Lake Iseo

Lake Iseo

A small jewel nestled between the Orobic Prealps, halfway between Bergamo and Brescia, Lake Iseo is the ideal destination for a trip of one or more days. It takes about 2 hours to drive the entire coast by car. In the summer season it is possible to enjoy the lake from the ferry.
Here we propose, starting from the north in an anticlockwise direction, an itinerary in four places of particular beauty.
For each village, we propose you the places where we could verify accessibility.

LOVERE
Built as an amphitheatre between the lake and the mountain, Lovere has been counted in 2003 in the prestigious club of "The most beautiful villages in Italy". Thanks to its elegant Renaissance palaces, a well-preserved historic centre, medieval towers and a splendid fifteenth-century basilica, we suggest you start your visit from this village, on the north-western shore of the lake. At this link you can find a map with the places we suggest you  visit and the info point. This walking itinerary is a proposal: the information on the accessibility of the various places can be found in the relevant information sheets.

Basilica of Santa Maria in Valvendra
The splendid and imposing fifteenth-century basilica is the largest church of the diocese of Brescia. For its construction, which began in late-Gothic forms and continued in Renaissance forms, it was necessary to divert the Valvendra stream, from which the church takes its name.
The exterior has a bare façade, preceded by a portico with cross vaults. The interior is richly decorated and contains important frescoes.

Worthy of note is the magnificent organ built in 1518 for the Duomo Vecchio of Brescia and transferred to Lovere in the second half of the 1600s, with the case doors considered among the masterpieces of the Renaissance painting of Brescia: outside, Floriano Ferramola painted "the Annunciation" and inside Alessandro Bonvicino, called the Moretto, painted "Saints Faustino and Giovita", the patrons of Brescia. Not to be missed: the three great seventeenth-century paintings with episodes from the life of Christ, the eighteenth-century marble high altar and the sixteenth-century wooden choir.
At this link you can find information on accessibility and how to reach the Basilica.

Church of San Giorgio
At 400 meters from the Basilica, in the heart of the medieval village of Lovere, is one of the oldest religious buildings of the area.
Indeed, its existence is already documented in 1252 even if there is little left of its original structure. In the second half of the fifteenth century, the church was raised and enlarged, incorporating into its structure the tower-house called Torre Soca, dating back to 1200
It has valuable paintings, statues and other interesting items.
At this link can find more information.
At this link  you can find information on accessibility and how to reach the church.

Sanctuary of Sante Capitanio and Santa Gerosa
If you walk another 300 meters, keeping the lake on your left, you reach the Sanctuary. Built around 1930 and in a neo-medieval style, it is dominated by a slender bell tower. The external walls are covered with pink granite, while inside, the church is richly decorated with paintings, mosaics and polychrome stained glass. In 1832, the Sanctuary, destination of many pilgrimages, was dedicated to the founders of The Institute of the Sisters of Charity Bartolomea Capitanio and Vincenza Gerosa, canonized by Pope Pius XII in 1950. Their charitable work was inspired by San Vincenzo de' Paoli and is part of the nineteenth-century Lombard social Catholicism.
At this link you can find more information on the subject.
By contacting the sanctuary in advance, it is possible to organize a visit to the sanctuary accompanied by a nun,
For information on accessibility, please click on this link

Accademia di Belle Arti Tadini (Tadini Institute of Fine Arts)
If you love art, this is definitely a stop not to be missed. In this elegant nineteenth-century palace is preserved a large and remarkable collection of Italian paintings from the fourteenth to the seventeenth century, a pictorial section dedicated to modern and contemporary art and a fine collection of Italian and European porcelain.  Particularly important are some works by Antonio Canova, among which the rare terracotta sketch of the Religion and the Stele Tadini, a precious marble relief. Next to the work, there is a plaster copy available for tactile exploration by people with visual impairment.
Reduced ticket for visitors with disabilities and their carer. By contacting the Academy in advance, it is possible to arrange guided tours or educational activities specifically aimed at people with disabilities.
At this link you can find information on the accessibility of the Academy and how to reach it.

