A Travellerspoint blog

December 2018

Iseo. The village and the lake.

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Iseo is a nice town situated on the south western shore of lake Iseo. This lake is not far from both Brescia and Bergamo.

I visited Iseo as a day trip from Brescia. It takes around 30 minutes by train to get there.

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There is a castle in Iseo; the Oldofredi castle. It was originally built in the XI century. In 1611 it was restored by the Oldofredi family who owned it.

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Today the castle houses the public library, a museum of war with things used by the troops who fighted in the two world wars, and some rooms used for exibitions.

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As you can see from these pictures there are some frescoes or part of frescoes inside the castle. In 1586 the castle was transformed into a monastery for Franciscan friars. Most probably these frescoes belonged to it.

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One of the things to do in Iseo, after a vist to the castle, is to get lost in its old core. This area is not large. You will not get lost for long!

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The old core in Iseo is a bit uphill. There are several narrow streets and nice spots there.

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Even in the "modern area" in Iseo you can find some narrow steets as the one you see in this picture.

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Piazza Garibaldi is the main square in this town. It is almost surrounded by porticoed palaces with shops and cafes. Here you can see a statue of Giuseppe Garibaldi; a very famous Italian citizen.

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After a long stroll I had a lunch at Osteria Il Volto; a typical restaurant on the main street (via Mirolte). Here they have a good choice of dishes every day. I had filled pasta (ravioli) with ham and cream; a mixed salad and a small glass of wine. The food was good and the price was around 10 euros. Some years ago this restaurant was Michelin starred.

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There is a long promenade on the lake in Iseo. I had a stroll there after lunch. Lots of fowls live on the lake.

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There is a small park overlooking the lake in case one needs a rest.

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There are three islands on this lake. One of these is Montisola, or Monte Isola. There are some village there; the other islands are privately owned. I cannot tell you anything about this Montisola. I only visited Iseo.

You can get to Montisola by ferry from Iseo, or, I suppose from some other villages.

I hope to go back to the lake Iseo area quite soon.

Posted by Maurizioagos 08:59 Archived in Italy Tagged lake iseo castle. Comments (7)

Brescia. Something else.

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Piazza della Loggia takes its name from one of the palaces that border it; the Palazzo della Loggia. It was built between 1492 and 1570. Today it houses the town hall. Opposite this palace you can see a long building with arcades and a clock tower. It was built in 1595.

There are some other buildings at piazza della Loggia, as the Monte di Pietà; the old and the new one.

Piazza della Loggia was the site of a terrorist attack in 1974. It was a bombing. This happened during an anti fascist protest.
Eight people died and 102 were injured.

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Here you see the astronomical clock. One of the nicest things on the square; in my opinion.

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I visited some churches during my stay in Brescia. This town has lots of these.

I was particularly attracted by the shrine of saint Mary of the Graces. This shrine was built between 1875 and 1907 on the area of a previous church dated to the XIII century.

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Inside this church you can see several beautiful paintings as this annunciation to the Virgin.

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Just outside the shrine there is a small cloister with a plethora of ex votos on its walls.

I visited the proper church of Saint Mary of the Graces as well. I didn' t take any pics inside because the church was not lit enough. I remember it is extremely decorated.

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The church of Santa Maria della Carità is one of the few churches that are opened at lunchtime. Most of these are closed between 12 and 3 p. m. circa. I think this church was opened due to the help of some volunteers.

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This church was built in the XVI century. It was reconstructed in 1640 and modified at the beginning of the ' 700. It is richly decorated inside. Some walls or part of these are made of wood resembling decorated marble.

Santa Maria church houses a room where a Madonna' s house (a room) was replicated like the house you can see in Loreto (IT). A similar house was built here because not everyone could visit Loreto and the Madonna' s house.

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Another church I visited was Saint Francis' one. It dates to the XII century. It was enlarged between 1300 and 1400.

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I like very much this fresco with several friars. Unfortunately the church was poorly lit when I visit it, so this picture turned out quite dark.

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This is the Mostassù delle Cossere. A face without a nose.

Here is a legend about it. The emperor Arrigo VII in 1311 chase the Ghibellini (a political faction). Then he lay siege the town and swore to destroy its walls and cut off the noses to the citizens. A priest convinced him to avoid these bad things. So the emperor settled for cutting the noses of the stautes in Brescia.

