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Iseo: to know
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museums and archeological place:
War Museum in the Oldofredi Castle in Iseo.

Various exhibition by
- Arsenal Cultural Centre, Via Malinconia 2
- IAT office, Lungolago Marconi 2

Storical signal:
The history of Iseo undoubtedly dates back to prehistoric times, as is demonstrated by findings coming from lake-dwellings from the Mesolithic era recovered in the peat bogs. The Camuni, Rhaetians and Cenomani used the lake as a centre for exchange and commerce, as well as for fishing.
There is substantial evidence that it was an important commercial centre in the Roman era from 16 BC. One of the most important findings demonstrating this is an artefact representing one of the Labours of Hercules, found inside a temple which was discovered during restoration work on the church of S. Andrea.
The origin of the name Iseo would appear to derive from "in-sebum", and hence "Insevo" and Iseo", and thus from the same origin as Sebino, the other name for Lake Iseo.

It became a parish in the 5th century under Lombard occupation and came under the control of the Brescian monastery of S.Giulia.
The castle was first built around the year 1000 and there is still a castle here today.
Iseo became a strategic and commercial stronghold for the fortified town of Brescia. Barbarossa and his grandson Federico II attempted to destroy it in 1161 and 1288, with the Ghibelline faction from the Valle Camonica. It was then reconstructed thanks to the intervention of Brescia, bringing considerable economic advantages to the local population.
The second ring of historic city walls was built in order to defend the development of artisan activities.
In 1252 Brescia forbade the construction of towers in Iseo, a few years later taking control of the port in order to control traffic. In the meantime the Castle acquired the name of Oldofredi. The inhabitants of Iseo, with the assistance of the Visconti and Scaligeri families, reconstructed first the fortifications and subsequently the whole castle in 1331. When the lands of Iseo were ceded to the Venetian Republic, the Oldofredi family were exiled.
Visconti and Sforza troops passed through the town in the 15th century, while in 1513 it was occupied by Spanish troops. At the same time the growth of trade made Iseo and the surrounding area so important that it was included in the fluvial canalisation projects designed by Leonardo da Vinci, as part of the project which would have joined Bergamo to Brescia. In 1588 work was begun on reconstructing the port, subsequently renovated in 1701. In 1784 the wool manufacturers came together in an association, evidence of the importance of this sector for the economy of the town, along with emerging silk industry. Artisan activities were indeed the foundation of the middle classes, who greeted the arrival of the Cisalpine Republic with favour.
When the town was abandoned by the Hapsburgs, the envoy of the new government, Giuseppe Zanardelli, was welcomed to Iseo with waving of the Italian flag. A few years later the inhabitants of Iseo greeted the troops of Giuseppe Garibaldi with similar enthusiasm and today Iseo can boast the first monument dedicated to this Italian hero. Gabriele Rosa, a scholar and representative of the local republican group, which contributed to the political success of Giuseppe Zanardelli, was a famous citizen of Iseo.
From 1870-80 three steam-powered spinning mills were started up and in 1875 the port was extended, becoming a centre for the collection of cereals heading for the Valcamonica. Tourism was launched in the 1930s with the renovation in 1937 of the lakeside promenade, which today takes the name of Guglielmo Marconi.

What to visit:
The parish church of S. Andrea:
It is believed that the church was founded in the 6th century by Bishop San Vigilio on the site of a Roman temple. It was subsequently reconstructed in the 12th century in Lombard style. Over the centuries the parish church was renovated several times.
At the beginning of the 19th century Rodolfo Vantini renovated the interior in neo-classical style. The church is characterised by an unusual bell tower incorporated into the centre of the faade and which represents the most attractive Romanesque bell tower in the Brescia area.
On the right-hand side of the portal there is a particularly interesting 14th century gothic arch by Giacomo Oldofredi. Inside there are frescoes by Angelo Inganni and Arcangelo Michele dell Hayez. In the presbytery there are frescoes by Ponziano Loverini and Giuseppe Teosa.

San Silvestro:
The building which can be seen today dates back to the 13th century, but its origins are undoubtedly much older. In 1985, during restoration work on the apse, eight 15th century fresco panels depicting a fascinating dance of death were discovered.

The old church of St John the Baptist:
This 17th century church was constructed opposite the parish church of San Andrea. The two-level faade has four pilasters, the upper level containing two empty niches and the central window. The aisleless church contains an 18th century fresco depicting St John the Baptist.

Castle Oldofredi:
The castle, the only fortress on Lake Iseo, lies on a rocky spur close to an ancient communications route with Brescia.
The current building dates back to the 13th century but the castle already existed in 1161, the year in which Federico I of Swabia (Barbarossa) set fire to it.
The fortress is rectangular, with square towers at the corners. The external structure has remained more or less intact, while the interior has been subjected to major reorganisation work.
Between the 16th and 18th centuries the castle was ceded to the Capuchin monks and transformed into a monastery.
It is currently used to house the municipal library and the war museum.

The cloister of the hospital:
This is to be found within a complex of buildings in the old Franciscan monastery dating back to the 14th century, which was transformed and extended in various periods.
The cloister and some frescoes can still be seen.

Palazzo delArsenale: one of the oldest buildings in the town, it was initially used as a house-court, taking on a commercial and residential role in the 14th and 15th centuries, to then become a prison from the 19th century until 1980.
Today it houses an active cultural centre and hosts exhibitions and shows.

The church of Santa Maria del Mercato:
Also known as the Oldofredi church, it was built in the 14th century and restored in the 18th century.
The Baroque faade is interesting.
Inside there are beautiful 14th and 16th century frescoes.

The Sanctuary of the Madonna della Neve:
The sanctuary dates back to the 17th century and is situated close to Castle Oldofredi. It was blessed on 5 August 1656, the day of the Feast of the Madonna della Neve (Madonna of the Snows). Inside there is a single nave without aisles and two lateral altars. The fresco of the Madonna with Child and SantAntonio Abate by an unknown painter dates back to the 15th century.

Piazza Gabriele Rosa:
This Piazza is to be found at the port and has a monument to the politician and man of letters from Iseo.

Piazza Garibaldi:
The Piazza holds the first monument to the hero (1883), the work of Bordini. The houses with their porticoes recall the old port. The Town Hall, built in 1830-33 according to a design by Vantini, is to be found here.

Outlet Franciacorta


::: Images :::
Detail of panorama
Detail of panorama
Lakeside promenade
Lakeside promenade
Western coast
Western coast

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