A holiday immersed in history, culture, and breathtaking beauty. The cultural, monumental, and archaeological heritage of Brescia and its province is invaluable. These outdoor sites stand against exceptional, world-renowned landscapes. Rediscover locations that you already visited and see a preview of new magical places that you will want to include in your next travel itinerary.
Come with us to learn about the most evocative outdoor cultural sites in the province of Brescia.
There are no less than four UNESCO sites in the Brescia province. First, there are the 8 archaeological and rock engraving parks in Camonica Valley, including Naquane Park which boasts a double record: it was the first Italian archaeological park and the first Italian site to be included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1979.
The Alpine arc pile dwellings are also a World Heritage Site. They are located in Lavagnone (between Desenzano and Lonato), Lucone di Polpenazze, and Manerba del Garda. The site includes 111 pile dwelling villages spread across Austria, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, and Slovenia. 3 of these important remains are found in our morainic hills.
Since 2011, the city of Brescia has boasted a UNESCO World Heritage Site: the monumental / archaeological area of San Salvatore – Santa Giulia and the Capitolium temple in Via Musei, in the heart of Roman Brixia. This journey back to 2,000 years ago is enhanced by the Art Glass virtual experience, extraordinary augmented reality tours to admire the Capitoline Temple, Domus dell’Ortaglia Roman villa, and San Salvatore church as they appear when they were first built.
Finally, in 2018 the UNESCO-MAB designation was granted to the 1,360 sq km area stretching from Lake Iseo to the Adamello Glacier, under the name “Valle Camonica-Alto Sebino Biosphere Reserve”.
Your open-air immersion continues in Brescia’s historic centre where a relaxing stroll will reveal ancient districts and marvellous squares such as Carmine old district, Piazza Loggia, Piazza Vittoria, Palazzo del Broletto , Piazza Paolo VI and its two Cathedrals. Brescia Castle is a highly recommended visit. This medieval fortress is a symbol of the city an a romantic location from where to admire an extraordinary view of the city and unforgettable sunsets. The castle is easy to reach on foot from Via Musei. Alternatively, you can use the convenient free parking lot right outside the walls.
In between strolls, take your time for some more mundane activities: Brescia is ready for you with its popular shopping district and many bars with outdoor tables to enjoy a refreshing pirlo aperitif.
Lake Garda is a land rich in art, culture, and invaluable archaeological remains. Among the most representative examples of ancient residential Roman villas, Catullus Grottoes in Sirmione are an absolute must for all tourists visiting lower Lake Garda. Slightly less known but equally noteworthy is Desenzano’s Roman Villa, another grandiose example of residential villa, with extraordinary mosaic floor portions.
The next stop is Manerba del Garda with its famous Rocca (castle); a beautiful itinerary suitable for everyone runs along old fortifications up to the large cross at the top, one of the most evocative panoramic spots of the whole lake. As you gaze at the lake, you will see Isola del Garda, a green oasis of luxuriant vegetation dominated by the elegant villa built at the beginning of the 20th century. It is open to the public through guided tours.
More surprising discoveries await in Gardone Riviera and Gargnano; to name a few: Giardino Botanico André Heller botanic garden, the garden of Vittoriale degli Italiani, and elegant Villa Bettoni with its monumental Italian garden.
From Torbiere del Sebino peat bog natural reserve to the old fishermen villages in Monte Isola, Franciacorta and Lake Iseo offer a wide variety of enticing open air experiences. Among the most interesting cultural experiences is Parco delle Sculture di Franciacorta, a 61,000-hectare natural park with 13 magnificent sculptures made by artists under 30 from all over the world. The park is a portion of the Albereta Relaix & Chateaux property, one of the most luxurious accommodation facilities in Franciacorta and home for 20 years of celebrated Chef Gualtiero Marchesi.
Ramparts surrounded by peaceful nature, exclusive wall walks, misterious towers. The province of Brescia is dotted with castles and fortifications. For example, you have Padernello Castle, one of the most visited attractions in Brescia’s plain, Breno Castle with its spectacular view of the mountains of Camonica Valley, and Bornato Castle, one of the best preserved in Franciacorta, surrounded by a splendid park with centuries-old trees. Rocca Scaligera in Sirmione, is also a true gem. It is strategically positioned at the entrance of the old town and is open to the public.
Finally, you also have the possibility to visit Rocca d’Anfo, an outstanding fortification dating from the 15th century built on several levels and perched over Lake Idro. It was recently restored and is not safe to visit.
Brescia is ready for you with its incredible outdoor gems. Check the Useful Information section and plan your visit now.