Montichiari

Montichiari, a town full of history and a florid economy, is situated in the Brescian level land in a nice position between the Lake Garda and Brescia. There is information from the Middle Ages even though most of its development occurred after the year 1000. Protagonist of the Lombard Medieval history it is part of the field of the Republic of Venice where it remained until its downfall in 1797.
Since then it has stayed bond to the Risorgimento movement and wars of independence. Napoleon I in 1805 went over his army camping in this large moor. Montichiari then had an important role in the battle of S. Martino and Solferino in 1859: there, in fact, the military strategy of the battle was established and the rear guard of Piedmont and French army was quartered.

Today it is a modern town that includes attractions beginning with the Cathedral. The building is dedicated to S. Maria Assunta and for its size and importance dominates Piazza Garibaldi. The laying of the first brick occurred on 5th September 1729. In 1765, to complete the frontispiece, the statue of the Assunta was placed in the middle, the one of S. Giorgio south and that of S. Pancrazio north. In 1785 the strong dome that was terminated in 1796 was risen, and it was enriched of a precious statue of the blessing redeemer in golden copper. On the high altar you can see an altar-piece representing above the assumption of Virgin Mary and beneath the surprised group of Apostles, a piece of art painted in 1778 by Giuseppe Pirovano.

Another important monument is the castle. Before this construction was built, around the year 1000, the communal Fortress that will have a lot of importance later, over the centuries, for the defense of the territory and its inhabitants. The old fortified castle was knocked down by Brescia in 1168 that made it become a mound of ruins that remained until last century. In 1890 the City of Montichiari gave the fortress and its surrounding land to the Brescian Count Gaetano Bonoris (1861-1923), wealthy owner of the area, with the obligation of rebuilding the fortress into the shape of a castle
The castle is surrounded by a profuse vegetation that included numerous varieties of prestigious essences and centenary trees. The eastern part is covered by thick woods, while a delicate Italian style garden is found in the northern part. The part of more consistent land is occupied by a magnificent and rich park (2,200 square meters) that just lately has become property of the City of Montichiari.
The Parish Churh of S. Pancrazio. Its origin goes back to the 5th or 6th century, and it was probably built in the same place in which a pagan temple existed before. The church was dedicated to Saint Pancrazio, young fourteen year old boy martyred during the persecution of Diocletian in Rome in the third century. The Parish Churh still presents itself as a romantic construction of great charm, from the external compact linear structure. The entire building is made with well-squared ashlars of hot topaz coloured medolo; the face plaints the inside repartition in three naves. The addition of the bell tower, in 1693, does not alter the purity of lines of the Pieve. The inside presents itself of a wonderful simplicity, of classic bare lines.

In the town centre we have the Social Theatre that was inaugurated the evening of 18th October 1890 with the representation of the lyrical opera "Il Trovatore" by Giuseppe Verdi. In 1996 it had to go through long and significant work of redecoration.

In the countryside of Montichiari there is a very important sanctuary, even from the international point of view, that is the Madonna of the Fontanelle or Mystic Rose. The landscape is placed among soft hills where, in the middle, there is a spring of water that for some years has taken a remarkable religious importance, after the appearances of Virgin Mary witnessed by a local woman: Pierina Gilli.

For a religious itinerary remember also that Castiglione delle Stiviere where S. Luigi Gonzaga was born. The Basilica of S. Luigi was begun in a baroque shape in 1612 and it conserves the saint’s skull inside.

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