Pisogne is a small town at the north-east corner of Lake Iseo, in the Lombardy region of northern Italy.
Italy This Way commment: there is not a great deal to see in Pisogne, but if you are passing as you tour around the lake it merits a pause for a look at the main square, to climb up the medieval tower and visit the Church of Santa Maria della Neva.
You can start your visit to Pisogne with a stroll along the lakeside promenade to appreciate the forest covered hills around the northern end of Lake Iseo, and the view across to the town of Lovere. Return to the centre of the village to see the main square, overlooked at one end by a large baroque style church, and with attractive houses on either side. There is also a cafe here in the square.
From the main square you can follow the Via S Clemente, a medieval street that once led to the Church of S. Clemente, although the church is no longer visible. If you complete the route suggested by the Pisogne tourist office you will continue up the hill, and see a park area and a chapel.
Further up the hill a church called the Santa Maria della Neve Pisogne, looks quite unremarkable from the outside but contains some frescoes and decoration that are very impressive and quite unexpected. Dating from the 15th century, the frescoes were painted by a renaissance artist called Girolamo Romanino: one art critic has described the interior as "the poor man's Sistine Chapel".
Bishops Tower of Pisogne
On one side of the main square there is a medieval tower, the Bishops Tower, built in the 13th century and nearly 33 metres high. To access the entrance to the tower you pass along a narrow side street and through a low arch that looks like an archway into someones private courtyard.
There is an external staircase to reach the entrance, designed to stop flood water from entering the tower since orginally the lake was much closer to here that its current position (it cme as far as the square). You can then climb the stairs inside the tower: from the fourth floor at the top there are attractive views across the roofs of Pisogne to the hills beyond.
A couple of lively stories to entertain your children when you visit: from the 13th century to the 16th century the tower was partly used as a prison and in 1518 eight women convicted of being witches after being interrogated by the inquisition were held here before being burned in the square. At other times, people who did not pay their taxes were suspended from the tower in iron baskets and subjected to public ridicule.
The town that you can see across Lake Iseo from here is Lovere, a pleasant town with a charming lake front area and a small historic centre, as well as one of the most impressive basilicas in northern Italy.