Tour of Lake Iseo
30 July 2016
A stunning car route allows you to get acquainted with Lake Iseo. The route we have described starts in Iseo, the town that gives its name to the lake but, naturally, you can start from any of the coastal locations. On leaving Iseo we continue southbound as far as Clusane, a picturesque village renowned for its gastronomic specialty of baked tench and Paratico, where the beautiful lake promenade is well worth a stop. After crossing the bridge you arrive in Sarnico, a stylish and lively trade and shopping town.
The lakeside promenade and cycle path take us almost as far as Predore, a sunny location characterised by the museum of the Roman Baths. Once through the tunnel, the next stop is Tavernola Bergamasca: visitors should not miss the frescoes by Romanino in the ancient parish church of San Pietro. Breathtaking views can be enjoyed off the beaten track heading towards Vigolo and Parzanica. A succession of s-bends leads to Riva di Solto: this small historic centre, one of the most picturesque on the lake, is definitely worth a stop.
On leaving the village, passing through the hamlet of Zorzino, you will be faced with the magnificent spectacle of the Orrido del Bogn, a picturesque ravine where vertical rocks plunge straight into the lake. A short detour to the hill villages of Fonteno and Solto Collina, gives you one of the most stunning panoramic views. Continuing, however, along the coastal road, we now reach Castro, a little medieval village, and then, soon after, we reach Lovere. The little town, one of “The most beautiful villages in Italy”, is rich in historical medieval buildings and elegant “palazzi”, such as the neo-classical Gallery, “Accademia Tadini”. Leaving the coast momentarily, you now reach Costa Volpino: a spacious green lung, ideal for walking, sport and relaxation characterises this territory. The next town is Pisogne, an ancient medieval village.
The Antica Strada Valeriana (Cai path 291), via the foothills of unspecified origin, was the only route to Valle Camonica for many millennia. Fully revamped and reinstated for tourism purposes, the route is today a harmonious encounter between landscape, art and history. The route runs along the hinterland of the eastern shore of the lake, from Pilzone d’Iseo to Pisogne (there is a project in progress to extend it as far as Monticelli Brusati and Ome), passing through the territories of Sulzano, Sale Marasino, Marone and Zone.
The trip is extraordinarily stunning because it is always accompanied by views of Lake Iseo and the surrounding mountains. The route is indicated at junctions and intersections by information boards, arrows and a yellow and brown coloured V. It boasts a succession of country roads and trails, dirt tracks and asphalted roads with little traffic, sometimes outlined by a wall of stones. Valeriana is an easy route as far as Marone, through the villages of Gazzane, Tassano, Maspiano, Gandizzano, Marasino, Conche, Distone,
Dosso and Massenzano, scenic spots above Sulzano and Sale Marasino. From here the path starts to climb north of Marone, between the villages of Vesto, Pregasso and Colpiano, where the climb towards Zone commences. Here, in fact, one can see the Erosion Pyramids, evidence of the passage of the glacier
during the Würm glacier era.
We continue our journey through the hamlet of Cislano and the village of Zone, until we reach the Croce di Zone (903 m). Don’t forget to stop for a visit of the Church of Santa Maria della Neve and its extraordinary cycle of frescoes by Romanino. Continuing along the route, a series of tunnels lead to Marone, the Town of Olive Oil, from where you can make a detour towards Zone to admire the spectacle of the Erosion Pyramids or, just before reaching the village, turn right down to the small hamlet of Vello, renowned for its stunning pedestrian and cycle path to the lake. Continuing on the coastal road you come to Sale Marasino, from the beautiful and scenic hilly hinterland and Sulzano, a small village from where the most frequent ferries to Monte Isola depart. This completes the tour as we head back to Iseo. The welcoming capital town is well worth a stop to visit the historic centre with the Parish Church of Sant’Andrea and a walk through the narrow streets or along the waterfront.
Another and exceptionally pleasant way of discovering the lake is to take the ferry, recommended in the spring and summer, and for the fitter visitors tour the lake by bike or, why not, do a mix of the two!