Monday, August 29, 2005

An Extraordinary Cafe

There are not too many restaurants that can boast of having an authentic Roman column as part of the d├ęcor, but this is exactly what the cafe Ai Musei on Via G. Piamarta, 1 in Brescia has to offer.

At Ai Musei the column base is approximately 10 feet below ground level indicating how much the street has been elevated over the past two thousand years. The friendly staff has to maneuver their way around the column to serve customers. The cafe has a highly decorated wood paneled ceiling with beautiful hand painted rosettes in the center of each panel. There is also an elaborately hand carved wooden bar complete with the same rosette design. Besides offering the customer a variety of alcoholic drinks, there are light refreshments as well as the wonderful coffee that is usually drunk standing at the bar.

It is easy to see why the locals appear to take such unusual surroundings for granted as they stop for a coffee on their way to work, because just a short distance along Via dei Musei you’ll find the Tempio Capitolino with its four magnificent Roman columns with Ionic capitals consisting of scrolls above the shaft. A partial inscription can be seen on the top of the building.

Brescia is a beautiful and largely undiscovered city in Lombardy, northern Italy, only about 1 hour’s drive from Milan. Brescia, known as ”Lioness of Italy“, offers an interesting combination of modern urban development mixed with ancient monuments.