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An Italian property expert highlights why Lake Iseo in Italy is proving increasingly popular with astute house buyers.
The more widely-known Lakes Como, Maggiore, Garda and Orta pull the world’s rich and famous. But more and more property hunters who come to Northern Italy’s Lakes region are ignoring the popular trends and heading for the unhurried banks of Lake Iseo, a name that barely registers outside Italy but one that is as equally attractive as the area’s more high-profile waters.
Lake Iseo has just as attractive properties, in particular those offering panoramic views overlooking the serene expanse of water. There is one crucial difference: they are much less pricy, with price tags barely half of what you would face in Lake Garda, just over 30km away. For instance a three-bedroom villa close to Lake Iseo may cost around Euro 200,000-Euro 220,000, while you can expect to pay from just Euro 100,000 for a two-bedroom apartment with lake view and terrace or garden.
Furthermore, no fewer than four airports lie within an hour and a half’s drive – one in Brescia, one in Bergamo and two in Milan. Just one sign to the rising attraction of this hidden gem is evident in the gradually rising number of vehicles bearing foreign number plates on Iseo’s charming streets and avenues in high season.
Stef Russo, director at Italian real estate finders The Property Organiser said: “We’re telling our clients who are mulling over bigger lakes such as Como and Maggiore to certainly take a look at Iseo. It’s an area that is comparatively unknown, not spoilt by a mass tourist influx and close to a clutch of airports as well as the Swiss border. We believe property values here will show positive movement over the next few years.”
To force home the point, property prices averaged over Northern Italy’s lakes fell by 4.2% – slumping by nearly 9% in some towns overlooking Lake Maggiore, a report last year by real estate group Tecnocasa revealed. Lake Iseo weathered the storm best, showing a less-than 2% contraction.
The lake is sandwiched between Lake Como to the west and Garda to the east and a few miles north of Brescia and Bergamo. Milan is 80km away, or 90 minutes by road and 60 by rail.
It is the country’s seventh biggest lake, some 15 miles long and three miles wide , runs north to south and is sheltered by mountains. It is an idyllic spot for swimmers, divers, sailors, windsurfers, water-skiers and anglers.
The lake also contains Mt Isola, home to 2,000 people and Southern Europe’s largest inhabited lake island. The island, one of the lake’s chief attractions is linked to the shore by short ferry hops. With virtually no motor vehicles, Mt Isola is very tranquil and is tailor-made to be explored by walking or cycling, in particular the paths to a church at the top of the island. Monte Isola is also renowned for its net-making industry, which began with fishermen’s nets but has now expanded to include hammocks and tennis and volleyball nets.
Back on the lake’s shores, the most picturesque towns are on the eastern side, such as Iseo, Marone and Sulzano. Iseo has the greatest number of attractions, including an uncompleted 12th century church.
The surrounding countryside is dotted with charming medieval buildings that can be found on foot, bike or horseback. And in winter, the ski slopes of Montecampione are particularly popular. Take into account that as this is bordering an Alpine region, some riding and trekking trails are on steep inclines.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Adriana Giglioli writes for Homes and Villas Abroad, who advertise nearly 3,000 houses for sale in Italy.
Where to stay in Iseo
There are hotels, apartments, B&Bs and villas available, check it out and make a reservation here.