Iseo guide

Lake Iseo trip planner

A vacation guide to Lake Iseo, Italy—including Monte Isola and Pisogne, and the prehistoric rock art in the Val Camonica

Lago d'Iseo

Low key Lake Iseo is a sometimes prettier—and certainly less depoiled-by-development—cousin to the Big Three lakes. There are a few diverting sights, some nice art, and a relaxing pace of life on the largest lake island in Italy.

Lake Iseo is also a gateway to the Franciacorta wine region, and hides one sightseeing trump card up its sleeve: a little known but truly spectacular series of prehistoric rock carvings in the Val Camonica valley stretching north of the lake shores.

Most of the worthwhile sights and towns on the lake proper line the eastern shore—though the views are spoiled a bit by the vast quarry on the western banks.

Tranquility on Monte Isola

Sant'Antonio da Padova by  Antonio e Bartolomeo Vivarini in the Galleraia Taldini, Lovere, Lake Iseo
Sant'Antonio da Padova by Antonio and Bartolomeo Vivarini in the Galleraia Taldini, Lovere, Lake Iseo.
The lake is dominated by a huge forested hump at its center, Monte Isola, the largest lake island in Italy.

There's little in particular to see, just a relaxing pace of life in its half-dozen tiny villages accessible by ferry from Sulzano or Sale Marasino.

Paintings in Lovere

The sightseeing action starts heating up as you move toward the north end of the lake.

In the town of Lovere is the Galleria Tadini with minor paintings by some major artists, including Jacopo Bellini, Parmigianino, Tintoretto, Palma Il Giovane, Tiepolo, and Hayez (Via Taldini 40, tel. +39-035-962-780, www.accademiatadini.it).

Frescoes in Pisogne

Frescoes my Romanino in the chruch of Santa Maria della Neve, Pisogne, Lake Iseo
Frescoes my Romanino in the chruch of Santa Maria della Neve, Pisogne, Lake Iseo
On the edge of the town of Pisogne sits the church of Santa Maria della Neve, slathered inside with excellent 1532-34 frescoes by Romanino.

(Follow his name on signs; if locked, inquire at the cafe inside the adjacent cloisters).

Pyramids near Zone

Above the lake, outside the town of Zone, is a series of much-photographed, weirdly eroded rock pinnacles called the Pyramids of Zone.

Near Lake Iseo

Tips & links

Details

Lake Iseo tourist information:
The tourist office is in the town of Iseo at Lungolago Marconi, 2
tel. +39-030-980-209
www.agenzialagoiseofranciacorta.it

Regional tourism:
www.bresciatourism.it
www.provincia.brescia.it

Useful private sites:
www.lagodiseo.org
www.bresciaholiday.com
www.cooptur.it/iseo

Val Camonica:
www.agtvallecamonica.it

www.invallecamonica.it
www.archeocamuni.it

How to get to Lake Iseo

There's regular train service from Brescia (23–30 min.), which is where you can hook up with trains to or from Milan (80–120 min.) or Bergamo (100–140 min. total) to the west, or Desenzano del Garda (67–82 min.), Verona (86–110 min.), or Venice (2.5–3 hrs.) to the east.

How to get around Lake Iseo

If you don't have a rental car, the easiest way is by bus (www.trasportibrescia.it) or by boat (www.navigazionelagoiseo.it).

There is also a tourist train (classic 1950s diesel jobs) called Treno Blu (tel. +39-030-740-2851, www.ferrovieturistiche.it) that leaves from Paratico on the lake's south shore (with connections to Brescia) and heads up the eastern shore of the lake (more for sightseeing than transport, but hey: it's a real train and all).

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Details

Lake Iseo tourist information:
The tourist office is in the town of Iseo at Lungolago Marconi, 2
tel. +39-030-980-209
www.agenzialagoiseofranciacorta.it

Regional tourism:
www.bresciatourism.it
www.provincia.brescia.it

Useful private sites:
www.lagodiseo.org
www.bresciaholiday.com
www.cooptur.it/iseo

Val Camonica:
www.agtvallecamonica.it

www.invallecamonica.it
www.archeocamuni.it


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