At the foot of the Alps and an easy drive from Milan, Brescia offers a perfect Italian getaway. Joanna Savill nominates three top spots to stay while you are here.
Proudly touted as the only five-star hotel in town, this is Brescia’s grande dame. The fading glory of its neoclassic 1930s lines has its charms, from the small wooden lift and pleasant staff to heavy, brass door keys. Rooms are generous, with thick curtains, wood-panelled bedheads and white-tiled bathrooms. Bonuses: super-central location, good restaurant and a bar/breakfast café with prime position under Brescia’s porticos. Thursday aperitivo evenings on the terrace come with marvellous city views. More modern features include free wi-fi and parking (vital in any Italian city) and attractive online discounts.
20 Via XX Giornate,
Once something of a beacon in the red-light district, this cute rabbit warren of a hotel (three stars) has been carefully renovated without losing its 1890s appeal. Yes, you are slap-bang in the heart of Brescia’s nightlife so ask for an internal courtyard room if you’re planning an early night, particularly on weekends. But that’s all part of the fun, surely, as is the regularly chiming clock tower for which the hotel is named and rooftop glimpses from every room. Rooms are simply furnished with tiled floors and there’s a sweet little communal breakfast room and courtyard. And delightful staff.
17 Via Cesare Beccaria
Andrea Galdi is a careful, reliable and welcoming host who has steadily converted a multistorey house on one of the city’s loveliest streets, just above the centre on the way to the castle (yes, Brescia has one of those, somewhat appropriately housing an armament museum). It’s also right next to the must-visit Capitolium and Santa Giulia sites. Rooms are simple and scrupulously clean and breakfasts delicious (including baked goods from the Sarioli bakery). Borrow a bike and feel like a local. Free wi-fi.
75 Via dei Musei