Latest News & Views

Extreme Sports on Lake Iseo

me and mollyMany of you who have already visited this lake probably think it’s a quiet place with very little to do, well that would be a mistake as this little’ole lake has quite a lot going on.  The company ‘You can do it’ run by Alpine Guides and experts of this area, Ruggero Andreoli and Franz Carrara have some fantastic activities for the dare devil and adrenaline junkies out there.

Why not try Canyoning, exciting and breaktaking experiences through the many intriguing caves and valleys of the Bergamascan and Brescian mountains, you will just need  a towel and a pair of trainers and they take care of the rest. If that’s not daring enough for you there’s the adventurous via-ferrato climbing routes with its treacherous drops but fantastic back drops of the lake and mountains………. Alright for those who don’t suffer from heights…..or there is alpine trekking through the glaciers and high peaks of the mountains or just plain climbing up the mountain if you like. There again you could try one of their trekking programmes which will take you around the panoramic mountains and valleys with its hidden views and secrets, that everybody can do.  For more information and their full itinerary check out their website www.rogeradventure.it

For those who like to be up in the clouds you could try the amazing experience of Paragliding in tandem with the experts of ‘Air Activities’ they will take you over the most amazing panoramas of the lake and mountains or why not try their tandem aircraft programme  over Lake Iseo or Lake Garda. More information on their website www.volosportivosebino@gmail.com

In the tiny fishing village of Predore, did you know that there were a Roman baths which can be visited from April to September on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays in the evening from 18.00 to 20.00 and on Sunday mornings from 9.00 to 13.00. For a guided visit you can contact them direct on +39 338 1744582

If you just want to relax and discover the food and wine, you could visit one of the many wine yards and taste some fantastic wines. Not to miss is the vineyard of ‘Ca del Bosco’ and ‘ Bellavista’ a full itinerary can be arranged through ‘ Strada del vino di Franciacorta’ by contacting them at www.franciacorta.net

Or if relaxing is on your itinerary then why not chill out in the Thai Spa in the Cocca hotel on Lake Iseo in the town of Sarnico, where you can try one of their many specialized Thai massages www.coccahotel.com

Iseo express run a transfer service from Milan-Bergamo airport to Lake Iseo and Lake Endine, its easy, cheap and quick – check out www.iseoexpress.it  or if you want to have a personal driver and unique experience you could contact Marco Moraschi at www.iseotaxi.it – he speaks perfect English and would be able to entertain you with his wit and humour throughout your whole trip.

Madeleine Morgan 21st October 2016


Lake Iseo – Did you know?

foto of ElsDid you know that Lake Iseo also known as Sebino was formed by the erosion of an alpine glacier and was named after the Goddess Isis or Odysseus – therefore known as (‘ Lago di Odisseo’)

In 2005 an extensive underground labyrinth was discovered, stretching from Lake Endine to Lake Iseo. A small group of cavers came across a rock crevice (the size of a 2 euro coin) in the Fonteno valley from which particularly cold air was being emitted. Immediately they realized that something was hidden under there so they decided to dig a hole. Soon they found themselves facing what is now called the Abyss Bueno Fonteno – a gaping chasm of 18 kilometers by 500 meters. Further exploration led to the discovery of the largest cave in the Bergamo area and among the top twenty in Italy. Fairly recently another cave was discovered and named Nueva Vida. It turns out this cave is connected to Bueno Fonteno and together they make for forty kilometers of galleries, falling to depths up to 600 meters and even a third lake. Amazing: so between Lake Iseo and Lake Endine, in the Val Cavallina a third underground lake..is concealed.

Boario Terme, to the north of Lake Iseo, was established as a spa towards the end of the eighteenth century with the construction of the Casino Boario. Here they administered “healthy water magnesium and iron vitrinolate” The first mention of “medicinal springs” can be attributed to Father Gregorio Brunelli (Vallecamonica – 1698), but the therapeutic properties of thermal springs had been known since the fifteenth century. In the second half of the 19th century Boario Terme became a health resort and fashionable meeting place for the rich middle class: the “Ancient Water Source” it even appeared in the shops of Milan’s and many chemists. Today, thanks to the presence of four different mineral water sources, Boario is one of the most unique thermal centres of Italy and offers a wide range of treatments that cure various ailments.

Mount Trentapassi not only features in several paintings of Leonardo da Vinci, it is also home to a yearly event in Spring called the Skyrace. The Skyrace is all about skyrunning – running in the mountains over extremely technical trails – with lengths that exceed over 18 kilometers. Departing from Marone athletes face two kilometers of flat land. In the subsequent 3.5 kilometers they will go up to 1050 meters. Reaching the top of the Corna Trentapassi (1250 meters above sea level) the trail then falls in the direction of Zone alternating stretches of descent from extreme to just difficult which will test the legs of any athlete.

Near the town of  Solto Collina, located at an altitude between 350 and 700 meters above sea level, this natural reserve of about 70 ha boasts a wide variety of plant species (among which edelweiss, gentians and rhododendron) that are normally found at 1000 meters and more often at 1500 meters of height. This is due to a micro-thermal phenomenon that takes place with the emission of freezing air from some “cold holes” or gorges in the ground. The Natural Reserve is also the perfect place for birdwatching, thanks to the 28.000 species of birds living in this environment. The site can be visited only on Saturdays and Sundays in May, June and July. The entrance is free.

