Desiderius, the last Lombard king, founded in 753 AD the female Benedictine monastery of San Salvatore, together with his wife Ansa. To this monumental complex – in which Alessandro Manzoni set his dramatization of the death of Ermengarda, Desiderius’ daughter who was rejected by Charlemagne – churches and other buildings were added over the centuries. This UNESCO World Heritage site tells the story of Brescia through 12.000 works and remarkable buildings, such as an archaeological area with two Roman domus, the Lombard Cathedral of San Salvatore and its crypt, the Romanesque oratory of Santa Maria in Solario and the Nuns’ choir. In the last of these the nuns kept the monastery treasure, of which still remain the Lipsanoteca, a precious ivory container for holy relics, and the Desiderius’ Cross, decorated with 212 gems, masterwork of Carolingian jewellery.
Via dei Musei, 81/b, 25121 Brescia
Recently returned to Brescia’s citizens after being closed for 9 years, Pinacoteca Tosio Martinengo reopens to the public presenting a new layout and extremely important works of art, from the Renaissance and its main representatives like Raphael and Lotto to the greatest 19th century painters. This museum brings Brescia more and more at the centre of cultural and tourist itineraries in Lombardy and northern Italy.
Situated on the ground floor of the thirteenth-century town hall, the Lucignano Museum collects a collection of sacred art works (13th - 18th century) from Tuscany, including a painting by the Sienese painter Bartolo di Fredi and one by the Renaissance painter Luca Signorelli.