The castle of Brescia is a medieval fortress perched on the hill Cidneo, close to the historical center of the city of Brescia.
For anyone coming to Brescia, from any direction, is the imposing stony mass of the Castle to mark the panoramic profile of the city. The complex of fortifications, occupying an area of about 300×250 meters, is one of the largest in Italy, and completely covers the hill Cidneo. Having never had a specific function as a feudal castle, much less a noble residence, you immediately notice how the fortress, well inserted in the city context, is richer in buildings of cult and military character rather than residential and directional structures in the strict sense of the term.
The castle is accessed via an imposing sixteenth-century monumental portal, attributed to Giulio Savorgnan and built on the inspiration of the military architecture of Michele Sanmicheli, adorned with a large Lion of San Marco and the coats of arms of the Venetian rectors. On the sides you can admire the bastions of San Faustino (on the left) and San Marco (on the right). Crossing the entrance, following the path to the right you reach the bastion of San Pietro, also meeting a sixteenth-century well to which were affixed, in 1890, two stone lions of the sculptor Domenico Ghidoni. Following the path to the left, instead, you notice first the bell tower of the former sanctuary of Santo Stefano Nuovo, then skirting the Haynau building, so called because from here, in 1849, the Habsburg Marshal Julius Jacob von Haynau directed the military operations against the Brescian insurrection. On the large square above the bastion of San Faustino is a characteristic steam locomotive, one of the symbols of the Castle, which at the beginning of the twentieth century carried out the route Brescia-Edolo. On the right, near the long building of the officers, there is the mouth of the Soccorso road. Beyond the buildings of the Piccolo Miglio, today an exhibition venue, and the Grande Miglio, where the Museo del Risorgimento is housed. Here is also the entrance to the covered passage that leads to the fifteenth-century tower Coltrina.
Climb the ramp to reach the fourteenth-century wall with entrance with double drawbridge: on the right rises the tower of Prisoners. Proceeding on the left, it runs along the keep, inside the wall of which we can still see traces of Ghibelline crenellation. Finally we reach the northern gardens, with the top of the Coltrina tower on the left, the Martyrs’ pit in the center (where some Resistance exponents were shot in 1945) and, on the right, the French tower. Otherwise, from the fourteenth-century drawbridge, you can reach the top of the fortress with the square of the Mirabella Tower, where you also have access to the keep that houses the Luigi Marzoli Weapons Museum. Inside, moreover, the remains of the foundations of the Roman temple are visible.