The jumbled Monastero di Santa Giulia and Basilica di San Salvatore is Brescia's single-most intriguing sight. Inside this rambling church and convent complex, the Museo della Città houses collections that run the gamut from prehistory to the age of Venetian dominance. Highlights include Roman mosaics and medieval jewels.
The building of the monastery, which started as early as the 8th century, absorbed two domus (Roman houses), which were left standing in what would become the monk's garden (Ortaglia) near the north cloister. The remains have become known as the Domus dell'Ortaglia. Raised walkways allow you to wander round the Domus di Dioniso (so called because of a mosaic of Dionysius, god of wine) and the Domus delle Fontane (named after two marble fountains). The beautiful floor mosaics and colourful frescoes in these two domus rank among the highlights of the monastery-museum.
The other star piece of the monastery collections is the 8th-century Croce di Desiderio, an extraordinary Lombard cross encrusted with hundreds of jewels.