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There are various picturesque narrow streets in Brescia...

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Brescia was a very important Roman town. Its name then was Brixia.

Besides the Romans founds we see on display in the Saint Giulia museum there are several Romans ruins in this town.

Piazza del Foro was where the Roman forum was situated. Here you can see the Capitolium. It was built by the emperor Vespasian in 74 a. D. It is partly restored. There is also what remains of the basilica (law court) nearby.

The forum; in Roman times was the center of the religious and political life.

In this picture you see the Capitolium. I didn' t go inside, but I will probably do next time I visit Brescia. I have read there are some areas decorated and well preserved into this temple.

Near piazza del Foro and on the same side of the Capltolium there is a quite large Roman theater. Its was constructed from the I to the III centuries a. D.

Well, I think Brescia has more to offer than the attractions I showed you. This town deserves more than a day trip or a two days stay.

I like Brescia!

Posted by Maurizioagos 11:19 Archived in Italy Tagged churches brescia capitolium Comments (2)

Brescia. The castle, the old cathedral, a museum and more.

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Brescia is a town located at the foot of the Alps and between two lakes; lake Garda and lake Iseo. It is not far from Milan and from Bergamo.

This town isn' t as popular as other places in Italy, but here you can find several interesting things to see; a large museum, a castle and lots of churches.

Brescia has a good bus system and a convenient metro.

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Brescia has two cathedrals. The Duomo Nuovo (the new cathedral) and the Duomo Vecchio (the old one).

The new cathedral was built between 1604 and 1825 on the site of another church.

The old cathedral is a circular Romanesque building constructed at the end of the XI century over the ruins of a previous basilica. It was enlarged through the centuries.

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The old cathedral has several frescoes of various eras.

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The castle is a large fortress situated on the top of the Cidneo hill. It was built in the 1200 on a previous site. It was enlarged in the 1400 and finished in 1500.

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It is worth to climb to the castle, just to enjoy some great landscapes over Brescia.

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After the visit to the castle I decided to visit Santa Giulia museum. There is not a restaurant inside, so I had something to eat at the Caffè Vecchia Piazza; a small cafe at piazza Tebaldo Brusato n. 33. It is not far from the museum.

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Santa Giulia museum is a complex made of three churches, three cloisters and an archaeological area.

The churches here are; Santa Maria in Solario church; a XII chapel; Saint Giulia and Saint Salvatore churches. The museum has items from the prehistoric era to 1800. Santa Giulia museum was declared UNESCO site some years ago.

The Desiderius' cross is one of the highlight of the museum. It is decorated with jewels, cameos and painted glass. It dates to the IX century.

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This is a reliquary made of ivory; it is called lipsanoteca. It is decorated with scenes of the Old and the New Testament. You can find both the Desiderius' cross and the lipsanoteca on the upper floor of Santa Maria in Solario church.

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There are lots of Roman artefacts inside this museum.

In this picture you see a gilded bronze head of a Roman emperor.

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You can se what remains of a couple of Roman houses at the basement of the museum.

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My favourite part of this museum is the Coro delle Monache (the nun' s choir). This is a colourful room where the nuns used to pray. Its walls are almost entirely covered with frescoes.

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The nun' s choir was built in the second half of the 1400. Its frescoes date to the 1500.

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I could have stayed for a very long time inside the nun' s choir!

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Saint Salvatore basilica dates to the VII century. Here, the frescoes are not in good conditions, except these you can see in this picture.

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Here you see a close up of these frescoes.

Well,,,to be continued...

Posted by Maurizioagos 08:16 Archived in Italy Tagged museum brescia castle. Comments (2)

Feltre. Something about the town and a confectionery.

A "off the beaten path" town in Northern Italy.

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Feltre is a town in Veneto region. It is 20 kilometers southwest from Belluno. It is not far from my village. It takes only one hour to get there.

I have visited Feltre several times.

The town old core was practically rebuilt by the Venetians in 1510; after having been mostly destroyed by Maximilian troops.

This old center is located on a hill. Here the main square; piazza Maggiore is situated.

