At first glance, the Italian city of Brescia seems to be an industrial pole, not a lion’s pride. Lombardy’s second-largest city (Milan is first) is respected for its metallurgy and machine-tooling prowess and for Beretta, its firearms manufacturer. But the city center has a sprawling UNESCO World Heritage site and a 3,200-year-old history you can experience on winding streets and splendid piazzas. Brescia offers tourists everything they might want in the quest for dolce vita – food, wine, shopping, sites, culture, and antiquity.
In Italy, Brescia is known as the Leonessa d’Italia (Italian Lioness). The name was bestowed by Italian poet Giosuè Carducci in 1849, after the city rebelled against its Austrian conquerors and fought them for 10 bloody days before being forced to yield. (It’s like “Remember the Alamo” for Americans).