A Sparkling Holiday Amongst Waves and Vineyards
8 August 2016
The town stretches along the shoreline with its characteristic maze of alleyways. It still maintains the conformation of an old medieval hamlet where elegant shops, modern sports facilities and restaurants abound.
- Piazza Garibaldi, surrounded by buildings with arcades, is home to the first monument erected in Italy to Garibaldi (1883), the Town Hall (1830), a work by architect Vantini and the church of Santa Maria del Mercato 14th century.
- Oldofredi Castle (12th century), overlooks the town and is an imposing stone structure.
- Pieve church of Sant’ Andrea, rebuilt in the 12th century in Lombardy Romanesque style, contains a “Saint Michael Archangel” by Francesco Hayez. The façade features an unusual central bell tower. The church of San Silvestro from the 13th century is found on the same square: the apse has been frescoed with a Danse Macabre.
- Carmagnola Castle looks over the community of Clusane, an old fishing village, renowned for its enogastronomic traditions.
The town is home to a historic district with narrow arcaded streets and old palaces.
- Piazza Corna Pellegrini, the elegant heart of the town surrounded by characteristic arcades and site of the monumental Bishop’s Tower built in 1250 and linked to the old legends of witches.
- Santa Maria in Silvis, dating back to the 7th-8th centuries, was reconstructed in the 1400s as a pieve church; it contains beautiful late 15th century frescoes by Giovanni Pietro da Cemmo and a Danse Macabre painted on the counter-façade.
- The Church of Santa Maria della Neve (15th cent.), Pisogne’s artistic gem, is home to an interesting fresco cycle (1534) by the great Brescian painter “Romanino” depicting the Passion of Christ.
An excursion to Val Palot is the perfect way to enjoy the natural outdoor setting with a sweeping view of the lake.
THE SEBINO PEAT BOG NATURE RESERVE
The “Sebino Peat Bog” Regional Nature Reserve is nestled between Lake Iseo and Franciacorta. A small naturalistic paradise where many bird species choose to nest, there are itineraries to be explored surrounded by typical marshy flora and stretches of water covered with water lilies in summer.
EROSION PYRAMIDS OF ZONE
The Regional Reserve of the Erosion Pyramids of Zone is an unusual natural monument which can be visited using a special itinerary. The erosional action of water and the protective properties of large rock masses have caused high columns of morainic terrain to form known as “pyramids”.
THE FRANCIACORTA ROAD
Since time immemorial, Franciacorta has been dedicated to viticulture and is one of Italy’s most beloved enotourism destinations. Looking onto the southern shores of Lake Iseo, it is home to the exquisite Franciacorta, the premium Italian wine re-fermented in the bottle according to the metodo classico (traditional method) to which it gives its name. Hills adorned with vineyards, ancient hamlets and castles, boutique hotels and cosy holiday farmhouses, refined restaurants and rustic trattorias: this is a territory where hospitality is an art waiting to be discovered and enjoyed.
Monte Isola, one of “Italy’s Most Beautiful Towns”, is a mountain island renowned as being Europe’s largest inhabited lake island. Easily reached by ferryboat from Sulzano, Sale Marasino and Iseo, the island is also linked with other localities on the lake during the summer. Along its slopes and on the lakeshore, 12 picturesque villages are connected by narrow streets travelled by municipal bus and the inhabitants’ scooters: cars are forbidden. The towns have preserved their atmosphere of days gone by and beg to be explored on foot or bicycle. The island’s peak with the Sanctuary of the Madonna della Ceriola can be reached by walking through thick chestnut stands and cultivated fields.
THE HISTORIC VALERIANA ROAD
The Historic Valeriana Road, an itinerary of almost 25 kilometres with magnificent views of the lake, winds its way through the inlands of Lake Iseo’s Brescian shore. The historic route passes from Pilzone d’Iseo to Pisogne, going past meadows, old hamlets and country churches. We recommend that you visit it in sections and that you use the ferryboat service or regional railway to reach the various localities.
DISCOVERING THE TERRITORY AMIDST HISTORY AND ART
Hamlets, villas, churches and castles testify to the artistic and historic vicissitudes of the area and are found scattered all over Lake Iseo and Franciacorta. Sights that must not be missed include the Abbey of Rodengo Saiano, the Convent of the Annunciata in Rovato, the Monastery of San Pietro in Lamosa at Provaglio, the Church of the Madonna della Neve with frescoes by Romanino in Pisogne. The Castle of Bornato, Palazzo Torri at Nigoline in Corte Franca and the Quistini Castle in Rovato are all worthy of a visit as well.
In addition to water sports, sailing, windsurf, kitesurf and wakeboarding, Lake Iseo and Franciacorta are a haven for cycling enthusiasts with delightful itineraries along the coast or surrounding highlands that are suitable for families, as well as enotourists and experienced bikers.
Don’t miss a tour on the local section of the Oglio River Cycleway, a bike lane of supra-regional importance from the Tonale Pass to the Po River.
EVENTS, TRADITIONS AND TYPICAL PRODUCTS
The most important events that you simply cannot miss include: Festival of Lakes in Iseo, Gimondi Bike, Festival Iseo Jazz, Week of Baked Tench fish in Clusane, Week of Beef with Rovato olive oil, Festival of Skewered Meat in Gussago, Festival of Franciacorta, Franciacorta in fiore (abloom), Franciacorta in bianco (white) and the spectacular Feast of Santa Croce held every 5 years at Carzano on Monte Isola.
Regional gastronomy is a medley of lake and country flavours, such as the prestigious Franciacorta Docg wines, extra-virgin olive oil Dop, baked tench fish, sardines preserved in oil, beef with oil, traditional skewered meats, and cold cuts such as the typical Monte Isola salami and cheeses.