With a highly regarded industrial heritage Brescia is one of Lombardy’s largest cities. It is known for its buildings, architecture and the arts – the Leonessa d’Italia.
Human settlement has existed in the Brescia area since the Bronze Age and the city has been inhabited by the Ligurians, the Etruscans and Celts tribes. During the Roman era this was Brixia; in 89 BC, Brixia was recognised by the Romans as a civitas and in 41 BC, its inhabitants received Roman citizenship.
The local football team Brescia Calcio are known as La Leonessa (the Lions) – the lion reference stemming from Brescia once being part of the Venetian Republic.
From a footballing perspective those who have inhabited Brescia include Gheorge Hagi, Pep Guardiola, Andrea Pirlo and arguably the greatest Italian footballer of all time – Roberto Baggio.
In the modern era Brescia is known for its metallurgical, metal parts, mechanical engineering, tools and automotive engineering sectors. These have made Brescia a highly regarded location for professionals and young families. But while the current side are seen as hard working and industrious long gone are the glory days at the Stadio Mario Rigamonti.
Now seen as a stable Serie B side there is no Roberto Baggio or Andrea Pirlo and the crowds have dropped off. But the club continues to be traditional and are seasonally competitive at the top end of Serie B.
Stadio Mario Rigamonti
A monument to the man who started his career at Brescia and tragically died in the Grande Torino Superga disaster sits outside the Stadium.
Football in Brescia was first played at a field in Porta Venezia; at a site that is now near Viale Venezia. This was a facility built for the town’s sports club Virtus and called “The Stadium”.
The first appearance of a thick white “V” that the Brescia kit is known for came in 1927. It was added so that the team could use Lo Stadio – the newly built home of the other Brescia team – Virtus.
The post war growth of Italian football in 1956 the local municipality had the idea to move the club to a stadium more suited to hosting the matches aligned to the new Italian football system.
The renovation and construction of stands at the football ground at Via Giovanni Novagani was eventually completed in 1959. Brescia began to play their home games in the new Mario Rigamonti stadium consistently in the 1960’s eventually winning Serie B in 1964.
It was around this period that the white “V’ once again appeared on the home shirt.
Over the years the stadium has undergone several refurbishments.
The current temporary structures have been built on top of the previous concrete terracing which is still visible behind the stands. While the pitch side stand sits uncomfortably adjacent to the playing surface the modern looking main stand (on Via Giovanni Novagani side of the stadium) is the centre piece of the stadium.
The memorial to Mario Rigamonti still stands outside the stadium. It recent years it has also hosted matches of the Brescia women’s team including those in the UEFA Women’s Champions League.
However it’s unlikely the men’s team will appear in the mens version of Champions League any time soon.
Brescia Calcio were relegated from Serie A at the end of the 2019-20 season despite signing local boy Mario Balotelli.
The team won only six games all season.
Stadio Mario Rigamonti, Via Giovanni Novagani, 9, 25133 Brescia, Italy
Transport: The stadium can be reached via the Brescia metro system – ‘Mompiano’