With pride and pride, the Lion City opened the celebrations for “Brescia Bergamo Capital of Culture 2023”. A project that started from afar, then interrupted by the pandemic, which generously led to the addition of Bergamo, the most affected city and which, with great civic sense and closeness, prompted all the other Italian competitors to withdraw.
A sumptuous exhibition, curated by Matteo Ferrari, well set up, cultured but also didactic, which tells, as in a long film tape, the events of Brescia from the 12th century to the Lordships and the 19th century interpretation of the medieval myth. Brescia is also Brixia, this was the Latin name of Roman Brescia; an area perfectly valued and next to the Santa Giulia Museumcertainly one of the most well organized and innovative in Italy.
Both the Museum and the aforementioned archaeological area are Unesco heritage and this was another factor of attraction for the “city of the Lion”, assonant with the Lion of San Marco, in fact in its coat of arms there is a rampant lion.
It must be remembered that in the 1427 became a subject of Venice, and City of the Lion, not Lioness, as we all tend to call ourselves in school memories, due to the ode of Carducci on martyrdom but also on Victory in the Ten Days. The Poet interprets the value of the city by concluding: “Glad of Fate, Brescia, gather me, Brescia the strong, Brescia the iron, Brescia the lioness, drunk in enemy blood” .
And so the statue of Victory this is how an imposing find in the Roman area was immediately called, in bronze and dating back to the 1st century AD, which was welcomed with great jubilation by the Brescians, as were the Riace Bronzes and recently the small sculptures of San Casciano dei Bagni. The statue, in thirty fused parts, is a combination of strength and delicacy just like yesterday’s Brixia and today’s Brescia. Already then in 1826all Brescians, from the wealthiest to the least well-off, participated in the restoration with enthusiasm and kept it from the cravings of Napoleonwho fell madly in love with it but unable to get hold of it, had a copy made that is still preserved today at the Louvre.
The same generosity and enthusiasm that the city of the “Tondino”, but are offended to hear it defined in this way, its inhabitants and entrepreneurs, have shown. The owners of the 30 steel mills, always active in the Brescia area and who have made a concrete, effective contribution to the cultural rebirth of the city.
They tell me Stefano Karadiov and Francesca Bazoli, respectively director and president of the Brescia Musei Foundation, that their entrepreneur friends on missions abroad, even before promoting the Tondino, promoted the city of art, inviting their customers scattered all over the world to visit the city. In the briefcases there were loads of books on Roman and medieval Brescia and this certainly brought results: I noticed an incredible number of foreigners in the Capitolium, thanks to an excellent and suggestive archaeological restoration, signs, lights and paths also for the disabled and perfectly identifiable.
What is striking is precisely the love and pride of the city, communicated to me with joy and strength by the director who repeatedly referred to the fact that “his” Museum must be scientifically impeccable but also attractive And glamorous! Music to my ears, those who follow me know how much I hate the idea of dusty, moldy and sad places of culture, that is, those that the Taliban of culture like so much, a definition I coined several years ago.
The whole city meets these criteria with perfect streets, clean and coplanar sidewalks, without the slightest disruption, well-restored buildings even in the facades, with interventions prior to the various bonuses, churches that celebrate in Latin, with Gregorian chants, more music to my ears.
A day in Brescia is to immerse yourself in the most beautiful, civilized, proud Italy and for a healthy refreshment it is better to take a trip to the very interesting exhibition, open until the end of January 2023, with the title “The city of the Lion. Brescia in the age of municipalities and lordships”. Just a note to the director, president of the foundation and mayor, why not keep it opento throughout 2023the year of the appointment?
I forgot: the symbolic image of the Exhibition, which boasts numerous lenders, is the sublime one of the Madonna of Humility by Gentile da Fabriano, which he created in 1414 the Broletto frescoes and is the custodian of a universal beauty.