structures used in the past to grow oranges and lemons, today Lake Garda’s lemon gardens are at the core of an intense promotion effort. The lemon gardens that were reopened to the public are Pra dela Fam in Tignale, Malora in Gargnano, and Limonaia del Castel in Limone sul Garda. On selected dates, it is possible to join a guided tour and purchase typical products.
Wine and oil are another two must-taste products in the provice of Brescia. Lake Garda, Lake Iseo, Monte Isola, Franciacorta: there are countless opportunities to visit wineries and oil mills to learn about the secrets of the best Franciacorta DOCG and Olio del Garda DOP productions, which you will enjoy with some local cured meats and cheese pairings. This visit is also the opportunity to enjoy a walk or bike ride in the quiet of the vineyards. To learn about some of the available activities, visit the page Taste in Brescia.
Biking on a trail perched over the waters, but in total safety? It’s easy and exciting! One of the favourite bike trails in Brescia is Lake Garda Walk and Cycle Path between Limone and Riva. Opened in 2018, it is the first portion of the future bike circuit around Lake Garda. Another top pick is Vello-Toline trail, the old coastal road on Lake Iseo which was turned into a walk and cycle path with about 5 km of breathtaking course along a cliff. Another trail immersed in nature is River Oglio Bike Trail. And if you are in the city, why not try the challenging ascent to Mount Maddalena? Awaiting you at the top are an incredible view of Brescia and the surrounding area, which will make the effort completely worthy!
A trip aboard a fully restored early 20th century train. You will even enjoy a traditional meal served as you travel from one medieval town to the next. This is the experience offered by Treno dei Sapori (Taste Train) running on the historic Brescia-Iseo-Edolo line. The visit will lead you to the discovery of the beauties of Franciacorta, Lake Iseo, and Camonica Valley. There are several departures every month. For the complete schedule, visit the official website.
Torbiere peat bog nature reserve is an area of significant naturalistic relevance and a relaxing corner of the province just steps from the town of Iseo. It’s a true paradise for birdwatchers, who will be able to admire protected species such as purple heron, western marsh harrier, and black kite.
Let’s travel now to the heart of Camonica Valley, whose immense rock engraving heritage made it obtain the first Italian UNESCO title and the denomination “Valley of the Signs”. Today, there are as many as eight Camonica Valley parks listed as World Heritage Site and 2019 was the 40th anniversary of the first recognition in 1979.
Another significant archaeological park is Rocca di Manerba, known as one of the best panoramic spots on Lake Garda. Located a few km from Desenzano del Garda, here you will discover local history by exploring the medieval fortifications scattered around the hill and the artifacts displayed in the archaeological museum.
As you drive north along the western coast of Lake Garda, you reach the Tremosine plateau, one of the Most Beautiful Small Towns in Italy and true Lake Garda gem. One of its most famous attractions is Terrazza del Brivido, a panoramic terrace perched over the lake with a dramatic, majestic view of the whole lake.
Tremosine can be reached through Strada della Forra (Gorge road), a thrilling access road that Winston Churchill called “the eighth wonder of the world”. The road was built in 1913 taking advantage of a canyon between the mountains and follows an incredibly scenic path full of bays, tunnels, gorges, and steep rocks that attract more and more international tourism.
A must-have item in the list of the 30 things to do in the province of Brescia in the spring is a visit to the Paper Mill Valley and Paper Museum in Toscolano Maderno. This place suspended in time is a magnificent example of industrial archaeology. One of the things that catches visitors’ eyes are the ruins of dozens of small buildings along the river, which were once paper manufacturing sites and are now abandoned.
The circuit includes a wonderful hike in nature and silence showcasing meadows, gorges, and the old hydroelectric plant in the Gatto hamlet. The trail is suitable for all ages. A recommended stop is Paper Museum, a centre of national relevance.
Do you like hiking and nature? Then put your backpack on your shoulders and head toward Lago della Vacca and Tita Secchi mountain hut! Once you get there, you will be enchanted by the stunning view, especially Cornone del Blumone mountain reflected in the waters of the artificial lake. The very popular excursion destination is located between Caffaro Valley and Camonica Valley, at 2358 m of altitude. The hike requires adequate mountain gear and a minimum of physical preparation.
Fun fact: the lake owes its name to the cow-shaped boulder visible from the trail, that hikers consider the place’s “mascot”.
