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Lago de Iseo, Cremora, Crema - anyone been to any of these?

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Dec 27th, 2015, 06:25 AM
  #1
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Lago de Iseo, Cremora, Crema - anyone been to any of these?

I have four days (5 nights) in July between the time I land at Bergamo airport and when I meet my husband in Venice. Last year I did Lake Garda (solo) and the Dolomites (with husband) and I've also previously been to Lake Como so I thought Lake Iseo looked good. Since apparently few international tourists go there I'm having trouble finding much info on it. First I though 3 days, then move on for the last two but now I'm leaning towards all five days based in Iseo and do some day trips. I'm thinking of Cremora and/or Crema. My interests are basically in just wandering around historic centers and photographing the architecture, visiting the churches (again for the art and architecture), having a light lunch in a cafe - that kind of thing.

Places I've been that I loved were Bergamo, Mantua, Modena, Ferrara - so towns with those kinds of 'feel' are what I'm looking for. Even smaller towns would be great but I don't want to rent a car for this portion so they'd need to be on a train line.

Any suggestions?
isabel is offline  
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Dec 27th, 2015, 08:25 AM
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Lake Iseo is nice, usually less touristy than the 4 big Lombard lakes. May be things will be different next summer because of Christo:
http://www.christojeanneclaude.net/p...floating-piers

Cremona is well worth a visit: the train ride from Sulzano takes about 2 hrs.
You may also be interested in the prehistoric rock carvings at Capo di Ponte, 1 hr by train from Sulzano.
http://www.italia.it/en/travel-ideas...-rock-art.html
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Dec 27th, 2015, 09:30 AM
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I think the devil is going to be in the details if you are trying to make one of the towns on Lago di Iseo a base for travel to other towns using public transportation. You will first need to pick the lakeshore town with the best connections elsewhere, and then see where those connections go and look at actual timetables.

Given your minimalist agenda for visiting a town, you might be ok with a 2 hour plus multi-switch public transport journey, spending less than 3 hours in the town of your choice, and then repeating the journey back to Lago di Iseo.

As you might already know, all of the area of Lombardy is filled with generally flat but generally pleasant small historic towns, not all of them as internationally well known as Cremona (note spelling) or Mantova, or as big, with some memorable architectural features. A Cadogan guide to Lombardy (Lombardia) probably would have the level of detail you are looking for, and would also identify neighborhoods in Brescia that might be of interest to you, even though it is major and in most places modern Italian city.

Given the way you describe your travel interests and your desire to see historic Italian places similar to Mantova, Modena, Bergamo etc, I would have thought that Parma, Urbino and Aosta would have been places right up your alley, and you came back from them complaining they didn't hit your travel G spot and imagined they were overrated. So many of the recommendations you get will involve the risk of repeating those disappointments.

Finally, the Christo exhibit and the attendant crowds would deter me from going until it was over, and look for another corner of Italy with good public transport and a density of interesting towns for exploration. If you begin to think the same thoughts, some promising areas that you might not have visited are the Riviera Ponente (the coast between Genova and France), the towns of the Trentino (they are different from the Dolomiti), areas of Friuli-Venezia Giulia served by public transport (perhaps a base in Udine), or simply a different base in Lombardy with a day trip to Lago di Iseo instead of the other way around. Basing in Cremona might work -- but again, you'd need to look at actual train schedules.
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Dec 27th, 2015, 11:44 AM
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Iseo is pretty enough but far from stunning.

Personally, I would split the time between Vicenza and Padua.

Great architecture, eating and shopping. Both are small manageable cities.
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Dec 27th, 2015, 12:23 PM
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Thanks for the replies

Yes, I saw that the Christo exhibit was going to be there when I first began to research the area. I will be missing it by 8 days. And there is nothing I can do about the timing, this is the middle of a five week trip with flights already booked. So I'm hoping that even though I might have liked to see it, at least the crowds will be gone. I do hope the infrastructure for the exhibit will be gone though so I'm not looking at construction. What do you think?

If I base in the town of Iseo it's a half hour (frequent trains) to Brescia and then one hour to Cremona. Then another 41 minute train to Crema if I wanted to do both (probably would not). So looks like easily done day trip for Brescia and certainly doable another day for Cremona or Crema.

Sandra - Riviera Ponente is definitely on my short list for within the next few years but for this trip it's in the wrong direction given I'm landing in Bergamo and heading toward Venice. Last year we went to Bolzano (based there for 5 days) and Trento plus one night in Bassano and visited Asolo. Loved them all. You're right, I didn't love Parma or Urbino (I did like Aosta a lot) and I'm considering re-visiting Parma as I'm clearly in the minority on that one. I sort of sense from what I find on line that Cremora might be similar to Parma? (in terms of ambiance). Can't quite put into words what makes me love one place but Mantua, Ferrera, Modena, Verona and Padua are among my favorite places anywhere.

Actually my original plan for this part of the trip was Brescia for two nights and the Udine for the next 3. But Iseo looks like a nicer base than Brescia and my husband chose Udine over Verona/Vicenza/Padua as a day trip from Venice.
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Dec 27th, 2015, 12:26 PM
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BritishCaicos - can you elaborate on "Iseo is pretty enough but far from stunning"? Which towns did you visit, and which did you find the 'prettiest'? From the limited info I'm finding on line looks like Iseo, Peschiera and Lovere. Do you agree? Can you compare it any more specifically with Como and Garda? (lakes, not those specific towns).
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Dec 27th, 2015, 12:55 PM
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Everybody has difficulty understanding why they adore some Italian towns and simply never connect with or are put off by others. It's true of all the Italian towns. All of them are "controversial" -- and while places like Mantova or Ferrara or Orvieto or Siena are not as controversial as Pisa and Napoli, still people still divide into camps about them, some people treasuring their memories, others finding the same town gloomy, abrasive, too touristy, underwhelming....

But just like Mantova (to me) really does not feel anything at all like Ferrara -- and it some ways, one would guess they would, and in some ways, they actually do share some similarities -- and I love Mantova and would only go to Ferrara mainly to eat, you might be very surprised to go to red-brick Cremona (not Cremora -- is auto-correction turning it into the fake cream additive for coffee?) -- and find it doesn't remind you one bit of yellow-stucco Parma. They have totally different histories, for one thing, and quite different architecture and art sensibility. And certainly different food.

For what it's worth, I think every time I have returned to a travel destination to "give it another chance" because I alone seemed to dislike it, my second visit I disliked it just as much. (I even disliked Venice my 3rd visit.) If you do decide to revisit Parma some day, be sure to research some easy day trips from there by bus and train: Busseto, Reggio 'nell Emilia, Torrechiara, Fontanellato, Piacenza for starters.
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Dec 27th, 2015, 01:08 PM
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One other thought:

In recent years the Franciacorta wine producers that are near lago d'Iseo have been very active in marketing themselves as tourist attractions and developing the area for wine tourism, agriturismi, all that.

So if you do some google searches for "Franciacorta wine trail route" you might come up with a lot pictures and info about charming small villages in the area. Not suggesting you visit wineries or go on tours, just pointing out a possibility for digging up more info on line.
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