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Iseo

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Iseo is a town in Lombardy, in the northern part of Italy. It is not only the most known town by Lake Iseo, but it has many historical buildings such as the medieval Oldofredi Castle, the Parish Church and the first monument ever built to Giuseppe Garibaldi. Near the town centre there are also many vineyards where the well-known Franciacorta wine is produced.

Understand

Iseo is on the southeast shore of Lake Iseo. It is bounded by the communes of Provaglio d'IseoSulzano, Polaveno and Paratico.

It is between Franciacorta, famous for its sparkling wine, and Val Camonica, an alpine valley famous for the Rock Drawings, UNESCO world heritage site.

Iseo has three hamlets:

  • Clusane - between Iseo and Paratico. It is called The village of the roasted tench (in Italian: Paese della Tinca al Forno);
  • Pilzone
  • Cremignane

The best season to go to Iseo is the summer, with beautiful sunny and hot days. Christmas time is also pleasant, as that's the season when there is a big street market (called Natale con Gusto) that sells many local products. During January/February it rarely snows.

History

Iseo was already important in Roman times and in the Middle Ages; it became a flourishing trade centre. In the 19th century, the textile industry developed (you can see the spinning mill to the side of bar “Papillon” or in Via Campo). At the beginning of the 20th century, the railway was extended to Pisogne and Edolo, so Iseo lost its importance. In the 1960s, Iseo's economy became stronger thanks to tourism.

  • 1 Tourist information centre (Italian:IAT Lago di Iseo e Franciacorta), Lungolago Marconi 2 c, ☏ +39 030 9868533, fax: +39 030 981361, iat.iseo@provincia.brescia.it. Apr to Sep: daily 10:00-12:30 and 15:30-18:30. Here you can book a hotel, get information and pick up many free brochures and maps. 

Get in

By plane

The nearest airport is:

  • 2 Bergamo-Orio al Serio international airport (Il Caravaggio international Airport BGY IATA), Via Aeroporto 13, Orio al Serio (From Orio al Serio you have to take a coach (autostradale) to Brescia and then the train or a Bus to Iseo), ☏ +39 035 326323. The fourth busiest airport in Italy, it serves many destinations in Europe and North Africa. Its main airline is Ryanair; other companies are Wizzair, with flights to the Central-East Europe and Air Dolomiti, which connects the airport with Munich. 

Other airports in the surrounding area are:

  • Milan-Malpensa: Milan main airport with intercontinental destinations;
  • Milan-Linate: Milan city airport with domestic and European flights;
  • Brescia-Montichiari: Very small airport used only for cargo;
  • Verona-Villa Franca;

You can reach Iseo from all of these airports by taxi. The only taxi company in Iseo is Iseo Taxi.

By train

You can reach Iseo by train from Brescia or Edolo. There is about one train per hour in both directions, but pay attention: some trains don't stop at every station, though always in Iseo, Brescia and Edolo. The price from Brescia to Iseo is €3.30 one way (November 2017). Other interesting towns on the railways are Pisogne, Darfo-Boario Terme, famous for its bath, and Capo di Ponte. Timetables and fares are available on the Trenord website.

A few times a day, from Iseo you can also reach Rovato (on the Milan-Venice line), but sometimes you have to change at Bornato-Calino.

By bus

Iseo's main bus station is located in Via Gorzoni. Lines passing by Iseo are:

  • "LS002" (Sarnico-Iseo) passing by the southern part of the lake: Cremignane, Clusane and Paratico;
  • "LS003" (Iseo-Palazzolo sull'Oglio-Chiari);
  • "LS021" (Iseo-Orzinuovi) in the summer this line is called H2O because it connects many outdoor swimming pools: in Iseo, Corte Franca and Rovato;
  • "LS022" (Iseo-Monterotondo-Chiari);
  • "LN030" (Gardone Val Trompia-Polaveno-Iseo);
  • "F27" (Brescia-Iseo-Edolo) very useful if you have to reach Iseo from towns and villages that are not served by the railways;
  • "L62" (Iseo-Provaglio d'Iseo-Brescia) if you have simply to go from Brescia to Iseo, the best solution is the railway;

You can buy tickets on board, but it is cheaper if you buy them before. In Iseo you can buy them at the tobacco shops and at some news-stands. Please note that there are no bus on Sunday and that some runs only on school days (from 12th September to 8th June from Monday to Saturday, except public holidays, Christmas and Easter time).

