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you are here: Home Lombardy Lake Iseo, Val Camonica and Franciacorta Bienno

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Bienno

Description

Town of Val Camonica, in the province of Brescia, near the river Grigna, Brienno is famous for being the "city of iron", thanks to the local expert craftsmen and their industrial processing of iron manufactures. The town's name derives, according to some, to the name of an Etruscan gentleman "Biena", whilst according to others it derives from the name of the Roman patrician "Biennius". Anyhow, in the late Roman period, the term "biennius" could also be translated into "channel of the mill".
The earliest finds date from 850 B.C., whilst the iron work traditions find traces already pre-Roman era.
The old town centre, with its typical medieval appearance, is adorned with noble palaces of the XVII and XVIII centuries. Among the most important buildings of the town are: the Parish Church, rebuilt in 1600, which preserves inside frescoes by the Fiamminghino, a XVII century organ altered by the Serassi and a fine altarpiece attributed to the Venetian artist Giovan Battista Pittoni and the Church of Santa Maria Annunziata with frescoes of the artist Romanino and an altarpiece of the Fiammingino.
Not to miss: the Ethnographic Museum of the Iron, which houses a restored forge, a testimonial of what was an extremely popular work in the area. The town was already in the XVI century, and perhaps even before, the most important center for the iron manufacture of Val Camonica, thanks to the presence of mines and to the abundance of flowing rivers and streams, which created energy

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