12 things to see on Lake Iseo and Franciacorta

Churches, historic mansions, traditions and customs museums, views of the lake, hills dotted with vineyards. Discover 12 points of interest in Franciacorta and Lake Iseo and plan a weekend full of culture and relaxation.

1) Chiesa S. Maria della Neve (Pisogne) 

The “Sistine Chapel of the Poor”. This is how art historian Giovanni Testori renamed this small church, for its incredible beauty. Located just outside the historic centre of Pisogne, it is known for the outstanding frescoes by Gerolamo Romanino, one of the most important Renaissance painters in Brescia. The exterior is characterized by a rather simple façade, but once inside you will be stunned by the pictorial cycle of the Passion of Christ, whose figures depart from the idealised forms of classic Renaissance style to embrace the humble reality of Christianity. The apex of the artistic mastery of Romanino is the large, dramatic Crucifixion which occupies the whole counter façade.

Chiesa Santa Maria della Neve, Pisogne

The building was deconsecrated and today hosts interesting cultural and music events.

Learn more about Chiesa S. Maria della Neve.

2) Chiesa San Giovanni Battista (Zone)

Located in the historic centre, in a strategic position just steps from the main hiking trails – Antica Strada Valeriana, Bosco degli Gnomi, ascent to Mount Guglielmo – the parish church of Zone boasts splendid altars created by the best local artists of the 17th century. Particularly noteworthy are Corpus Domini altar in polychrome marbles, Madonna of the Rosary altar, and the main altar – a work by Grazioso and Andrea Fantoni. Andrea Fantoni also signed the evocative sculpture of The Mourning of Christ, composed of 10 statues in real size and 4 cherubs. The octagonal chapel on the side of the church is very interesting. Built at the beginning of the 18th century as cemetery chapel, today is dedicated to the Virgin Mary.

Chiesa di Zone, Credits Diocesi di Brescia

Learn more about  Chiesa San Giovanni Battista.

3) Santuario Madonna della Ceriola (Monte Isola)

A small gem offering a stunning view of Lake Iseo and the surrounding area, one of the best of the region. It’s the Shrine of Madonna della Ceriola, the symbol of Monte Isola and must-visit place for all those who want to spend a day enjoying the island. Built on a older 15th century church, the shrine is the result of a series of interventions from different periods of time, including the expansion of the presbytery at the beginning of the 17th century and the erection of the bell tower in 1750.  The final result is a religious site clearly marked by Baroque elements, among which are the beautiful frescoes of the nave and the presbytery dedicated to the Virgin Mary and the wooden sculpture above the altar of the Madonna on the throne with baby Jesus and Saints Faustino and Giovita on the sides. In the back, a large collection of ex voto plates left by the faithful as a sign of gratitude and devotion.

Santuario della Ceriola, Monte Isola

Learn more about Santuario Madonna della Ceriola Shrine.

4 ) Area Sacra Pieve S. Andrea – Chiesa di San Silvestro (Iseo)

Located in the old centre of Iseo at the intersection of picturesque alleys, the sacred complex is a unique sight in the whole lake area. On one side stands the old parish church of S. Andrea with a unique bell tower in the middle of the façade, which serves as entrance. On its right is the 14th century funerary arch of Giacomo Oldofredi. Among the artistic treasures preserved inside is the Archangel Michael canvas by Hayez, once of the world masters of Neoclassicism. In the square there is also the entrance to San Silvestro church, which contains a precious Macabre Dance.

Pieve di Sant'Andrea, Iseo
Copyright @linoolmostudio

Learn more about Pieve S. Andrea e Chiesa San Silvestro.

5) Monastero San Pietro in Lamosa: Church – Disciplina – Cloister (Provaglio d’Iseo)

Built around the year 1100 and owned by the Monastic Order of Cluny for about four centuries, the Monastery of San Pietro in Lamosa is an oasis of peace characterised by different architectural styles, from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance. Located on a dominating position over the Torbiere peat bog nature reserve, the complex is composed of a Romanesque Church, the Disciplina, and the small inner cloister. The room which used to be the seat of the Disciplini Confraternity boasts beautiful 16th century frescoes.

Monastero di San Pietro in Lamosa
Copyright franciacorta.net

Learn more about Monastero San Pietro in Lamosa.

6) Castello di Bornato

Surrounded by Franciacorta vineyards and located in the municipality of Cazzago San Martino, Bornato Castle is an extremely rare example of richly frescoed Renaissance villa built inside a medieval castle. The itinerary of the guided tours and tastings touch the crenellated walls, towers and buttresses, moats, the drawbridge, the stunning Italian garden, and the old wine cellar.

