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Town of Iseo from the marina


Monte Isola near Lake Iseo


Village of Zorzino, Lombardia
Near Lake Iseo

Welcome to Iseo on Lake Iseo

Population: 8,389 (2004)
Official site:
Iseo
Wikipedia:
Iseo
Map:
MapQuest

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Located at the southern end of Lake Iseo, in Brescia Province, Iseo is a pleasant lake side town that draws its fair share of Italian and other European tourists every year, particularly during the warm summer months.  Iseo and the Lake which takes its name is not that well known outside Europe despite the fact that Lake Iseo is one of the four largest in the Lake District.

The town has been inhabited since the Bronze Age, and since that time its history has paralleled that of the Lombardia and  Veneto Regions.  The lake, of course, served as a transportation link between its southern and northern ends, and connected a myriad of small towns and villages along both sides of the lake. 

The Romans dominated the area for several centuries and Iseo seems to have been an important small town on the Via Valeriana, certain lengths of which form  the route for today's modern highway. Various Roman artifacts have also been discovered, including a statuette, said to represent the Seven Labours of Hercules, which was dug-up during excavations around the very old parish church of Sant'Andrea, which was built on the remains of a Roman temple during the reign of the Longobards.  The nearby monastery of Santa Giulia was also built at this time.

During the Middle Ages castles and other fortifications were built around Lake Iseo, including the castle in Iseo itself.  The town - and castle - were raised by Frederik I (Barbarossa) but later rebuilt.

By 1427 the Venetian Republic had conquered the area, and Iseo and other local towns remained under its aegis for the following three centuries.  During the 17th century, the population of Iseo was decimated by the plague of the Black Death.  Ultimately, the Austrians took control of Venice and most of Lombardia but the people of Iseo strongly opposed Austrian rule and readily embraced the principles of the Risorgimento that ultimately led to the Unification of Italy.  The town boasts that it was the first to erect a statue in honour of Giuseppe Garibaldi, one of the most powerful leaders of the unity movement.

In earlier days, Iseo's economy was largely based on its importance as a lake port, but from early days it has also been involved in wool production, and later, the production of raw silk which fed the textile mills of Brescia and Milano.  Today, of course, Iseo's prosperity is owed in large measure to the tourist industry, although various small industrial plants and factories are scattered, sometime indiscriminately around the Lake - often marring its natural beauties.

In Iseo, there are no spectacular monuments or grand buildings here, but the ambience, especially during the clement months, is sweet and seductive.  There are a number of very good hotels and a few good restaurants; the lakeside promenade, opened in 1937, offers an opportunity to enjoy the lakeside breezes and great views across the lake.

Iseo is also a great place to make camp for excursions into the local countryside, particularly into the Val Camonica where one can see prehistoric rock drawings, and to Monte Isola, a large island with a number of interesting attractions.

By Vian Andrews, December 27th, 2006

Region of Lombardia

4539′N 1003′E

Directions

Brescia - 26 km;
Bergamo - 52 km;
Bardolino - 87 km:
Verona - 93 km;
Milan - 103 km;
Venice - 203 km


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Tourist Office: Lungolago Marconi 2
Mon-Sat 9AM-12:30PM and 3PM-6PM; Sun-9AM-12 Noon (closed Saturday after noon and all day Sunday during winter)
Tel: 030-980-209