Towns around the lake

Costa Volpino

A bridge between lake and mountain


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It lies in a position which could be defined as “strategic” between the points where the Camonica Valley starts and the River Oglio flows into Lake Iseo. For this reason, buildings fit to defend the population from enemies who were interested in this territory, such as the Hungarians, sprang up as early as the 10th century.

In time these fortifications turned into grand castles for which the armies of Bergamo and Brescia contended with each other in a long war culminating in the victory of the Brescians. When Frederick Barbarossa, or Red-beard, arrived in Italy in 1158, he stipulated that the castles should be returned to the province of Bergamo and settled everything with a peace deal between the people of Brescia and Bergamo. However, as from 1427 for nearly four centuries, the territories of Costa Volpino, Lovere and neighbouring areas came under the rule of the Serenissima Repubblica di Venezia (the Most Serene Republic of Venice), ensuring peace and favouring economic and social development.

The local economy is based on industry and commerce and developed during the Italian economic boom in the mid-20th century. The fine Vulpinite marble, plaster and statuary marble quarries were closed many years ago.

Costa Volpino is divided up into seven small historic centres which make up the same number of hamlets. Among them there is Corti, of medieval origin, which has extended as far as the lake in the 20th century. The town hall and the new parish church, necessary to cater for the substantial increase in the number of inhabitants, have been built in the area near the lake. Then there is Piano which developed in the sixties as a modern, industrial centre. The little group of houses called “Pizzo” are rather picturesque; with their mixture of old and new it is a place where past and present meet. Qualino lies on a wide terrace, once fully cultivated, from where you get a panoramic view of Lake Iseo and the lower Camonica Valley. The centre is of medieval origin with its little wooden balconies and porticoes and is divided into small contrade (districts). Last but not least is Volpino, a village of Roman origin, whose ancient name denoted an area inhabited by foxes. This small village still has some old houses with doorways and arches in perfect medieval style. Situated on a massive rock, it is renowned for the extraction of Vulpinite, a particular kind of plaster which is named after the place itself and is used in paint and cement-producing industries.