The Italian Almanac


Italian News - October 6

A northern Italian town is about to put on a show that spotlights its history of excellence in the production of arms and armour. The exhibition opening at Brescia's Arms Museum on October 22 focuses on beautiful suits of armour and headgear made here in the 15th century and early 16th century.

At the time the town's craftsmen were among the world's best in producing intricately decorated metalwork pieces - authentic works of art commissioned by Europe's royal courts. All of the pieces are extremely rare and many are embossed, engraved and gilded with gold or silver to depict battle scenes. The oldest piece on show is a pointed basinet with a visor that dates back to 1410. There is also a wide range of locally made light sallet helmets without visors, which were used by cavalry and infantry.

All the works on show are presented with panels, in Italian and English, that describe their history. Brescia's Arms Museum is located at the city's fabulous, 16th-century hilltop castle, which is among northern Italy's best preserved fortresses. The museum also plays host to one of Europe's most important collections of battle equipment, which is permanently on display. It is made up of over 500 helmets, lances, battle and parade suits of armour, swords, shields and firearms, made between the 13th and 17th centuries in Italy and other parts of Europe.