LAKE IDRO and BAGOLINO – FULL DAY
Lake Idro, among the Brescian lakes is the smallest and often a bit snubbed.
The proximity to the famous Lake Garda put it in the background. Anyway, what about a trip? Why do not experience a naturalistic, historical and artistic area?
It is also called Eridio and it is a gem set in the middle of Sabbia Valley green mountains. The Chiese river flows into the lake and it also flows out of it.
There are churches and military fortresses that overlook its shores. Medieval origin villages, with narrow streets, arcades and courtyards have maintained the simple atmosphere over time.
A rich and important historical past that is still present.
IDRO (main village)
The Pieve or Santa Maria ad Undas Church is located in the hamlet of Pieve Vecchia. The term 'ad Undas', literally 'near the waves', is due indeed to its proximity to the shores of the lake. The current building is not the first church, probably destroyed during the 1200s, even if some sections, such as the apse, have to be dated back to this period. It is a gabled church, with one nave and walls outside are not decorated; on the right side, the main entrance, as the façade is completely closed.
Inside, XV-XVI century frescoes and two lateral altars. The choir located instead of the ancient apse. No information about the author, but the Church dates back to the fifteen century. The Polyptic above the main altar represents the Virgin with her Child and four Saints. Outside, on the left side, stands the belltower.
Saint Michael Parish Church is a “temple of wood carving” dating back to the first half of 1700s; work made by Boscaì Brothers (Francis and John Baptiste). Precious the Choir loft, the sixteenth-century crucifix and magnificent the ciborium.
The largest Municipality of the district of Brescia is Bagolino, and it is entirely in the mountain area. From “Bagolino”, the famous “Bagoss Cheese”. A very appreciated traditional product, made locally, which explains the name. Bagolino, is also known for its peculiar carnival. A moment of celebration and fun involving the whole Sabbia Valley.
The artistic and historical itinerary develops visiting Saint George’s Parish Church and the smaller church dedicated to Saint Rocco.
Saint George’s Church
Achieved in 1636, the Church has, inside, frescoes by Palma il Giovane. The "Duomo" overlooks the village that seems to be gathered at his feet in a semicircle (the two extremities of the circle become larger and form the two quarters: Visnà on the right side of the church and Cavril on the left side). The gabled facade has an elegant pronaos formed by seven arches.
The interior is a huge space lit by eight windows. Two contrasting feelings: monumentality also emphasized by the architectural optical illusions by Sandrini and Viviani, and the spiritual concentration, created by the only nave and the high side niches.
Tommaso Sandrini frescoed the vault, according to the style of the seventeenth century.
The organ, located in the choir has been made by Serassi brothers.
After Sandrini’s death, due to the plague of 1630, the vault of the apse and of the choir were decorated by Ottavio Viviani.
The third left-side niche is famous for Saint Luke’s Virgin also called the Virgin of the Rosary Altar because of the presence of fifteen mysteries. The walls are frescoed by Palma il Giovane, the wooden frame by Giacomo Faustini, a woodcarver coming from Brescia Plain area that doesn’t reach the level of the famous Boscaì.
Saint Rocco’s Church
The most ancient part of the church is the choir that houses a cycle of frescoes by Pietro da Cemmo: the fifteenth century Gothic representation connects in a logical sense the two main historical events leading to the human Redemption: "the Annunciation and the Crucifixion" On the right of the entrance arch is the Announced Virgin (Mater Dei); on the left the announcing Archangel Gabriel (Procurator Dei).
The painter, as a theologian, realized Sibyls, inspiring to the most beautiful noble ladies’ portraits of his time.
The Evangelists, as historians of the New Testament, are an ideal connection between the Annunciation and the great Crucifixion, which covers the whole counter facade.
LAKE IDRO: A Fortification in Anfo (visit with internal guides).
Val Sabbia has always been a border area: many remains of military fortifications, sometimes dating back to the period of Venetian Republic, are still visible. The most famous is the Fortification in Anfo – a military complex built by Venice in the fifteenth century, with the purpose to control the boundary between Venice territory and that controlled by the prince bishop of Trento.
