Brescia: 6 authentic and wild experiences in Northern Italy is written by Jens Skovgaard Andersen.
Most people know Lake Garda, which is Italian largest, and where numerous Danes - and many more from the rest of Europe - every year settles down to enjoy life by the water. But not many people know the beautiful lake Idro just west of Lake Garda.
Lake Idro is much smaller, but that does not mean you miss anything. On the contrary. There are lots of activities on land and at sea, and there is plenty of room to unfold. Row in a kayak, take a swim, dive and experience life underwater, or take a boat trip with the ferry, which connects the small towns along the shores of the lake. Idro is surrounded by cozy little towns with delicious food from the lake and the surrounding country - and of course cool drinks by the water. And then there is the really beautiful.
However, you do not have to be a water dog to have great experiences by the lake; there are cycle routes, hiking trails and via via ferrata around the lake so you can easily be allowed to move. Idro has everything the same as Garda - just more idyllic and not so overrun.
Throughout the summer, Idro holds parties. The street artist festival takes over the streets at the beginning of July, and then there are fun and happy days everywhere. Another popular festival is the so-called Paper Cup, which takes place at the end of July. Here, together with the locals in Brescia, you can build your own boat of cardboard and paper and see if you can sail across the lake in it. It is a very festive sight, and you can easily just look, cheer and laugh at the others.
Carnival in the heights
If you are by car, a hike up the hills along the Valle Sabbia valley is clearly a highlight in Brescia. The winding roads lead you up to high-altitude villages with historic churches and monasteries and some of the most traditional carnivals in the country.
In particular, the area of Pertica Alta is famous for their carnival, where the locals dress up in very imaginative and mysterious costumes, as they have done for centuries. You are very welcome to participate in the festivities when the carnival season begins in the spring. An unforgettable experience.
Active holiday in a sustainable environment
The province of Brescia is made up of many small municipalities, each with its own characteristics and history. The municipality of Casto is the only one in the country whose electricity supply is 100% solar energy. This is due to a great effort from the local residents, and they have received the adventure park as a reward Fucine Park. Here you can try ziplines, 'via ferrata', mountain biking, hiking on kilometer-long trails or just relaxing in the bathing lake in the middle of it all.
It's all free, and the park is run by volunteers from the village. There are more and more activities, and the locals in Casto are very much in favor of it being sustainable and in harmony with nature. Just something for the whole active family.
Around the park you will find many old historic iron foundries, as it was historically what they lived off in the area, so the nature experiences around Brescia combine nicely with culture and history.
Local delicacies in Brescia
The Valle Sabbia valley and the province of Brescia are a paradise for foodies. Organic and rich in tradition are the watchwords, and it is possible to get really close to agricultural production and of course all the delicious tastings.
Due to the mountainous nature, goats and cows are bred, and these must be of the hardy kind, as there is a long way to the vet. The breeds you find here are by nature specially developed to live in harsh nature, and they produce less milk than in large farms. On the other hand, the quality is high.
The rolling trays are used for fruits and berries, and delicious jams and honey come out of it.
One dish you must not deceive yourself about is 'spiedo bresciano'. It is skewers with different meats, vegetables, sage and butter and each family has its own version. The meat is grilled for a long time over an open fire and it really is a dish that tastes through.
If you choose to stay on a farm - or an 'agriturismo' as they call it in Brescia - then it's all right on your doorstep and of course on the breakfast, lunch and dinner table. Here you can follow, among other things, cheese production up close.
Try your hand at a Bresci mountain tape
As you drive around the mountains, hills and valleys of Brescia, you will see that it is a very popular place to go cycling. However, it is not a bike ride that we are used to from Denmark; it goes up and down most of the way. It's easy to understand why Italy has so many skilled cyclists when you see them on the winding mountain roads.
There are bike rentals in many places, so hop on the iron horse in Brescia and get an active nature experience with a high pulse. Then you really deserved a cold glass of Lugana white wine from Lake Garda afterwards.
Dramatic story with great views
Right down to Lake Idro is the old fort Rocca d'Anfo. It was founded in the 1300th century and has since been expanded and used by Venetians, Hapsburgers, Napoleon and Nazis. It is living European history in picturesque surroundings.
You need a guide to visit Rocca d'Anfo, and it only makes the experience many times better to have someone with you who can tell the exciting story along the way. The fort has been abandoned and inaccessible for many years and it has only been opened to guests recently. So take a walk in history while still having peace and quiet.
Italy offers everything the heart desires and the province of Brescia is no exception. It is simply as created for a holiday with both activities and relaxation on it sustainable way. Pack your car or suitcase and head south to northern Italy before everyone else opens their eyes to Valle Sabbia, Lago d'Idro and Brescia.
How to get to Brescia and Valle Sabbia
There are more Danish travel agencies, which can help you travel to Italy without becoming more expensive for that reason.
There are no direct flights between Denmark and Brescia, so the most obvious airports to fly to are Bergamo and Verona. Otherwise, there are many departures to Milano Malpensa, which is also within driving distance of Brescia. It is also possible to take the train that runs all the way there via Milan or Verona with a few stops.
Hotel La Sosta in the town of Vestone is an excellent starting point for trips around the province. The hotel has an excellent restaurant and shopping opportunities for the trip right outside the door. If you want to slow down the pace and stay at 'agriturismo', then Azienda Agricola Biobiò with Sara and Mirco as hosts clearly recommended.
If you need tips and tricks on how to plan your trip, you can read our great travel guide here. You can also sign up for our newsletter, which comes 1-2 times a month if you want to stay up to date with tips and tricks for travel.
Now you should be more than ready for one travel to northern Italy. Have a good trip to Brescia!
RejsRejsRejs was invited to Brescia and Valle Sabbia by Brescia Tourism and the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Denmark. All attitudes are, as always, our own.