Castello di Bornato, Franciacorta

Learn more about Castello di Bornato.

7) Palazzo Torri (Nigoline di Corte Franca)

Enchanting historic mansion in the heart of 17th-century Franciacorta, under the ownership of Paolina Calegari and husband Alessandro it was the elegant venue of receptions and cultural initiatives. Among famous names who passed through here are Carducci, Fogazzaro, Pascoli, Zanardelli, as well as scientists and aristocrats from the most illustrious Brescian families. With its exceptional frescoed rooms, Palazzo Torri is open to the public for guided tours and private events like celebrations, banquets, and exclusive holidays. The centuries old garden is ideal for a regenerating walk surrounded by nature.

  • Via Santa Eufemia 5, Nigoline di Corte Franca – tel. +39 391 17758095 – +39 030 9826200
  • www.palazzotorri.it
  • Paid entrance

Learn more about Palazzo Torri.

8) Pieve Romanica Santa Maria Maggiore (Erbusco)

Reopened in 2020 after long restoration and stabilisation efforts, the church is a significant example of Late Romanesque-Lombard architecture with Gothic influences. Build first in the 12th century and remodeled several times, the church lied inside a medieval castle. Still today, a few of the castle structures can be recognised. Inside, the 15th century frescoes are noteworthy.

Pieve Romanica di Erbusco_Credits Diocesi di Brescia

Learn more about Pieve Romanica Santa Maria Maggiore.

9) Chiesa and Convento Santissima Annunciata (Rovato)

Built starting from 1449 on Mount Orfano in a splendid panoramic position, the church and convent complex has been a spiritual point of reference for centuries for religious people, poets, and scholars. Today, you can access the sacristy, the cloister, the friars’ cells, the refectory, an internal chapel, and the church, which contains the extraordinary Annunciation fresco by Romanino and a 15th century wooden crucifix. One of the most appreciated corners is the porch overlooking Franciacorta’s vineyards. On clear days, this beautiful view stretches to the Apennines. The convent is not open to the public at the moment.

  • Via Monte Orfano 9, Rovato –  Church tel. +39 331 7579086, Convent tel. +39 030 7241093 – +39 389 8368219
  • www.conventoannunciata.com
  • Convent: paid entrance

Learn more about Chiesa e Convento SS Annunciata.

10) Abbazia Olivetana Benedettina Santi Nicola e Paolo VI (Rodengo Saiano)

One of the most famous religious sites in Franciacorta, the Olivetan Abbey in Rodengo Saiano was founded in 1090 by Cluny Benedictine monks and passed to Olivetan monks in 1446. They enriched the complex with precious works by the best Brescian masters: Moretto, Romanino, Gambara, Cossali, and Ferramola, elevating the general prestige of the monastery until it became a place of utmost artistic and spiritual value. The buildings open to the public are the Renaissance church with an altarpiece by Moretto, the three cloisters, the refectory of the guest quarters with frescoes by Romanino, the monumental gallery, and the museum of sacred objects.

Abbazia Olivetana San Nicola

Learn more about Abbazia Olivetana Benedettina Santi Nicola e Paolo VI.

11) Borgo del Maglio (Forge – Ome)

A journey in the past between traditional crafts and culture. Divided into two main cores – Maglio Averoldi Museum with a 15th century furnace and Pietro Malossi House-Museum – Borgo del Maglio in Ome gives visitors the opportunity to admire an old forge still in operation and learn about traditional iron making. The House-Museum has two floors and contains a noteworthy collection of furniture, tools, artistic objects, and antiques. A large room is completely dedicated to master engraver Francesco Gino Medici.

Maglio di Ome, Franciacorta

Learn more about Borgo del Maglio.

12) Santuario Madonna della Stella (Cellatica, Gussago)

Built on Selva hill starting from 1537 in sober Baroque style, Madonna della Stella shrine hosts the altarpiece Madonna and Child with Angels by Romanino and works by Cossali and Gandino. Easily accessible on foot, from the church porch you can admire a magnificent view of Brescia’s plain until the Po plain.

A bronze statue of St. Paul VI stands outside the church, by artist Luciano Minguzzi. It’s in memory of the affection that Brescia’s Pope had for this place. The benches and bar offer a regenerating break to the many families that every Sunday come to the shrine for a quiet afternoon and to go to Mass.

Learn more about Santuario Madonna della Stella.

Click here to download all the cultural itineraries in Lake Iseo and Franciacorta.