Sailboat trips and courses for people with disabilities
Moving south for less than 1 km, along the western shore of the lake, you reach the marina, where since 2009 Disvela, a voluntary association that promotes the sport of sailing for people with disabilities, works.
During summer, it organizes sailing boat trips on Lake Iseo for people with mobility problems or mental disabilities. The trips last a couple of hours and can get on board four people plus two volunteers of the association.
Disvela collaborates with the AVAS sailing school to organize sailing courses for two or four days, on board the Paralympic boats.

SARNICO
Overlooking the south-western shore of the lake and a crossing point between Bergamo and Brescia, the town was built right where the water of Lake Iseo flows out towards the plain through the river Oglio.
Its territory is mostly occupied by residential buildings and is a much appreciated destination by tourists. In addition to appreciating the beauty of the place, tourists can also enjoy many events, especially in the summer season. In particular, in July, the international festival of street art the "Sarnico Busker Festival", in three days offers over 200 shows and performances. 
In the same month, the "Sebino Summer Class & Festival" brings to Sarnico every year Master Classes of musical improvement for young Italian and foreign musicians carried out by internationally renowned teachers. 

At this link you can find a map with the places we suggest you visit and the info point. This walking itinerary is a proposal: the information on the accessibility of the various places can be found in the relevant information sheets.

Mausoleo Faccanoni
Built close to the hill, the Mausoleum is one of the five Liberty-style architectural works of Sarnico. It is considered one of the greatest achievements of the Sommaruga, who built it in 1907.  Designed to become the scenic backdrop of the entire cemetery, it was built using only locally sourced materials. It is completely without any symbolic references to the Christian religion. The crypt is particularly striking.
At this link you can find information for visiting the Mausoleo and accessibility guide lines.

Church of San Martino Vescovo
An imposing building built around 1727 on a project by architect Luca Luchini in the area where the medieval church stood. On each side aisle there are three chapels, with valuable frescoes. In the third chapel on the left, there is the large altarpiece of the Virgin with the Child and the saints Carlo Borromeo, Francesco, Bernardino and Martino by Francesco Cavagna. The altarpiece, dedicated to San Martino bishop with  emperor Valentinian, is one of the masterpieces of the Venetian Francesco Capella, dating back to the second half of the eighteenth century.
At this link you can find information for visiting the Mausoleo and accessibility guidelines.

Church of San Paolo
Located in the upper part of the old town, the church was built in 1428 where the Marenzi  Castle once stood, of which today we only have the Clock Tower. With a single nave, it preserves a splendid fifteenth-century fresco by an unknown artist as an altarpiece. In the frescoe you can admire the Pietà and the saints Cosma and Damiano inside a fake architecture that imitates a wooden triptych. Another interesting fresco, from the early 16th century, on the right-hand wall, depicts "San Pietro e Paolo". The church over time has been the subject of various changes: the first in 1498, concerned the roof that was modified by replacing the wood truss with two pointed arches in masonry; other changes occurred in the first half of the 17th century and in 1724, when the current Baroque portal was built in local stone. At this link you can find information for visiting the Church and accessibility guidelines.

Gianni Bellini Pinacoteca and Civic Museum
The Civic Museum of Art and Territory is located in Palazzo Gervasoni, formerly a cloistered convent. The exhibition itinerary is on three floors, connected by flights of stairs and by the library elevator. The Pinacoteca, inaugurated in 2004, displays almost 200 works from the Don Gianni Bellini's donation. Most of the paintings are from the period between 1500 and 1700, but there is also precious antique furniture, some marble and wooden statues and four "processional" crucifixes, one in wood and three in silver-plated copper.
At this link you can find information for visiting the Mausoleo and accessibility guidelines.

ISEO
Sanctuary of Santa Maria della Neve in Iseo (BS)

In the centre of Iseo, close to the Oldofredi castle, on a small hill where once stood a large Roman villa of the second century AD, stands the Sanctuary of the Madonna della Neve. In the middle of the seventeenth century the community of Iseo decided to demolish the church dedicated to Santo Stefano and to build in the same place the current sanctuary in honour of the Virgin Mary. The faithful saved the fresco of the Virgin and Saint Anthony the Abbot (XVI century) from destruction, considered miraculous, to use it as altarpiece for the high altar.
In the middle of the sober façade stands out the baroque portal in stone. On the north side of the church stands the bell tower, built in 1767, about a century later. The interior has a unique rectangular hall with a roof. The side chapels, with a rich baroque stucco decoration, are dedicated to Sant’Antonio di Padova and Santo Stefano. The two eighteenth-century frescoes are beautiful: Jacob's dream (altar of Sant' Antonio) and the Trinity (altar of Santo Stefano). More information on church interiors can be found here
At this link you can find information on accessibility.