Napoleon wanted to restore it in 1800.Even Garibaldi in 1866 used it, during Monte Suello battle.
That border has been a real LIMIT, until Italians conquered Trentino in 1918. The Great War left heavy traces because of its strategic position against Austrians.
Later on, the fortification lost its military rule and it is nowadays a monument visited by tourists.
THE IRON ROAD – FULL DAY
This itinerary develops through Trompia Valley and Franciacorta. For centuries Trompia Valley has been the leader of the flourishing activity of iron working.
The “Iron Road” represents the ideal itinerary to discover the secrets and the tradition that has found its ideal location in Trompia Valley.
The guide will meet the group in Brescia (or another place, as agreed) and the first visit will be Marzoli Mine in Pezzaze, open to the public since December 1999, (it was abandoned in 1972) and later the Miner Museum and the museum of Iron Art. (A ticket has to be paid).
Properly equipped visitors enter the heart of the mine by train; after that, about six hundred meters walking, along tunnels, and the techniques of extraction of siderite are revealed.
Visiting Marzoli Mine is an amazing experience. The collective memory is still alive and widespread. The train entering in the hearth of the mountain, into the perennial darkness allows the visitor to reach another dimension.
It is a sensory experience thanks to the visual and sound reproductions inside the tunnels.
The group will move to Franciacorta for lunch in a farm restaurant.
Afternoon: visit of MAGLIO di OME (FORGE MUSEUM):
The oldest smithy in the Brescian province is the Maglio Averoldi in Ome that was built in 1155. The Averoldi Smithy is the only real witness of the ancient art of forging the iron, and produce tools and pieces of furniture among the best in the territory. The smithy still works, as an important educational museum, as well as a fundamental piece of the Valtrumplina tradition.
A great number of water mills existed here, because of the presence of a channel. The same that let the smithy to be active.
A great economic activity was present and Andrea Averoldi has been the last that worked according to the traditional techniques.
Above all, tools for peasant activity were worked (rakes, blade tips, spades ...) Today it is a museum that complete the visit of the mine. (Ticket has to be paid)
RIVER OGLIO and ITS CASTLES – FULL DAY
This itinerary develops thanks to the presence of RIVER OGLIO: undoubtedly a rich artistic area, with no fame.
River Oglio was at the base of the local, purely agricultural economy, but also represented the boundary of different properties, and therefore manors and castles have been built, sign of a strong feudal presence. (in particularly Martinengo Family).
By this title we still mean a border area, among provinces of Brescia, Cremona, Mantua, because of the course of the river.
The itinerary starts from ORZINUOVI, whose Rocca (stronghold) is today the only evidence of the complex defensive system, which made the village one of the most important fortified centers of the plain: two of the four corner towers are still visible, the clock tower ... monument with military character and difficult to read ... altered in its original shape, after 1800, when it lost, in fact, military use.
We continue to SONCINO, the other most important center of the area, where the Rocca (stronghold) is among the most remarkable and best preserved in Lombardy. Built by the Sforza family, it became a Spanish possession, now it is entirely open to visitors.
Even the historic center is particularly interesting, with the city walls, the Clock Tower, the Jewish Printing House and the Churches ... all in a medieval atmosphere.
Tickets to be paid for the Rocca and the Jewish Printing House http://www.prolocosoncino.it
Then we move to the village of Borgo San Giacomo, in Padernello hamlet.
Lunch (If possible, in a restaurant where, in the 1600s, Noble Martinengo Family stopped to have a rest.)
PADERNELLO Castle is still surrounded by a moat filled with water, with the tower, the drawbridge and the central donjon. It was a property of Martinengo Family.
(For some years now, a truly extraordinary restoration work has been done!)
In the afternoon, VILLACHIARA, another Martinengo ‘s property, whose structure is
between the Castle and the elegant residence, (external visit) and BARCO, a fortified residence, famous in the past for the beautiful garden, commissioned by Giovanni Francesco Martinengo. (external visit).