Jun 15, 2011

Guide to Lake Iseo, Lombardy, Italy

Written by : personal_loans1| 0 | Travel
iseo lake

Image by Andrea Costa Photography via Flickr

Lake Iseo, also known as Lake Sebina, is the fourth largest lake in the Lombardy region of Italy. The river was formed by the Valcamonica Glacier, and is 24 kilometers long or more to 5 kilometers wide. This width is not always obvious because the largest lake island in Europe, Monte Isola, sits at the heart of the lake. The lake is situated just north of Brescia and Bergamo, this being reflected inside the fact that it really is administered around the western bank by the Bergamo district council, and on the east bank through the Brescia district council. The River Oglio, flowing down from the Val Camonica and entering between Lovere and Pisogne, mainly feeds the Lake from the north. The Val Camonica has thermal spas and prehistoric rock carvings. In the southern end from the lake lies the Torbiere, a peat bog and today a nature reserve. South with this lies the Franciacorta valley, producing the most effective sparkling wine in Italy.

About the eastern bank, several kilometres up in the lake, is the Natural Reserve with the Pyramids of Zone, an unique formation of pillars developed by uneven glacial erosion. The sixty-kilometre perimeter lakeside is dotted with villages and towns, the main ones being Iseo, Sarnico, Lovere, Pisogne and Marone. These towns are filled with historical and cultural interest, yet it really is pleasant to stroll along the promenade or linger more than a drink inside a caf?. There are a variety of aquatic sports available on the Lake and fishing is well-liked by the locals, tench being the prized catch. There’s a good selection of walking and cycling trails, and in Winter there is skiing north of Lake Iseo inside the Presolano area.

Unique points

The fact that Lake Iseo is not well known outside Italy and therefore less touristy causes it to be more appealing. Among its biggest attractions is Monte Isola, the largest inland lake island in Europe, which can be easily reached by ferry and with no cars around the island it’s very peaceful, which makes it ideal for walking or cycling. There are also the Pyramids of Zone, the location where the erosion of glacial deposits leaves pinnacles of earth as much as ten metres high. About the western lakeshore will be the bogns of Castro and Zorzino, sheets of limestone that plunge in to the lake. North from the lake in Val Camino you can see hundreds of prehistoric rock carvings on the National Park of Rock Engravings and also to the south with the lake is the Torbiere peat bog and Franciacorta, the region where the renowned sparkling wine is produced.

Getting there

Nearest airports

Bergamo (Orio Serio)



Milan (Malpensa)

Milan (Linate)

Many of these airports are within reasonable travelling distance to Lake Iseo. Most international flights come into Milan Malpensa, although the low cost carrier Ryanair uses Bergamo and Brescia.

Car: travelling around the Milan Venice motorway (A4) to visit the West bank Of Lake Iseo you’d come off at Sarnico junction and on to the SS649. To achieve Iseo town, travelling east about the A4, you would also come off at Sarnico exit, and travelling west about the A4 you would shut off at Brescia up the SS510.

Public transport: You can find regular connections by bus and train to Brescia from all the nearby airports, then connections from Brescia by bus and train to Iseo. The train continues up the east bank to Pisogne.

After you have reached Iseo one of the most relaxing and picturesque choice for getting around the lake is the ferry.

Help guide to Lake Iseo, clockwise from Iseo town on the southern shores.


I will be really fond of Iseo town; it features a relaxed ambience, wide squares plus a lovely promenade with a fantastic view of the lake and Monte Isola. It is lively, mainly with Italian families and couples.

Iseo would be a business centre in Roman times, plus it was a significant port ’till the end of the Nineteenth century. The hero of Italian unification, Garibaldi, is well known with a statue and fountain in the primary square. Also about this square is the Palazzo Vantini, built in the 1833s and today used as the town hall. The Pieve di S. Andrea goes back to the 12th century, and is also distinctive due to its cusped Romanesque bell tower. The 1200’s Castello Oldofredi was recently restored and now houses the general public library.

Just south of the town will be the peat bogs; Torbiere del Sebino has become a nature reserve. Lake Iseo was around 10 metres deeper previously, but erosion of the bed from the River Oglio in the southern outflow resulted in the lake level began to drop, reducing a shallow basin, which gradually became a big marsh with peaty deposits. Throughout the industrialisation of the 19th century local factories began with all the peat as a source of energy, eventually excavating most of the peat deposits. Imagine digging the peat utilizing a caged spade using a five-metre handle!

Proof of prehistoric settlement was discovered during peat cutting: stone arrowheads, blades and daggers dating from 5000 BC. Now the area is of great scientific interest and the place to find many varieties of bird and fish.

The Franciacorta region, south of Iseo, is becoming well known for the sparkling wine. Inside the mid 1950s an entrepreneur begun to make sparkling wine emulating the method using in the Champagne region of France. This means that the secondary fermentation of the wine happens in the bottle, an activity which takes around two years. Now this valley produces the legally protected Franciacorta wine, assuring it has been hand made with all the traditional champagne methods within the thirty wineries in the area. Visits to the wineries and tasting sessions may be arranged. Wine lovers may wish to visit for the three days in September for that Wine Festival, with tasting, special meals and visits to cellars.

Villa Lechi, a Palladian style villa built in the 16th century, may be visited by appointment (phone 392 706 30087 to arrange) Just west of Erbusco is the Oglio North Park, on the eastern banks of the river.


Sarnico may be the first resort heading west from Iseo. It absolutely was originally a prehistoric stilt village, because it stands in which the lakes narrows and when again becomes the River Oglio. You will find frescoes dating from 1200 AD inside the church San Nazario e Rocca di Castione. You can still see ruined medieval ramparts.

For many Sarnico is best known as the home from the premier speedboat company Riva. Just about the most fascinating areas of the companys story in my experience is the journey of Pietro Riva from his hometown of Lagio on the Lake Como to Sarnico in 1842. The young Pietro was travelling to start a job repairing boats in Sarnico; his 70-mile journey took him two days, travelling by boat, train and coach.

His repairs were so successful that he was soon being commissioned to construct boats. The boat building business grew under Pietros son, Ernesto, who began produced boats powered by piston engines.

In 1912 Ernestos son Serafino achieved a speed of 24 kilometres an hour or so in a speedboat. Riva became a prestigious brand, sought by the rich and famous like a status symbol. However, you no longer see speedboats on Lake Iseo since they were banned for environmental reasons in 1976!

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