For more information you can go here.

By car

  • To reach Iseo by car from Brescia you have to take the national road SS510.
  • To reach Iseo by car from Ponte di Legno or other towns of Val Camonica you have to take the national road SS42, and after Rogno follow the directions to Brescia entering on SS510.

By boat

You can reach Iseo by boat from Monte Isola and the other towns by Lake Iseo (Predore, Clusane, Monte Isola, SulzanoSale Marasino, Tavernola BergamascaSarnicoMarone, Vello, Riva di SoltoCastroPisogne and Lovere). Prices and timetables are available here.

Get around

Iseo is a small town and you can visit it walking in the town center or using a bike (there are many cycle tracks - you can rent a bike outside Campeggio del Sole).

You can also use a car, but during the weekend most of the streets in the town center are closed. The most central car parks are with fee, if you want a free car parks you have to check the area around the schools.

You have to use buses to reach Clusane (lines LS002, LS003 and LS021) and Cremignane (LS021) and train to reach Pilzone.

See

  • 1 Oldofredi Castle (straight ahead from Piazza Garibaldi following the street that goes to the mountain). Built in the 11th century, it was burnt by Federico Barbarossa and it was restored only in 1611. It now holds a museum, a library and a big convention hall where are organized many concerts and convention during the year. 
  • 2 Museum of the two wars (in Oldofredi Castle), ☏ +39 030 980341, +39 338 8823311 (Lancini Giancarlo), +39 340 3701287 (Sig Zatti Andrea). Sa Su holidays 09:00-12:00, 15:00-18:00. Composed of two rooms, it contains many Italian Army uniforms used during the First and the Second World Wars. Free. 
  • 3 Sanctuary of Our Lady of the Snow (Santuario della Madonna della Neve), Via Madonna della neve (Next to Oldofredi Castle.). In front of the church there is a church yard with old plane trees. The facade is in Baroque style and in the building there are some frescos by Pietro Brigoli. 
  • 4 Piazza Garibaldi. It is said to have the first monument ever built to Giuseppe Garibaldi without a horse. Inside, there is also Vantini Palace, the town hall. 
  • 5 Pieve St. Andrea, Via Pieve (you can reach this church easily: you have to follow the biggest bell tower). It was built probably in the fifth century on the ruins of a previous temple, by St. Vigilio, Brescia's bishop and Iseo's patron saint. The facade is in a Romanesque style with a central bell tower. The most famous painting in the building is St. Michael archangel by the famous Italian painter Francesco Hayez. 
  • 6 St. Silvestro Church (Chiesa di San Silvestro o dei Disciplini), via Pieve (next to Pieve St. Andrea). It was built between the 13th and the 14th century. It contain some frescos including a Danse Macabre. Now the church is in very bad condition and always closed, but Iseo's FAI delegation (FAI is Italian National Trust) is planning to restore it. 
  • 7 St. John the Baptist Church, Via Pieve (In front of Pieve St. Andrea). A deconsecrated church, now it is used for conferences and exhibitions. Inside the church there is an old fresco of St. John the Baptist. 
  • 8 Le Torbiere del Sebino (a peat bog) (between Iseo, Provaglio d'Iseo and Corte Franca). You have to buy a ticket from a automatic machine at the entrances of the natural reserve. 

