Bienno Borgo degli Artisti

Bienno, one of the Most Beautiful Small Towns in Italy



Bienno, one of the Most Beautiful Small Towns in Italy, is an incredibly charming historic town and the pride of mid-Camonica Valley. There is no shortage of stunning views, picturesque courtyards, and highlights in this town, a true gem amidst the green Camonica Valley mountains.  

Bienno: mansions and ancient crafts

This medieval town, built on what was a stunning example of Roman settlement, every year welcomes thousands of tourists who come to explore and enjoy its mansions, museums, frescoed churches, natural spots, and excellent local dishes.

Walking in Bienno means taking a step back in time, experiencing a simple life style away from the chaos of large cities, and savouring the atmosphere of old craft workshops. This last element finds its utmost expression during Bienno Market Exhibition, the main August event in Camonica Valley.

Among the mansions and historic buildings of Bienno, the most noteworthy are Palazzo Simoni Fè, today hosting the art gallery, Renaissance-style Palazzo Francesconi Rebajoli, and the Mill&Forge Musem, the core of the Ethnographic Museum of Iron, Arts, and Popular Traditions in Bienno. Casa degli Artisti or Casa Valigia is also very interesting. It hosts exhibits and workshops.

Churches and spiritual centres in Bienno

Spirituality is one of the fundamental elements of the history and artistic heritage of Bienno.

Let’s start from the Parish Church Santi Faustino and Giovita in the upper part of the town. It contains works by Fiamminghino and Mauro della Rovere. The organ was made by the Antegnati brothers.

Bienno is also known for another two important spiritual centres. The first is Maddalena Hill with its statue of Christ the King, an imposing 8-metre sculpture made of pure gold which is visible from several areas of the valley. The second, a spiritual reference point for the whole province, is SS Pietro and Paolo Hermitage. It’s a peaceful oasis surrounded by nature with an extraordinary natural terrace perched over Camonica Valley. The hermitage has 50 guest bedrooms, a 200-seat auditorium, and conference rooms.

In addition to the churches, the hermitage, and the statue of Christ the King, there are several frescoes and bas reliefs testifying to the spirituality of this place. As you tour the town, you will be surprised by its many unexpected iconographic elements. For further information, visit the official website

From hiking trails to the table

Bienno is an excellent starting point for hiking in Camonica Valley. From the town, you can easily reach trails, forests, cultivated fields, and the best mountain huts and passes in the area. The closest excursions are Campolaro and Bazena Pass a little higher up. The provincial road ends at Crocedomini Pass, visited every year by thousands of motorcyclists and cyclists. In the summer, this is an ideal natural place for picnics while in the winter it turns into a fun bobsled and ski piste. Speaking of bikes, Bienno is close to River Oglio Bike Trail, a splendid itinerary which connects Tonale Pass with the Po Plain.

And what about Bienno’s traditional dishes? The place of honour undisputedly goes to casoncelli, ravioli with a traditional local stuffing of roasted meat, sausage, bread, and parsley served with a melted butter, sage, and abundant Grana Padano cheese sauce. Polenta, local cheeses, and spongada (soft focaccia covered in sugar) are also widely popular.

Not-to-miss attractions

Church of Santa Maria Annunciata

Free entrance/donation
Partially accessible to the disabled

Opening hours: 

Winter: Monday-Sunday 8am-6pm
Summer: Monday-Sunday 8am-7pm

Mulino (Mill) Museum and Vita Contadina (Farming Life) Museum

Via Glere

Free entrance/donation
Partially accessible to the disabled

Opening hours: Monday-Sunday 9:30am-11:30am and 2:30pm-4:30pm

Tickets:  € 1.50

Ethnographic Museum of Iron, Arts, and Popular Traditions. Forge Museum

Via Artigiani, 15

Free entrance/donation
Partially accessible to the disabled

Opening hours:

  • April-October: Tuesday-Sunday 9:30am-12pm and 3pm-5:30pm
  • November-March: Tuesday-Sunday 9:00am-12pm and 2:30pm-4:30pm


€ 1.50 It is possible for groups to reserve a forge experience: € 50 on weekdays, € 80 on weekends and holidays

Artists workshops 

In the old centre

Free entrance/donation
Partially accessible the disabled

Opening hours:

  • April-October: Saturday 10am-12pm and 3pm-5:30p; Sunday 9:30am-12pm and 3pm-5:30pm
  • November-March: Saturday 10am-12pm and 3pm-5:00p; Sunday 9:00am-12pm and 2:30pm-4:30pm

How to reach Bienno

Bienno is about 70 km from Brescia, at 450 metres above sea level. The town is along state road SS42. Follow directions for Edolo / Passo del Tonale if you are coming from Lake Iseo or the city and Lago d’Iseo / Brescia if you are coming from upper Camonica Valley. The nearby town of Esine is served by the Brescia – Iseo – Edolo railway operated by Trenord.

What to see near Bienno

Bienno is a convenient starting point to discover other mid-Camonica Valley beauties. A few kilometres from the town, we find Via Crucis Shrine in Cerveno (12 km), Rock Engraving National Park in Cividate Camuno (15 km), and Musil in Cedegolo (19 km). You can also choose to relax at Boario Spa and Wellness Centre (13 km) or enjoy the lake atmosphere in Pisogne (24 km) and Lovere (28 km), another Most Beautiful Small Town in Italy.


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