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Breno, Province of Brescia, Lombardy

Breno is the historical capital of the Valcamonica, which is the valley formed by the river Oglio before it forms Lake Iseo.
The area is famous for its important petroglyphs made by the Camunni population from around 20,000 BC, included among the UNESCO World Heritage Sites as examples of rock art. The valley is surrounded by Alpine summits over 3000 mt high, as the Adamello group (3539 m) and Punta San Matteo (3678 m), and is an important tourist destination both in summer and in winter.

Info

  • Altitude: 343 m a.s.l
  • Population: about 5,000 inhabitants
  • Zip/postal code: 25043
  • Dialing Area Code: +39 0364
  • Patron Saint: St. Valentino, celebrated on 14 February
  • Frazioni & Localities: Astrio, Mezzarro, Pescarzo, Pilo Campogrande
  • Official Website of the Comune of Breno: http://www.comune.breno.bs.it/
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Provinces of Lombardy

History - Antiquity

Originally inhabited by Ligurian populations coming from southern France, in the 6th century AD Breno was occupied by Celts from central Europe, called "Camuni", after whom the whole valley Valcamonica is named. The area was conquered by the Romans in 16 BC, and had a remarkable importance as a transit itinerary from the northern provinces of the Roman Empire.

History - the Middle Ages and Modern Times

In the early Middle Ages the valley was first under the Lombards, then under the Franks who built the castle. In 1291 the province of Brescia was under the influence of the Visconti of Milan, then after a war between Milan and Venice, the province passed under the Republic of Venice, and was divided into 10 cantons, one of them being the Valcamonica, with capital Breno. In 1797 when Napoleon sold Venice and therefore all its possessions to Austria.

What to see

  • The Museo Archeologico della Valle Camonica, or Museo Camuna, collection of items documenting the history of the region.
  • The Castle, rising on a place where 20,000 years of human settlements left their traces. Recently a tomb dated 4000 BC was discovered at the foot of the castle, and on the hill slope other traces of 9000 BC. The medieval fortress was built in the 12th century AD, wiping away a large part of the previous settlements.
  • The parish church of the Santissimo Salvatore, built in the 16th century and renovated in the 19th, with a majestic portal and imposing bell tower in granite stone, with frescoes in the interior by Antonio Guadagnini from Esine (1817-1900).