Do

In the summer it is possible to swim and to do canoeing in the following lidos:

  • 1 Sassabanek Lido (in the southern part of the town), ☏ +39 030980603, lido@sassabanek.it. M-Sa 09:00-20:00, Su 08:00-20:00. It has got three swimming pools (two warmed), a big park, a basketball, a beach volleyball and a football ground, a cafe and a restaurant. You can also rent canoes, kayaks and pedalos. €8.00-14.00 (it depends on the season). 
  • 2 Lido Belvedere, Via Rovato 28, ☏ +39 030980970, info@lidobelvedereiseo.it. M-Sa 09:00-20:00, Su 08:00-20:00. Smaller lido, with a big swimming pool with a slide. In the lido there is a bar and a park by the lake side. €8.00-14.00 (it depends on the season). 
  • 3 Iseo's free beach (Lido La Spiaggetta), Via per Rovato loc. Pianoni (near the High school, southern part of the town). small garden by the lake side with a bar that rent deck chairs. 

It is also possible to do trekking on the mountains around Iseo and Clusane. For more information you can go here (only in Italian).

Events

  • Lakes Festival. 29th May - 2nd June 2015 - 6thEdition. During this event many European and Italian lakes participate in "Bontà lago" (a street market where every lake sells its local products and publicizes its area with some brochures). 

Buy

In the town centre, many shops are open on Sunday but few on Monday. Every Tuesday and Friday a street market takes place in the town centre.

  • 1 Formaggi Bonardi, via Mirolte, 16/b, ☏ +39 030 980204, sorellabonardi@hotmail.it. This is a nice shop where you can buy delicious Italian cheeses like Grana Padano, Parmigiano Reggiano, Gorgonzola and local cheeses like Roccolo and Fatulì (made with goat's milk). It is also possible to buy other local products such as Monte Isola's salami (Salame di Monte Isola in Italian) and dry common rudd fished in the lake. 
  • 2 CISSVA shop, Via Roma, 92 (In front of the graveyard), ☏ +39 030 9822508. Shop where you can buy local products from Val Camonica, including cheese, milk, honey and rye bread. 

Eat

Budget

  • 1 Osteria ca’ de Cindri, Via Duomo 48, ☏ +39 030-9821543. An inn where you can eat local dishes and drink local wines. 

Mid-range

  • 2 Ristorante Pizzeria La Vera Umbria, Via Mier 4, ☏ +39 030-9821339. Not very big. It is advisable to reserve a table. Good thin pizza. 
  • 3 Ristorante Pizzeria Il Bruco, Lungolago Marconi 20/a, ☏ +39 030-980784, ilbruco@ilbruco.it. During the summer the kitchen is open from 11:00 to 23:00 or later. 

Splurge

  • 4 Ristorante Pizzeria San Martino, Via Porto Oldofredi 8 (Near the harbour), ☏ +39 030-9822032. Serves good but expensive pizza. 
  • 5 Ristorante Pizzeria Leon d'oro (Near the harbour, next to Ristorante Pizzeria San Martino), ☏ +39 030-981233, tortona78m@libero.it. The first restaurant you meet when you arrive in Iseo by boat, it cooks good fish dishes. 
  • 6 Ristorante Il Volto, Via Mirolte 33, ☏ +39 030-981462. Listed in the Michelin Guide. It cooks local dishes and has a wide range of wines by the bottle. €30-45. 

Drink

On the lakeside there are many bars and pubs. The main ones are:

  • 1 Bar lume, Via Porto Gabriele Rosa 18, ☏ +39 030 981814. Not very cheap, though it offers free Wi-Fi. 
  • 2 Bull cafè, Via Duomo 11. Tu-Su 18:00-02:00. Have an apéritif or digestif. 
  • Opera - slow drink&food emotion, Via Campo 32, ☏ +39 030 981507. Cafe which serves coffee, risotto and panini. 