This evocative mountain town at the foot of Mount Maniva and steps from Lake Idro is known for Bagòss, the typical local cheese produced according to an old traditional ritual. We recommend having lunch in one of the town’s osterias to taste the best bagòss-based dishes made according to local recipes. Then, visit the imposing Church of San Giorgio with paintings by Titian and Tintoretto.
Spring is the perfect season to have fun at Parco delle Fucine e Ferrate di Casto. Between hiking, climbing, and trails at different difficulty levels, you will spend a day enjoying nature and exciting children activities, including adventure trails and two Tibetan bridges. You can’t miss the trail in the forest that will lead you to the ruins of the old forges. The park is equipped with food stands and equipment rental facilities.
An imposing fortification perched over Lake Idro, Rocca d’Anfo can be visited from April to October. It’s an exciting journey through the history of this grandiose complex and its tunnels, walls, towers, barracks, and views. A new fantastic way to visit the fortification is aboard an e-bike! Plan your visit now and… don’t forget your camera!
Travel in time to discover one of the main historic economic activities of the valley: iron mining. The tunnels that once saw thousands of men at work today can be visited accompanied by expert guides who will lead you into the heart of the mountain! For added fun, you can play with ropes and pulleys at the new adventure parks and visit museums with rich collections of old photos and artifacts.
The excitement continues in the city with Brescia Underground’s urban hiking. Visit the city’s underground infrastructure and admire rivers, canals, and streams that used to be important commercial roads.
We finally reach one of the prides of the province of Brescia. We are talking about Monte Isola, the largest lake island in Europe and one of the Most Beautiful Small Towns in Italy. Another recent award was its third place in the “European Best Destination 2019” list.
A traditional springtime excursion, Monte Isola has many options to choose from. You can enjoy an aperitif by the lake in the picturesque village of Peschiera Maraglio, hike to the top to visit Madonna della Ceriola Shrine and admire a 360-degree view of Lake Iseo and the start of Franciacorta, visit the Fishing Net Museum inside the old net manufacturing workshop, or taste typical local products like olive oil, sun-dried sardines, and salami. Monte Isola is a true treasure trove for tourists. Sports enthusiasts can rent a bike and ride the island’s perimeter (about 9 km) amidst heavenly landscapes by the lake on smog and traffic-free roads. Indeed, only scooters and bikes are allowed in Monte Isola.
The Zone Pyramids natural reserve showcases a rather unique erosion phenomenon. Over the centuries, this process has created these famous rock pyramids, some almost 30 m tall with large boulders at the top. Access to the reserve is free. The trail is easy and suitable for children.
From Ponte di Legno, Oglio River crosses the provinces of Brescia, Bergamo, Cremona, and Mantua before flowing into Po River in proximity to Torre d’Oglio. This river characterises most of Brescia’s landscape. One of the most charming areas for a hike or a bike ride is Parco dell’Oglio Nord, a natural area stretching from where the river flows out of Lake Iseo to Seniga-Gabbioneta.
Every year, three large lakes in Brescia attract water sports enthusiasts. There are several activities to choose from: kite surf, sailing, canoeing, scuba diving, fishing, and challenging canyoning trails in the water streams. One of the most celebrated sports events is Centomiglia. The famous regatta is held every year in the waters of Gardone Riviera with the participation of over 200 sailboats.
Lake Idro is gaining traction among extreme sports lovers. We are not only talking about water sports: windsurfing, paragliding, and free climbing are some preferred activities in this still partially pristine land.
From Franciacorta to Lake Garda, from the city to Camonica Valley and Ponte di Legno, there are several golf courses in the province of Brescia: find the one closest to you!
Among noteworthy religious buildings in the province of Brescia, Montichiari Cathedral stands out for its beauty and magnificence. In contains several treasures such as The Last Supper by Romanino, an old Antegnati organ, and a splendid 16th century wooden crucifix.
Bonoris Castle is another very important attraction in Montichiari. The original core was built around 1100 A.D. The castle was subsequently bought by Count Bonoris, who started the reconstruction in Gothic Revival style, giving the structure a unique medieval-meets-fairy tale architecture. This evocative style is still visible today thanks to the restoration project promoted by the municipality.
Every third Sunday of the month, Padernello Castle hosts Mercati della Terra by Slow Food. It’s an opportunity to learn about and promote natural local produce and dishes. There is no better venue than this well preserved and maintained fortification, whose tours are made possible by a volunteer association.
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