The Antica Strada Valeriana (Cai path 291) was the only route to Valle Camonica for many thousands of years. Fully revamped and reinstated for tourism purposes, the route is today a harmonious encounter between landscape, art and history. The route runs along the hinterland of the eastern shore of the lake, from Pilzone d’Iseo to Pisogne (there is a project in progress to extend it as far as Monticelli Brusati and Ome), passing through the territories of Sulzano, Sale Marasino, Marone and Zone. The trip is extraordinarily stunning because there are always views of Lake Iseo and the surrounding mountains. The route is indicated at junctions and intersections by information boards, arrows and a yellow and brown coloured V.  The Antica Strada Valeriana is also cited as the ‘Route of Spiritual Devotion’. The presence of churches, shrines, monasteries and chapels is in fact quite extraordinary; they were used in the past to provide assistance and refreshment to travelers and pilgrims.

Lake Iseo is not known for its beaches. However, a particularly nice one can be found near the town of Iseo. It is a public beach of  around 2000 m2, a green oasis within walking distance from the historic town centre, and features a good restaurant.

The Valcamonica has a wealth of rock art left by its inhabitants during thousands of years of history that has stayed almost intact. The rocks, from a geological point of view, are Permian sandstones, formed in the last period of the Palaeozoic age, the Permian (280-225 million years ago). Huge bulks of debris were carried by powerful rivers in that age and slowly piled up in continental basins where the combined action of time, mechanical and chemical reactions turned them into stones. The subsequent geological events (elevations and erosions) shaped them. On these rocks the first dwellers of the Valcamonica begun to carve the signs of their thought and spirituality.There are a lot of rocks to see in the park, all with several themes and engraved in different periods.

Located in a clay reservoir, the Pyramids are hoodoos (also known as tent rocks, earth or erosion pyramids, or fairy chimneys), which result from prolonged erosion.  Layers of clay are washed away all around boulders, with the latter protecting the clay deposit directly underneath them. Year after year of such erosion has left a surreal landscape marked by boulders perched on top of spindly towers of clay, some reaching as high as 30 meters (98 feet). The scenery can be taken in from the road, but it is worthwhile venturing down the steep trail that snakes through the Pyramids.  Although part of the trail can be challenging, it is relatively short, and it could be completed in 30 minutes.  However, allow at least one hour for appreciating the spectacle from down below.  Bear in mind that the site is in continuous change due to erosion, and caution must be taken when walking under the Pyramids.

Il Treno dei Sapori is a multisensorial journey through the railway Brescia-Edolo. It is about experiencing the taste of delicious food and wines while admiring the beauties of Valcamonica’s, Franciacorta’s and Iseo lake’s landscapes and the natural, artistic, historic and cultural richness of the area.  Il Treno dei Sapori is made of a vintage locomotive from the early ‘900s and two fully equipped modern wagons provided with air conditioning, multimedia devices, external cameras and audio-visual systems to show its passengers real time outlooks. Dedicated to slow travel Il Treno dei Sapori offers more than ten different itineraries led by expert guides and certified sommeliers. It runs on Sundays and festive days and can be booked through http://trenodeisapori.area3v.com/en/book-online

Elisa Di Solto – 27th November 2016

 


foto of ElsBeing Dutch, going on holiday when I was young mostly came down to this. You would head for a sunny Southern European destination whilst dragging this big “thing” behind your car. Travelling like a snail, your own little house on your back, having to be extra careful when coming down a mountain…

I never enjoyed a summer holiday more than the one at a campsite near Malcesine. Where a hammock, Italian ice cream, plenty of sunshine, a pebble beach, an air mattress and my new best friend Cardia van Bemmelen provided all the fun a 7 year old could wish for, back then the main tourists in those days seemed to be mostly Dutch.

Early seventies Lake Garda was as beautiful as it is today, with charming villages, lemon trees and exotic flowers everywhere and crystal clear blue waters – perfect for swimming. But it had yet to be discovered by mass tourism. I would say that Lake Iseo today reminds me of those times.

When my husband and I decided in 2010 to look for an apartment in Italy we focused on Lake Garda. After visiting it only once, he was smitten too and could see us spending many a holiday there. It did not take me long to find Madeleine Morgan’s Dreamhomes and then our journey really took off. And it was Madeleine who introduced us first to Lake Iseo.

Like many people, I had visited all the larger north Italian lakes (Maggiore, Como, Garda) but not Lake Iseo. Each lake has a personality of its own. Compared to Garda, Iseo is much smaller, more secluded and less polished. It seduces you quite differently. If Lake Garda is the extravert spontaneous girl, Iseo is her more serene, mysterious sister. It was its “inspiring authenticity and grand beauty” that made world famous artist Jean Claude Christo select Lake Iseo as the location for “The Floating Piers”, earlier this year.

Lake Garda has a sub-mediterranean climate. This basically means lovely mild weather but a few more rain showers in summer than say, the Amalfi Coast.Lake Iseo’s climate is alpine, with olives and horse chestnuts rather than lemon groves and palm trees. Summers are very sunny but generally a few degrees cooler than Lake Garda.

Iseo also borders the Franciacorta wine region, famous for sparkling wine made in the Champagne method. Franciacorta was recently hailed by international wine connoisseurs as Italy’s best new sparkling wine, and chosen as the “Official Sparkling Wine” of the Milan Expo 2015. Needless to say that interest in the region is starting to soar.

Back to 2010. Madeleine showed us many appealing apartments, first at Lake Garda and then at Lake Iseo. And I cannot deny we were more than a little pleased to find that at Iseo, we could get substantially more for our money. Iseo has not got the star power of sister Lake Garda – yet. But the quiet beauty, authentic atmosphere and wonderful restaurants with both delicious and very affordable food, certainly made us fall in love with her.

Article by Elisa di Solto  – 10th September 2016


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