by Senior Editor, Vian Andrews, December 26th, 2006
Lake Iseo or Lago d'Iseo or Lago Sebina, with a length of 24 kilometers and a width of 5 kilometers, is the fourth largest lake in Lombardy, or Lombardia Italy. It has been formed from the melt waters of the Valcamonica Glacier which flows down the River Oglio, which enters the lake between the villages of Lovere and Pisogne. The lake is one of the deepest in Europe.
It is in the north of the country in the Valcamonica area, near the heavily industrialized cities of Brescia and Bergamo. The eastern western shore of the lake is administered by the Province of Brescia and the western by the Province of Bergamo.
Monte Isola (or Montisola), the largest island of any lake in southern Europe, sits in the middle of the lake at its widest point toward the southern end. Two smaller islands, Loreto and St. Paul, are privately owned. Around the shore of the lake are a number of small, pleasant towns.
On the Brescian side:
Iseo - the town which gives the lake its name - open piazzas and a lovely lakeside promenade.
Marone - up the eastern slopes -close to the Zone Pyramids
Sale Marasino - a plain little town, but a good place to base an excursion in the area.
On the Bergamo side:
Riva di Solto - a comely fishing village with local limestone quarries nearby.
Lovere - an old town that at one time had been fortified. Today it has a Fine Arts School and art gallery (Accademia Tadini). Lovere has a lively night life.
Sarnico - it began as a prehistoric village with houses on stilts over the water. In the Church of San Nazario there are some good frescoes.
and on Monte Isola (Province of Brescia) are:
Peschiera Maraglio - another picturesque fishing village.
Siviano, Sensole and Carzano - additional fishing villages accessible on the lakeside paths.
Cure - at the highest point on the island, featuring an ancient sanctuary.
At the very southerly end there is a very large peat bog, the Torbiere, that gives way to the Franciacorta Valley known around the world for its sparkling wines. Throughout the area of the Valcamonica there are many thermal spas and in a number of locations, prehistoric rock carvings. On the slopes of the eastern shore in the Nature Reserve of Pyramids of Zone there are extraordinary rock pillars that were created by glacial erosion.
Fishing, sailing, boating, water surfing are enjoyed on the lake, and there is a network of hiking and trekking trails on the slopes and mountains that ring Lake Iseo. There are skiing resorts north of the Lake in the Presolano area.
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