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The province of Brescia
The province of Brescia lies in Lombardy; it is wide and rich in proposals ranging from mountains to lakes, from nature to food and wine, from spas to towns and art villages. The main attractions are lakes Garda, Iseo and Idro, the beautiful alpine valleys Valcamonica, Valtrompia and Valsabbia and the city of art Brescia. The panorama is completed with a plain characterized by rivers and castles, and by excellence corners such as Franciacorta and Valtenesi.
Whenever visitors go, there are beautiful landscapes, dotted with castles, magnificent places, medieval towns, grand churches, abbeys. Three sites in this area belong to the Unesco World Heritage list. The vibrant cities are a delight, with excellent shopping, outstanding museums, and cultural festivals and entertainments.
With sunny beaches, mild climate and Mediterranean vegetation, Lake Garda, the largest Italian one , is like a small sea set between the last slopes of Alps and the Po valley. Historical towns and the beautiful landscape turn Lake Garda into one of the most popular destinations in Italy. Nature, history, art, culture, sport blend here to offer unique experiences. Thermal and wellness centers also contribute to the attraction of the area. The Italian food culture expresses itself here with remarkable wines, olive oil and fish specialties.
Sirmione is an ancient fishing village nestled on a peninsula sticking out into the water of Lake Garda for about 4 km, in a beautiful natural setting. Known for its health-given spa water since ancient times, it is a resort of international fame. Tourists from all over the world enjoy the hot springs, the mild climate and the various cultural, natural and food and wine attractions.
Thanks to an intelligent environment management, Sirmione has earned several times the “Blue Flag”, awarded to locations that stand out for water quality, clean beaches and level of tourist services.
The town is rich in artistic and historical treasures embedded in the romantic atmosphere of its narrow streets and small squares closed to private traffic. The imposing Rocca Scaligera (Castle), erected in the XIII century by Mastino I della Scala, lord of Verona, dominates the town entrance. Completely surrounded by water, the castle is a miniature architectural jewel of towers, courtyards and drawbridge. The churches Sant’Anna della Rocca (second half of XIV century.), Santa Maria Maggiore (XV century), San Pietro in Mavino (mentioned in documents of the VIII century) are of great artistic importance.
A pleasant walk through olive groves leads to the Grotte di Catullo, the remains of the largest uncovered Roman villa in northern Italy. The archaeological site is dedicated to the poet Catullus who is said to having spent most of his life here. The villa should have been one of those used by the Roman Emperors on their journeys around the northern provinces.
Several poets and writers have been guests of this beautiful peninsula such as Joyce and Pound. Maria Callas used to live here in the period 1950 – 1959, during her marriage to Giovanni Battista Meneghini.
Montichiari is located in the upper Po Valley, about twenty kilometers far from Brescia and it is the third most populous town in the province.
The first reports date back to 382 AD and 447 AD, respectively when the village was destroyed by Alaric, king of the Goths, and Attila the Hun. It later passed to the domination of the Longbard people. In the Middle Ages it was a feud and since 1167 a free municipality. In 1404 it came under the influence of the Visconti family of Milan. In 1426 the Serenissima Republic of Venice settled until 1797.
This area has been involved in many of the conflicts arisen for the domination of Italy and it has witnessed important battles. In particular the city has been honoured for the constant work of assistance to the wounded given by the entire population during the battles of Solferino and San Martino (1859) fought by the Franco-Sardinian alliance against the Austrian army as part of the Italian Risorgimento.
In the early 1900′s Montichiari became an important centre for motor races. The First Grand Prix of Italy took place here in 1921 and also Enzo Ferrari took part in it. In 1909 in the moor area Fascia d’Oro the first air show took place, attended by the poet Gabriele D’Annunzio and the writer Franz Kafka.
In Montichiari you can visit interesting monuments and museums; among them we mention the cathedral of S. Maria Assunta (XVIII cent.), the Pieve of San Pancrazio (V cent.), Bonoris Castle, the PAST (Palace of Archaeology and History of the Territory), Museum Giacomo Bergomi and Pinacoteca Pasinetti.