Saturday, July 14, 2007

The Regions of Brescia Province

There's so much to explore regarding Brescian history, culture, geography, etc., that I thought one good place to focus on right now are the regions of the province of Brescia. The Valle Camonica is often regarded as something of a sub-province. There has even been talk of it becoming a province of it's own, with a capitol at Breno. In any case, Brescia could first be subdivided into the northern mountainous Valle Camonica and the lowland of Brescia.

Administratively, in Italy, the pecking order goes right from sizable provinces to mostly tiny comunes, a big jump. In order to understand Brescia, it would be much easier to view it region by region. These are unofficial regions of the province, almost like boroughs of a big city. The corresponding map lumps a couple of them together, which shouldn’t be, in order to follow regional descriptions. However, it gives a good idea of how the province is perceived.

Think of these regions as 1) Northern Mountains (pre-Alps); 2) Central Highlands; 3) Southern Lowlands. As it corresponds to the map, the mountainous area is the Valle Camonica (not including Sebino), the highland area is everything between the Camonica and Basso Bresciana, and the lowland area is Basso Bresciana. The Valle Camonica is known for it’s very ancient “rock art.” In fact, part of it is protected as a United Nations world heritage park. It was also the home of the ancient Italic tribe, the Camunni, hence the name Camonica. The Franciacorta region is world famous for it’s wines. That’s no exaggeration either. The Valle Trompia is famous as the home of the Beretta company, established in 1526. The company is in the hands of the same family which founded it. Brescia is often credited as the home of the invention of the “hand held cannon,” or the gun. Beretta firearms are considered by most to be the finest firearms in the world. All five branches of the U.S. military use Berettas.

To the right, you will see Lake Garda, the largest lake in Italy. As you can see, it’s divided in two. Brescia to the left, and Verona province to the right. The Garda land region is home of the “Brescian Riviera,” a breathtakingly beautiful coastline. At the center of the province is the Brescian hinterland, where the city and capitol of Brescia is located. This is not to be confused with Basso Bresciana, an agricultural region to the south. For a more comprehensive description of these regions, visit the Onion Communication’s webpages about Brescia (in English).

If you look at that map, and use your imagination, you can imagine the topography of the province. Imagine mountains in the north, green hilly terraces in the center, the blue of Lake Garda to the east, and the green plains of Basso Bresciana to the south. It was considered a prized possession of any nation to which it has belonged, with many quotes to this regard from traveling statesmen over the centuries. The manufacturing, the mining, the fine craftsmen, the gun making, the wineries, the agriculture, etc. It’s almost like a mini central California, with the Sierra Nevada Mountains sort’ve to the north, and the Central Valley southward. From snowcapped Alpine mountains, down to palm trees along the sunny Brescian Riviera along Lake Garda. Amazing.

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