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Piazza Maggiore is surrounded by some buildings as saint Roque church; built in the '500 and by the town hall.

The town hall is made of two palaces. One of these houses a wooden theatre created in 1500 and restored in 1802. This was named Teatro de la Sena. You can visit it, but it has odd opening hours.

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At piazza Maggiore you can see two columns and two statues of famous Feltre' s citizens.

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You can see lots of frescoed palaces in the old core. Some of these are really well preserved.

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Once you have explored the town center you could head to the lower town in order to visit the duomo (cathedral) and the archaeological area. The duomo was built in the XVI century and reconstructed after a fire in 1585. There is a crypt under this church. The archaeological area is located near the cathedral.

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You can see some frescoed palaces even in the modern area of Feltre.

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If you visit Feltre, don' t miss Garbujo. This confectionery has been opened since the end of 1800 by Luigi Garbuio in Seren del Grappa (a village). Later this confectionery was moved to Feltre by his son Carlo.

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Garbuio has lots of kind of pastries and cakes. You can even find some typical sweets here. This confectionery is a shop as well. In fact here they sell various items, as tea pots, mugs, chocolates, wines and other alcoholic drinks.

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It' s Christmas time at Garbuio' s.

Posted by Maurizioagos 09:31 Archived in Italy Tagged feltre urbis picta. garbuio. Comments (0)

A couple of places I visited in Vicenza some days ago.

A visit to a pilgrimage site and to a beautiful mansion.

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Some days ago I did a day trip to Vicenza with a group. This is a very active group of retired people. I joined it mostly in order to be allowed to participate to their trips.

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We visited two interesting places in Vicenza. The Basilica on Monte Berico and the Villa Valmarana ai Nani.

The Monte Berico basilica has been a pilgrimage site since a long time. It originated following a couple of apparition of the Madonna on this spot.

According to the legend; the Virgin appeared on Monte Berico to a woman to announce that Vicenza would have been spared from the plague if a church dedicated to her would have been built there.

Then a church was built in 1428. It was enlarged by Palladio in 1578, but this addition was destroyed in 1688. Between 1688 and 1703 it was enlarged again. This is the church we see today. The original church is still there. It was incorporated inside the "new" building.

This church is richly decorated inside. There are several paintings by famous painters. You surely won' t miss an ancient statue of the Virgin; built in stone. It was sculpted around 1428. It is on the main altar.

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Opposite the church's eastern facade you see a very large square; piazzale della Vittoria. You can enjoy a beautiful landscape over Vicenza from there.

After our visit to che church we had a long stroll to a mansion. Villa Valmarana ai Nani (dwarves).

According to a legend the mansion was named "ai nani" beacause the owners daughter was a midget, so they decided to hire some dwarves in order not to feel her different form the other people.

One day the girl met a prince and she realized to be different from the other people. Then the girl threw herself from the house and died. The dwarves were then transformed into statues.

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The first buliding of this mansion was completed in 1670. In 1720, the property (the mansion, the foresteria (a building to house guests), the barn and the garden) was sold to the Valmarana brothers.

Both the mansion and the foresteria were decorated with frescoes in 1757 by two famous Italian painters; Giambattista and Giandomenico Tiepolo; father and son.

Most of the frescoes are well preserved as you can see from my pictures. I have read they were taken off the walls to avoid the wars damages.

Our visit begun into the mansion also called "Palazzina". Inside it was decorated with frescoes by Giambattista Tiepolo (the father). They depict scenes from the Iliad, the Aeneid, the Orlando Furioso, the Jerusalem Delivered and from the Ifigenia' s Sacrifice.

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The foresteria was decorated with frescoes by Giandomenico Tiepolo (the son) except those you see in the Olimpus Room. Here the frescoes have themes as the country life, the holidays, Chinese things and so on.

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I think this picture was taken into the Holidays Room.

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Part of the Chinese Room.

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Here you see another bit of the Chinese Room.

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There is a room with some beautiful troemp l'oeil frescoes inside the foresteria. I like very much this kind of painting.

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In this picture you see can part of the group after the visit and the warves.

Posted by Maurizioagos 09:42 Archived in Italy Tagged italy vicenza tiepolo. Comments (5)

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