The city’s Winter Co-Cathedral
The Duomo vecchio (Old Cathedral) retains its original Romanesque layout, despite extensions over the centuries. Dedicated to Santa Maria Assunta, it is Brescia’s Winter Co-cathedral, which stands adjacent to the Summer Co-Cathedral, the Duomo nuovo (New Cathedral). It was built from the 11th century on the site of the former church of Santa Maria Maggiore de Dom.
The building, nicknamed the Rotunda because of its circular shape with a central layout inspired by the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, is made of local Medolo stone and consists of two overlapping cylindrical structures. The lower part is a vast ambulatory, featuring a sequence of twin windows, on which the upper drum is set with smaller windows, interspersed with pilasters. An imposing bell tower was planned at the current entrance, but it collapsed in 1708, making the structure more fragile. It originally had two entrances at street level, leading into the church through a now closed passage once home to the baptismal font. The current entrance dates back to 1571 and was rebuilt in Baroque style following the tower’s collapse.
The building contains renowned works, including a tomb by Bonino da Campione, the organ by Giangiacomo Antegnati, the marble sarcophagus of Berardo Maggi, bishop and first lord of Brescia, and a cycle of paintings by Moretto and Romanino.