The pretty town of Iseo is along the lovely alpine lake shore, in the heart of Franciacorta wine country. Lake Iseo is a lesser-known locale in Italy's Lake District, but a gem. It is situated among mountains and hills, with stunning views of the Alps, with the placid lake for water sports and the hills for outdoors activities.
Iseo was founded in the 900s as a monastery and grew under the control of powerful families, namely the Sozzi and the Isei, before passing to the Oldofredi. It was part of the Venetian Republic in the 1400s. The area was active in the wool and silk trades. It grew with the arrival of the railroad, and being only 20 miles from Brescia is a popular getaway and day trip for northern city dwellers.
In the Piazza Garibaldi is a statue dedicated to the general, the first non-equestrian statue of Garibaldi in the world. The Pieve di Sant'Andrea is a beautiful church with an unusual adaptation of Romanesque style, with the bell tower rising right from the middle of the facade. The Castello Oldofredi sits on the hill, still an imposing presence over town.
The town is tidy and appealing with pretty palazzi and buildings painted in pastel colors. Wander the streets and soak in the atmosphere; enjoy the cafes and restaurants featuring lake fish. The lungolago promenade is beautiful, and there is a port for ferries or boat hires to get around the lake. Iseo looks out at the island of Monte Isola, with its pointy peak rising out of the water, along with Isola di San Paolo, a private island with palace on it that is now owned by the Baretta family.
Iseo is in the Brescia province of the Lombardy region. It is located near the cities of Brescia and Bergamo. It is in the DOC zone of the celebrated sparkling wine called Franciacorta, a fizzy and favored celebratory wine.
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Explore nearby towns
Situated on the lesser-known lake, Lago d'Iseo, Sarnico is an uncrowded waterfront gem.
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Salò is a lovely and lively town on the shores of Lake Garda, the gateway to the area known as "the lemon coast".