Santa Giulia

Top choice in Brescia

You could spend a whole day in this monster of a museum housed in an ex-monastery and still have plenty left for another visit. Those with limited time should skip to the best bits headlined by Brescia’s extraordinary Roman remains and an original church dating from the 8th century AD. Other exhibits include the history of the building itself, medieval jewels (including the early-Christian Croce di Desiderius) and remnants from Brescia’s Venetian era.

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.

Other highlights of the monastery range from 1st-century-AD bronzes (including a beautifully rendered Winged Victory) to the Coro delle Monache (Nun's Choir), a marvellous two-storey chamber completed in the 16th century that is decorated with lavish frescoes.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Brescia attractions

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8. Duomo Nuovo

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