A province of Italy, in Lom-bardy, bounded N. by Bergamo and Tyrol, E. by Verona and Mantua, S. by Cremona, W. by Lodi and Bergamo; area, 1,784 sq. m.; pop. in 1871, 450,750. The province is mountainous or hilly in the north, and level in the south. It is watered by the Oglio, and its affluents the Mella and Chiese. It embraces Lake Iseo and borders on Lake Garda. The soil is highly fertile. One of the most important branches of industry is the production and manufacture of silk; wool of superior quality is also produced. There are manufactures of woollen and cotton goods, metals, and porcelain. Brescia has long been famous for its iron and steel manufactures, especially of weapons and firearms, whence it was called in former times VArmata. Wheat, maize, hay, butter, cheese, flax, wine, oil, and chestnuts are important productions. The trade of the province is principally carried on in the capital. Among the principal towns are Lonato, Montechiaro, and Salo. II. A city (anc. Brixia), capital of the province, 50 m. E. by N of Milan; pop. in 1871, 38,906. It stands on the rivers Mella and Garza, at the foot of a hill. The strong castle on the top of the hill was in former times called the falcon of Lombardy. It is a well built town, noted for its numerous fountains.
It is connected by rail way. with Verona and other Italian cities, and by the railway through the Brenner pass of the Alps with Austria and the rest of Europe. The ancient cathedral and the other churches contain many paintings of the great Italian masters. The new cathedral, or duomo nuovo, was begun in 1601, but the vaulting of the cupola was only completed in 1825. The chief ornament of the church of Santa Afra is " The Woman taken in Adultery," by Titian. Among the public buildings is the palazzo della Loggia in the piazza Vecchia, intended for the town hall, the beautiful facade of which suffered much from bombardment in 1849. The palazzo Tosi contains, among many famous pictures, the "Saviour," by Raphael. The picture galleries in the palazzi Averoldi, Fenaroli, Lecchi, Martenigo, and in other palaces, are noted for their artistic attractions. A whole street, the corso del Teatro, has the fronts of the second stories decorated with Scriptural, mythological, and historical paintings. The Quirini library, founded in the middle of the 18th century by Cardinal Quirini, contains nearly 100,000 volumes, besides a vast collection of manuscripts and objects of antiquity.
The most unique monument of Brescia is the cemetery (campo santo), the finest in Italy, built in 1810. Brescia is the seat of the provincial government, of a bishopric, and of a tribunal of commerce. There are various'charitable institutions, a theological seminary, gymnasia, a lyceum, a botanical garden, cabinets of antiquities and natural history, an agricultural society, several academies (the philharmonic being one of the oldest in Italy), a casino, a fine theatre, and a large structure outside of the town for the annual fair. A Roman temple of marble was excavated in the vicinity in 1822. - The town was originally inhabited by the Oenomani, and under the Romans became a flourishing colony of Trans-padane Gaul. It was pillaged by Attila, and eventually passed into the hands of the Lombards. Otho the Great raised it to the rank of a free imperial city. It joined the Lombard league against Frederick Barbarossa, was besieged by Frederick II., was for a long time distracted by the contests between the Guelphs and the Ghibellines, and many times changed masters.
In 1426 it was taken by Oarmagnola; in 1438 besieged by Picinino; in 1509 it surrendered to the French; in 1512 it rose against the conquerors, but was recaptured and sacked by Gaston de Foix. Occupied soon after by Venice, it remained in possession of that republic till its downfall in 1797. During the Napoleonic era it was the capital of the department of Mella, and in 1814 was made over to Austria. In 1849 the Brescians rose against Austria; the town was bombarded, March 30, by Haynau, and held out until noon of April 2, when it was compelled to surrender, and to pay a ransom of $1,200,000. After the war of 1859 the city and province were incorporated with the kingdom of Italy.