Sleep

Budget

  • 1 Hotel Ristorante Milano, Lungolago G. Marconi, 4, ☏ +39 030 980449, fax: +39 030 9821903, info@hotelmilano.info. This hotel has a beautiful position by the lake side. Single room from €42, double from €70. 
  • 2 Hotel Arianna, Via Roma,78, ☏ +39 030 9822082, fax: +39 030 9821804, info@ariannahoteliseo.com. Near the centre, this hotel has simple bedrooms. Single room from €50, double from €65. 
  • 3 Locanda Diana, Via XX Settembre, 25 (Near the station). The building and the rooms are quite simple. Single room from €35, double from €55. 
Camping
  • 4 Campeggio del sole, Via per Rovato 26, ☏ +39 030 980288, fax: +39 030 9821721, info@campingdelsole.it. By the lake. This is the second biggest camping site in Iseo, after Sassabanek. It has got a mini market and two swimming pools. Here you can play tennis, volleyball, football and table tennis. 
  • 5 Iseo, Via Antonioli 21 (Next to Punta d'oro camping), ☏ +39 030 980213, fax: +39 030 980213, info@campingiseo.it. Not very big, it has a minimarket and a beach. Free Wi-Fi available. 
  • 6 Punta d'oro, Via Antonioli 51/53, ☏ +39 030 980084, fax: +39 030 980084, info@camping-puntadoro.com. Not very big, it has got a minimarket and a beach. Free Wi-Fi available. 
  • 7 Quai, Via Antonioli 73, ☏ +39 030 9821610, +39 347 8116004, fax: +39 030 981161, info@campingquai.it. The last of Iseo's camp sites (coming from the south), it has a bar. 
  • 8 Sassabanek, Via Colombera 2, ☏ +39 030 980300, fax: +39 030 9821360, sassabanek@sassabanek.it. Whoever sojourns at this campsite is admitted at Sassabanek lido free of charge. This lido has three swimming pools and a big park by the lake with tables and chairs. 
  • 9 Covelo, Via Covelo 18 - Covelo, ☏ +39 030 9821305, fax: +39 030 9821305, info@campingcovelo.it. Between Iseo and Pilzone, it has a bar, a restaurant, a mini market and a beach. Free Wi-Fi available. 

Mid-range

  • 10 Ambra hotel, Porto Gabriele Rosa,2 (in front of the harbour), ☏ +39 030 980130, fax: +39 030 9821361, info@ambrahoteliseo.it. Quite old hotel in a beautiful location. Single room from €55, double from €65. 
  • 11 International hotel, Via Martiri della libertà, 9, ☏ +39 030 9840091, fax: +39 030 9840091, info@internationalhoteliseo.it. A restored hotel an indoor swimming pool. Double room from €88. 
  • 12 Albergo Rosa, Via Roma, 47, ☏ +39 030 980053, fax: +39 030 9821445. If you want to eat at the hotel's restaurant and are not staying in this hotel, make sure to get reservations. Single room from €45, double from €55 +breakfast. 
  • 13 Agriturismo il Forest, II Traversa di Via Roma (In the Iseo Mountains.), ☏ +39 030 981640, fax: +39 030 981640. Beautiful view from the bedrooms. €40 per person per day (€50 for single room). 
  • 14 Agriturismo La Tesa, Via Silvio Bonamelli, s.n., ☏ +39 030 9822984, +39 3408658633. On the hillside with horseback riding available. 

Splurge

  • 15 Iseolago hotel, Via Colombera, 2, ☏ +39 030 98891, fax: +39 030 9889299, info@iseolagohotel.it. Linked with Lido Sassabanek (open air swimming pool and tennis grounds). It has a conference centre. 
  • 16 I due Roccoli, Via Silvio Bonamelli, ☏ +39 030 9822977, fax: +39 030 9822980, relais@idueroccoli.com. From this hotel you can have a beautiful view on Lake Iseo. 
  • 17 Case Vacanza Borgo Lago Suites, Via Sambuco 23, ☏ +39 030 9822497, info@borgolago.com. Quite expensive apartments in the town centre. 

Connect

Free Wi-Fi is available in Piazza Garibaldi, Piazza Gabriele Rosa and the library. To use this connection, you must register at this site.

  • 3 Iseo internet point di Iqbal Masood, 47, Via Pieve (near Pieve St. Andrea), ☏ +39 030 9840051. Phone and internet centre. 

Go next

  • Monte Isola — The highest European lake island, reachable by boat from Iseo;
  • Brescia — The biggest town in the province, it is quite famous for the roman temple Capitolium and for St. Giulia's Museum with Roman villas and Santa Giulia's Royal Lombard Monastery, a UNESCO site.
  • Capo di Ponte — In Val Camonica, it is famous for rock drawings and a UNESCO site.


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