Italy Real Estate – Why Investors Are Flocking to Lake Iseo
The better-known Lakes Como, Maggiore, Garda and Orta draw the international jetset. But growing numbers of property hunters who come to Northern Italy’s Lakes region have instead discovered the delights of the peaceful banks of Lake Iseo nearby, a name that barely registers outside Italy but one that is no less enchanting than Italy’s better known waters.
Lake Iseo features just as appealing properties, in particular if they have breathtaking views looking over the shore. But the difference is that they are far less pricy, often costing barely half of what you would face in Lake Garda, just over 30km away. Typically, around US$275,000 should get you a three-bedroom villa near the lake, while from just $135,000 you can purchase a lake-view apartment with a couple of bedrooms.
Additionally, a quartet of international airports are within a 55-mile radius – one in Brescia, one in Bergamo and two in Milan. One clear signal to the mounting attraction of this secret gem is evident in the growing number of cars with number plates from France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany on Iseo’s charming lanes and roads in high season.
Stefania Russo of Italian property finders The Property Organiser said: “We’re telling our clients who are considering buying in bigger lakes such as Como and Maggiore to certainly consider Iseo. It’s an area that is relatively unknown, unspoilt by huge numbers of tourists and within good vicinity of a clutch of airports as well as neighbouring Switzerland. We believe the real estate market here will rise in the coming years.”
To buttress the point, property prices throughout Northern Italy’s lakes dropped by more than 4% – plunging by nearly 9% in some parts of Lake Maggiore, a study last year by a leading property in Italy conglomerate revealed. But Iseo was the best-performing lake, with a fall of under 2%. The lake, also called Sebino, is between Lakes Garda and Como and a few miles from Brescia and Bergamo. Milan is 80km away, or one hour by rail and 1hr 30mins driving.
It is Italy’s seventh biggest lake, some 24km by 5km, runs north to south and is overlooked by mountains. It is a relaxing spot for swimmers, divers, sailors, windsurfers, water-skiers and anglers. Iseo’s waters enclose the scenic Monte Isola, with around 2,000 inhabitants. The island, one of the lake’s chief attractions is linked to the shore by short ferry hops. Almost devoid of motor transport, the isle has an oasis-like calm and is perfect to be explored on foot or bicycle. The island is also known net-making industry, which started with fishing nets but later expanded to include hammocks and tennis and volleyball nets.
Returning to 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 unfinished 900-year old church. The surrounding countryside is dotted with charming medieval buildings that can be found by walking, cycling or, even more leisurely, by horseriding. And in winter, Montecampione attracts hordes of amateur skiers. Consider, however, that with the Alps close by, a number of trekking and riding paths involve steep inclines.