Jonathan Zebina gifted the opening goal to Luis Jimenez and Luca Ceccarelli took advantage of more hesitant defending to put the visitors in control at the break.
Citadin Eder scored four minutes after half-time to ensure the match remained a contest but Brescia were unable to find an equaliser as Cesena held on comfortably.
Brescia started brightly and Alessandro Diamanti twice threatened an opener. A solo run in the eighth minute ended with a shot wide and his 20-yard efforts four minute later was easily saved by Francesco Antonioli.
Eder then missed a great chance when he failed to connect with Andrea Caracciolo's dangerous cross at close range. Unfortunately, his side's defenders were to compound that error.
Zebina's misplaced pass in the 33rd minute led directly to the opening goal, Jimenez seizing possession and slotting past keeper Matteo Sereni from 15 yards.
And further calamity was to follow eight minutes later as the home defence failed to clear a simple ball and Ceccarelli finished from close range.
Eder gave Brescia a lifeline when Ceccarelli returned the favour with a misplaced clearance of his own.
But Antonioli was rarely tested in the remainder of the match as Cesena looked the likelier team to score again.
Jimenez shot wide when one-on-one with Sereni and the keeper then saved the same player's 25-yard free-kick.
Antonioli was called upon to field Eder's long-range effort - but he did so with ease and Igor Budan had a late chance to extend Cesena's lead when his close-range header was saved by Sereni.