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Old Cathedral, Brescia

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Discover the Charm of Old Cathedral in Brescia

If you're planning a trip to Brescia, Italy, make sure to include a visit to the Old Cathedral, also known as the Duomo Vecchio or La Rotonda. This Roman Catholic church is a hidden gem that offers a unique blend of historical significance and architectural beauty. Let's dive into the captivating world of the Old Cathedral and explore what makes it a must-visit destination.

Historical Significance and Architectural Features

The Old Cathedral dates back to the 12th century and is considered one of the most prominent round churches of its time. Its circular layout, which became rare after the Council of Trent, adds to its architectural allure. The church stands next to the Duomo Nuovo (New Cathedral) of Brescia, creating a striking contrast between the rustic circular Romanesque design of the Old Cathedral and the grandeur of its neighboring counterpart.

Inside the Old Cathedral, you'll find 13th-century frescoes adorning the walls, showcasing the artistic talent of the time. One of the highlights is a large canvas by Francesco Maffei, depicting the church with a bell tower that has unfortunately collapsed over the years. The church also houses the medieval Crypt of San Filastrio, dedicated to the beatified Brescian bishop.

Things to Do and See

As you explore the Old Cathedral, take a moment to admire the stunning artworks it houses. Look out for the paintings by renowned artists such as Moretto da Brescia, Gerolamo Romanino, and Francesco Maffei. These masterpieces, including "l'Assunta" and "Gathering Manna," offer a glimpse into the rich artistic heritage of Brescia.

Don't miss the opportunity to visit the chapel that houses notable relics, adding a touch of spirituality to your visit. The Old Cathedral provides a serene atmosphere for reflection and contemplation, allowing you to connect with the history and spirituality of the place.

Fun Facts and Tips

  • The Old Cathedral is also known as "La Rotonda" due to its round layout, reminiscent of ancient Roman architecture.
  • The church is officially known as the Winter Co-Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, while the adjacent Duomo Nuovo is known as the Summer Cathedral.
  • The Old Cathedral was constructed on the site of a prior church with a basilica layout, with construction starting around 1100.
  • The entrance portal is one of the few remaining additions from the 19th century, as many other additions were removed to restore the medieval building's original charm.

When to Visit

The Old Cathedral is open to visitors throughout the year, allowing you to explore its historical and architectural wonders at your convenience. Consider visiting during weekdays to avoid crowds and fully immerse yourself in the tranquil ambiance of the church.

Brescia itself is a city with a rich cultural heritage, offering a plethora of attractions to explore. After visiting the Old Cathedral, take a stroll through the charming streets of Brescia, indulge in local cuisine, and discover the city's other historical landmarks.

Unveiling the Beauty of Old Cathedral

The Old Cathedral in Brescia is a testament to the city's rich history and architectural prowess. Its circular design, stunning frescoes, and notable artworks make it a captivating destination for history enthusiasts and art lovers alike. Plan your visit to Brescia and immerse yourself in the charm of the Old Cathedral, where the past comes alive in a truly remarkable way.

Updated on 27 May 2024

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