Roman ruins and ancient churches - Scaling the Alps to the Italian Lakes - Tally Gals - CycleBlaze

September 17, 2023

Roman ruins and ancient churches

Our destination today Brescia, cool Roman ruins and early churches. Along the way we stopped at the Monastery of Maguzzano. Today’s ride had more roads with traffic, a dirt/ rocky path, bike trails along a waterway and then a lovely bike path into the city of Brescia.  We went through several small towns and lots of farming countryside. St one point we came to a place where construction had closed the road we were supposed to take. We tried a couple work arounds to get around the construction but they didn’t work so we ended up just rerouting ourselves on a marked bike route and meeting up with the tour route later on. We were really impressed that we could get into the heart of the city on bike paths or separated bike lanes. The weather was warm and sunny. We have been really lucky with the weather thus far on the trip.

Checking out the new bike. Yay! This one goes in power levels other than tour!
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The Monastery of Maguzzano 

The abbey was founded by Benedictine monks in the 9th century but was destroyed and subsequently rebuilt twice. In 1797 the monastery was suppressed following the Napoleonic decrees and then passed into private hands.  Later the abbey was entrusted to a community of Trappists and currently hosts a community of the Poor Servants of Divine Providence  of Don Calabria .

Riding up to the Monastery
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Sometimes you just need a butt break along the trail and just have to get off that bike seat!

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Roman Ruins in Brescia

As we were riding in to Brescia we came upon some Roman ruins. Some of the most important monuments of the Roman town are concentrated in the archaeological area. Remains of religious buildings are present on different levels; most evident today is the Capitolium, which was dedicated in AD 73. 

The remains of the Capitolium temple were reconstructed in the early 19th century to create Brescia's first museum.  Later, in the 20th century, the temple pronaos was rebuilt, with a pediment featuring many of the original remains, including an inscription bearing the name of the emperor Vespasian.

East of the Capitolium stands the Roman Theatre, while to the south may be seen remains of the principal east-west street of the Roman town, the decumanus maximus. On the other side of this road lay the Roman forum, of which some of the eastern portico walls are still visible.

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When we were exploring the piazza in Brescia we noticed something quite strange down an alleyway … 

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A suspended rhinoceros!
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Lynn WalkerVery realist and true statement, the rhinoceros is a good visual for life and how we handle the obstacles of life.
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1 week ago

Description given - The weight of suspended time speaks of a human condition, of a state of mind. The work conceived almost twenty years ago remains extremely relevant, especially in this period where the Covid emergency arouses in all of us a feeling of suspension and uncertainty; the perception of time changes as our lifestyle and the relationship with others changes. The rhino becomes a metaphor for the weight we have to bear and the fact that the animal is harnessed and suspended in thin air emphasizes this momentary detachment from our habits and certainties.

An unexpected fact, an extreme pain - like an extreme joy - so that, in some way we get out of ourselves, out of our body in search of a privileged point of view from which to observe ourselves in relation to others and to the world that hosts us. We are the rhinoceros, at this moment suspended, harnessed and stuck, but ready to put our feet back on the ground. Stefano Bombardieri with his works tries to create displacement, surprise, not pretentious to give answers, but pushes us to question ourselves by asking ourselves questions that go beyond.

Socks anyone???
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We had lunch in the piazza  in front of the cathedrals. 

Double locking our bikes on the Piazza in Brescia
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Our whole crew for this tour. We go different ways tomorrow, some to Venice and some to Florence.
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Lynn WalkerGreat picture of the crew!!
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1 week ago


Duomo Nuovo - The New Cathedral

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Lynn WalkerGorgeous! The architecture is magnificent.
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1 week ago
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The new cathedral in contrast with the old cathedral
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Construction began on the Nuovo Duomo in 1604 at the site where the paleo-Christian 5th-6th century basilica of San Pietro de Dom was located.  Work was interrupted during a season of plague around 1630.

Work slowly but sporadically restarted on the construction, but the final impetus for completion came in the nineteenth century. The dome was as completed in 1825. The 80 meter dome is one of the highest in Italy.

The present dome was rebuilt after destruction during the Second World War. The facade contains statues of the Virgin of the Assumption and Saints Peter, Paul, James, and John.

The interior contains a monument to the Brescian Pope Paul VI, found on the left transept. The statue (1975) is a work by Raffaele Scorzelli.

Duomo Vecchio - Old Cathedral

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The (Duomo Nuovo) Baroque church towers over the small round and rustic Romanesque church of the Old Cathedral of Brescia (Duomo Vecchio).  It is officially known as the Winter Co-Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, while the adjacent main cathedral is known as the Summer Cathedral.

It is one of the most important examples of Romanesque round church in Italy. Early documents state that construction of the cathedral started about 1100 on the site of a prior church with a basilica layout. It has a circular shape that became rare after the Council of Trent, and is one of the most prominent round churches of the period still remaining

Near the entrance, rests the sarcophagus of Bishop Berardo Maggi (1308) made of red marble

We ended the day with a train ride from Brescia back to Desenzano, all of about 15 minutes on the train.

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Putting our bikes into the storage area at the hotel for the last time. On to new adventures.
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Last visit to our favorite Gelateria in Desenzano. Gelato for dessert!
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Today's ride: 31 miles (50 km)
Total: 193 miles (311 km)

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