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Golden Day Seventy-Four: Lago Iseo with Denise Soto Ferreira

April 16, 2012

I was drawn like a magnet to the Patience blog (who doesn’t need Patience!) and am grateful to have virtually met its charming creator, Denise Soto Ferreira. Denise is a native of Portugal, who married an Italian and now lives in Milan. Her blog beautifully reflects her passion for life in Italy–with gorgeous photos, enticing recipes, musings and helpful info.

When I asked Denise to choose one of her favorite spots for a Golden Day, Iseo Lake was her answer. Most travelers head to Lake Como when they’re in Lombardy, so I’m grateful for Denise’s excellent insider’s advice on this under-the-tourist-radar paradise:

Located in the Franciacorta territory, Iseo is a picturesque lakeside town that goes back to medieval times.

There is almost a seaside feel to this place with pine trees welcoming you to the lake.

From May to September this relaxing atmosphere springs to life with regattas, concerts and dances while several sports like swimming, windsurfing, fishing, diving and sailing can be practiced.

Visit the Parish Church of St. Andrew which was founded during the 5th century. Apart from its beautiful frescoed ceiling and altar, it is also home to important paintings by Giuseppe Diotti and Francesco Hayez.

Then making your way through the small streets of this quaint town you’ll pass by the Oldolfredi Castle (which is now home of the public library and used for expos and conferences) and through Piazza Garibaldi taking you to the lakeside promenade. The promenade is filled with Cafés and Gelateria’s for your pleasure.

For lunch I recommend eating at the Risotteria Opera Iseo (Via Campo, 32, 030 981507, open daily).The staff is accommodating and friendly and I recommend tasting their delicious“Risotto al Brut Franciacorta”, but if you fancy something lighter they also serve a good piadine (flat bread).  During the week days they serve a great special of Risotto, water and a coffee for €8.

For something more elaborate you can try Osteria La Cantina (Viale Repubblica, 6/a Tel: 030 9822041, Closed all day Thurs and Fri lunch).

After lunch, I suggest going to Monte Isola, this is an inhabited island in the middle of the lake. You can reach the ferry to the island with a 10 minute drive or train ride to Sulzano and from there take the ferry across, as the town of Iseo doesn’t have this frequent service. The ferry is available every 15-20 minutes and a return ticket only costs €3,50.

Monte Isola was known for the traditional manufacturing of fishing nets until the industrial manufactures took over.  At Peschiera Maraglio you can see what remains of that traditional craftsmanship.

The island has an amazing view of the main land and it is scattered with cypress and olive trees. Clean, fresh air and panoramic views with the subtle sounds of water brushing along its coast, you can’t get more relaxing than that. If you look around you might notice a local characteristic of pieces of fish hanging on balconies, the fresh water fish “Cavedano” is caught in the lake then cleaned, cut and placed in salt for 24 hours. From there it’s hung up in the sun for 2 days and then bottled in local olive oil.

On this island you can visit the Madonna della Ceriola sanctuary, which is at the top of the island and the crisply frescoed church of Saint Michael ”S.Michele” dating back to XVI – XVII century.

And why not end your day out in these alluring parts by staying in modern and divine lake side Hotel Rivalago, at Sulazano, not too far from the ferry stop.

So take a mesmeric day out unwinding in this charming part of the Lombardy region.

Grazie mille Denise!

*Photos courtesy of Denise and www.lagodiseo.org

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One Comment leave one →
  1. September 13, 2012 9:58 pm

    Susan – Thanks for turning me on to your blog. We’re going to study it closely over the next week before we leave for Paris and the Italy. Wonderful!

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