Towns around the lake

Sale Marasino

Land of details for unexpected discoveries


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In Sale Marasino the Middle Ages saw a breaking-up of the territory which had an ecclesiastical touch to it.
Testimony to the monks’ work and to agricultural development, the first parish bears the name of “renewed valley”, dedicated to St. Mary of the Assumption and St. Zeno, but of this church only a few Romanesque pillars dating back to the 6th-7th century have survived.Every year the parish canons used to follow “liturgical routes” which meandered through the various chapels scattered round the village; this tradition was carried on throughout the centuries and was called “rogation”, a kind of cross-country procession.

Around the year 1400 Sale Marasino went through a prosperous period, as can be seen from the houses and public works carried out at that time. In 1427 it fell under the dominion of Venice and the fight against smugglers who used the lake to transport their goods, was tightened in vain.

In more recent times the craft trade caught on and thrived with its various woollen mills which, together with the opening of workshops and small industries in other sectors (such as the hotel industry), provided employment for a considerable number of people.

One of the most representative buildings in this town is surely Villa Martinengo, built in about 1500 opposite Montisola. It consists of a wing made up of outhouses and a central body on two floors for the lords of the manor; the windows are symmetrical on each side of the portico, above which there is the loggia. The building rests on Tuscan columns and Sarnico stone architraves; the Renaissance-style façade facing the lake helps to light up the 16th-century frescoes in the loggia.

The Parrocchiale di S. Zenone (the parish church) is also outstanding. It was built between 1737 and 1754 taking inspiration from the new cathedral in Brescia. With its Baroque frescoes it is one of the finest churches in the vicinity of the lake. Leading up to the entrance there is a graceful flight of steps in late 19th-century neoclassical style with a marble balustrade which is worthy of note.

The isoletta di Loreto (the little island of Loreto), which emerges from the middle of the lake opposite the town harbour, is very picturesque with its castle surrounded by beautiful gardens.

As in other towns along the lake the antica Via Valeriana (the old Roman road) is of great historical significance here. It was the obligatory route north, as well as to Valtrompia, for thousands of years.…

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