After a degree at Central Saint Martins College in London and having spent 5 years in New York working in Stella McCartney’s communication office, Edoardo Monti decided to move back to Italy and give new life to the historic family home. Palazzo Monti is now an artist residency and contemporary art collection located in the heart of Brescia.
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We know Brescia has been named capital of culture for 2023, what’s so special about it?Brescia is an unusual hidden gem. It takes a little time to get to know its full potential, but when unlocked you won’t be able to get enough of it. The city is walkable, offers all kinds of services yet there are virtually zero tourists.
A must see itinerary to explore the city at its best?
Walk from the Station towards Piazza Vittoria, then head to Piazza della Loggia e Piazza Duomo - this triptych of piazzas lets you walk through hundreds of years of history and architecture. Then head through Via Musei to enjoy the Roman ruins of the ancient city and Santa Giulia Museum - at the very end of the Museum Street, you will find us!
You founded Palazzo Monti, a cultural centre and artist residency - tell us a bit more about this incredible project.
It all started in 2017, when we had to proactively invite artists - nobody knew of the project at the time, we were a few months old. Now we get over 400 requests per month, have welcomed over 200 artists in the past 5 years and organize over 8 institutional shows open to the public. The residency is hosted within a XIII Century palace and decorated with frescoes from the 1750s. I am also based there, it’s wonderful to see how the place changes every month with a new group of artists!
Your favourite art galleries or antique shops in the city?
Massimo Minini for contemporary art, Luciano Colantonio for antiques. Massimo is a friend and my mentor, I learn so much from him every time we hang out. Luciano has the most beautiful pieces in the world, each time I visit his story - a few steps from the palazzo - I fall in love with the research he does so passionately.
Best restaurants for a typical lunch and a fine dining dinner?
Zia Gabri!!! Definitely the best lunch spot in the whole world - it has become a weekly habit to get lunch there with the artists in residence or visitors. For dinner I recommend Trattoria Al Fontanone or Osteria Al Bianchi, historical and beautiful restaurants dense with tradition. For a more trendy place, check out Veleno - the interiors are stunning, the cuisine Michelin star level. If you are nostalgic of the past, then La Sosta is the ultimate place to visit: fireplace, ancient grounds, waiters in tuxedos. The perfect Sunday lunch spot.
Any good cafes for breakfast and remote working?
I love Elisabetta in Piazza Arnaldo, our artist’s favorite spot - sitting in the sun for a morning breakfast is a luxury we can all afford. Tostato is a more nordic-inspired spot where you can easily set up for remote working. But hey, welcome to Italy: it would be easier to mark the few spots where coffee is bad ha!
Tell us the best boutique hotels or b&b for a stay.
I love Hotel Vittoria’s 1920s vibe, but don’t expect the 5* service - hope more for something in line with the 3* star price you pay for. Yet the rooms are massive and it’s a throwback to a brass, marble and carved wood luxurious past. For a real luxury stay, head to Franciacorta and stay at Albereta - their spa is worth the price.
Any beautiful places for a weekend getaway nearby?
Val Camonica offers plenty of outdoors in open-air museums where you can enjoy Pre-Historical carvings and drawings - an UNESCO site. Otherwise head towards Lake Garda - you cannot miss Sirmione and its roman ruins, lemon granita and crystal clear fresh waters
Fav local hangouts for aperitif in the city?
I love Torre D’Ercole, Massenzio and Machino. But I also recommend checking out Viselli’s famous cocktail: the champagnone! One cocktail, whose recipe is still unknown (and I feel like it’s better that way), will be enough to inebriate two adults, go easy on that one!
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