Pieve di Sant’Andrea
Always in the city centre of Iseo, the parish church is a wonderful example of Romanesque art. Its origins seem to date back between the end of the fifth and the beginning of the sixth century, and it was built at the behest of the bishop of Brescia Vigilio. However, the building that we can now admire, which has undergone several modifications, dates back to the twelfth century.
The complex is entirely built in local limestone with an imposing Romanesque bell tower at its centre, which is a true architectural rarity. The building has splendid façade. Expanded and renovated several times, it has a neoclassical interior and houses valuable paintings, among which we can find the  Archangel San Michele who sends Lucifer away from Paradise, a work by the famous  Francesco Hayez, and the nineteenth century  Statue of San Vigilio, modelled in  chalk by the artist  Giovanni Franceschetti  from Brescia who died before he could transform it into marble
At this link, you can find a detailed description of the architecture of the church.
In the church there is a token operated device from which you can listen historical information on the church in 4 languages ​​(Italian, English, French, German). Paper brochures are also available.
At this link you can find information on accessibility.

MONTISOLA
With its 11 kilometres of coastal perimeter and 600 meters of altitude at its highest point, it is the largest natural lake island in Italy, as well as the highest in Europe. On the island,  transit is allowed only to the public transport, to  motorbikes owned by the inhabitants and to bicycles, (you can bring your own or rent one on the island). At this link you can find a map of the island
On the island many events are organized for tourists: at this link, you can find more information and a calendar of all events.
The connection to the shores of the lake is guaranteed by an efficient service of ferries: the most convenient and close point to reach Montisola is Sulzano. From here you can take the ferry to Peschiera Maraglio, an ancient village of fishermen and artisans, where they still produce nets for fishing and hunting. The village is very characteristic, with the church of S. Michele Arcangelo and the ancient streets that rise steeply towards the mountain.
From S. Michele you can start your visit to this beautiful island.

Church of San Michele Arcangelo
San Michele was built in the seventeenth century on the ruins of a previous church. The entrance door, in ebony, is adorned with two cornucopias in high relief. Inside, the church is richly decorated with eighteenth-century and nineteenth-century stuccoes with floral motifs and embellished with numerous frescoes.
At this link, you can find information on how to reach it and on accessibility.

Sanctuary of the Madonna della Ceriola
Built in the 13th century, on the highest point on the island, the sanctuary can be reached on foot or by bus from Peschiera Maraglio. This line also has a vehicle equipped for people with motor disabilities. In the space in front of the Sanctuary there is the most panoramic point of the island, from which you can enjoy a splendid view of the lake and the mountains. The interior of the church also deserves a visit: you can admire, in fact, a canvas depicting the Virgin Mary, some sixteenth-century frescoes, the carved wooden altar of 1600 in the left chapel and about 82 votive tablets, located at the back of the church, sign of the age-old devotion of the faithful.
At this link you can find information on the transport service to reach Cure and on the accessibility of the Sanctuary.

Before leaving
Tourist offices are present in various villages and they can give you all the information you need to better enjoy your trip. At the following links you can find information on contacts and on accessibility of the information desks:
InfoPoint Alto Lago d'Iseo
IAT-Proloco Sarnico
Lago d'Iseo and Franciacorta InfoPoint
Monte Isola Tourist Office

Navigazione del lago d’Iseo
Iseo can be reached by the ferries run by the Navigazione Lago Iseo company. The service is organized to welcome passengers with reduced mobility.
In addition to the local public transport service there are also tourist services, including night trips. Furthermore, boats can be rented.
All information can be consulted on the Navigazione Lago d'Iseo website
 

08/10/2018