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Brescia's origins can be traced to the Bronze
Age, but the city's importance began latter when it was the
capital of the Cenomani Gauls of Brixia. For instance, by 1200
B.C. the first settlement was made, probably by the Liguri
tribe, on the Cidnean Hill and by IV century B.C. the Gallic
Cenomani tribe settled at the foot of the Cidnean Hill and made
the town their centre.
By 187 BC the Romans ruled the area, but it
was only in 49 BC, under Julius Ceaser, that Brescia obtained
full Roman citizenship.
It followed a long period of peace and
economic as well as cultural splendour, in which Brescia became
of the main Cisalpine centres and took on growing importance as
a trading and manufacturing centre, thanks to the strength of
its economy based on agriculture, trade, marble quarries and
iron mines. For instance, by 27 B.C. Emperor Augustus conferred
the title "Colonia Civica Augusta" to the town.
With the fall of the Roman Empire, Brescia
suffered the curse of barbarian invasions with the Eruli,
Ostrogoths and Byzantines.
Under the Lombards for two centuries the city
was the site of one of the most important Lombard duchies.
Important civil and religious centres were constructed, such as
the monastic complex of San Salvatore and Santa Giulia.
Then it followed the Frankish domination of
Charlemagne, which lasted until 888.
Following the disintegration of Charlemagne's
empire, the city entered a dark period that left few traces.
Between the XII and XIII centuries, the city
became a free comune and was a Guelph town between the two
Ghibelline towns of Bergamo and Cremona. Faced by the danger of
Federico Barbarossa, it joined the Lombard league. These
centuries were a period of great building activity: a new circle
of wall was built and the Duomo Vecchio and Broletto date from
During the Period of the Signorie, XIV and XV
century the city came under the domination of powerful noble
families such as the Angioini, Visconti, and Malatesta.
In 1426 Brescia became part of the Venetian
Republic where it remained, with short breaks, for four
centuries until 1796.
Under Venice's liberal rule, the city
experienced a period of splendour and economic development:
Piazza della Loggia, and many churches and noble palazzi were
built, together with the construction of the new fortified
Towards the end of the 17th century, the city
began to feel the effects of Venice's political decline as it
constituted an area of easy transit for foreign troops who
sacked and pillaged house, churches and antique buildings.
In 1797, Brescia rebelled against Venice and
was included by Napoleon in the Cisalpine Republic.
Later, Austria incorporated Brescia into its
own territory until 1859 becoming one of the centres active with
In 1849, the Brescian revolutionaries
rebelled and resisted the Austrian for ten dramatic days, which
won it the name of the "Lioness of Italy".
Austrian domination ended with the Wars of
Finally, in 1859, Brescia was annexed to the
Kingdom of Italy and the city's history has been tied to that of
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