Formerly a place of pile-dwellings and Roman settlements, in the Medieval period it became a fortified hamlet with a castle in its centre, which no longer exists. Under the Venetian domination, it
developed its own trade relations with the plains. In 1566, it was granted the right to conduct a weekly market which, after 450 years, maintains this tradition every Thursday in the squares along the lake.
Failing under the French then Austrian dominations, Sarnico won independence in the rising Italian government.
The town gained national prominence during the Risorgimento for the Garibaldian attempt, known to all as " the Events of Sarnico" to invade the Trentino area and conclude national independence before time. The Garibaldian attempt, considered premature by the Italian Government, was impeded at the
last moment with force.
The Historic District
Know as the "Contrada", the historic district's streets are paved with sampietrini stones, alleys,
stairways, with portals in Sarnico stone, courtyards and picturesque balconies and gates in wrought
iron. It conserves a medieval semicircular layout with its back to themountain. It is a thriving place with shops, bars and confectioner's shops. The main street is Via Lantieri. The best way to explore it is to venture into its alleyways which offer some of its most hidden corners. Taking Via San Paolo, you will reach the Church of San Paolo from the 1400s which houses frescoes from the 15th
century and was built directly on the ruins of the castle, as witnessed by the two embrasures on the side of the altar. The Torre dell'Orologio (Clocktower), built in 1850 on the base of the castle's
perimetrical tower, stands in the homonymous small and enclosed square.
Other important original elements of medieval buildings can be seen in the towers and walls of the buildings on Via Scaletta ( a characteristic and narrow alley going down to the lake) and Vicolo Aie .In one of the most picturesque and best preserved corners of the entire historic district stands a small
building with arcades, the old town hall until the 18th century.
Nearby we find the remains of a Medieval Tower (12" century) with mighty walls which once belonged to the old town walls and one of the entrance gates leading to the inhabited area, today used for temporary exhibitions.
Once a town of fishermen, Sarnico owes part of its fame to its quarries, now closed, from which "Sarnico stone"was extracted and used frequently in local construction. The silk industry now extinct, peaked about a century ago. Sarnico is home to the renowned "Cantieri Riva" the prestigious brand-name that still produces some of the world's most sought-after and luxurious motorboats and yachts.
Sarnico today is an important business and tourism hub. The town, sheltered by hills in its early days,
extends sweetly down towards the lake, is climatically blessed by the position of the hills and lake breeze with a lovely exposition. On the lakeshore, the ample and airy squares, the lake promenade and shops give tourism vivacity to this town, making it a pleasant place to stay. Its geographic position and surroundings abounding with villas, green areas, entertainment and spectacular views on the lake offer tourists the perfect holiday spot.
What to visit in the centre.
The Ganni Bellini Picture-Gallery
The Ganni Bellini picture-gallery is found in the historic district in the oldest part of Gervasoni
Palace; this 15th century building was carefully restored and today shows evidence of its former intended use: a convent for nuns. The collection was created from approximately 150 works of art, period paintings from between the 1500s and 1700s donated to the town by Don Gianni Bellini.
The San Martino de Tours Parish Church
The "parvis"of Piazza SS Redentore with the imposing facade of San Martino de Tours parish church in baroque style dating back to the 18th century is indeed surprising. The interior was recently and accurately restored to its original beauty. In the first chapel on the left, one can admire a fresco dated 1500 (Madonna and Child). The next chapel and the high altar are outstanding works by the Fantoni bottega from Rovetta. The webbings in the cupola above the high altar are the remarkable work of
Francesco Monti, who evokes the shapes and tones of Gianbattista Tiepolo.
Adjacent to the parish church, one finds the Church of San Rocco, a small chapel which in antiquity (circa 1630) was built by the followers of San Rocco, so he might protect them from the contagion of plague.
Giuseppe Sommaruga And Art Deco Style
Sarnico is home of the finest examples of Art Deco architecture in the Lombardy region, built according to architect Giuseppe Sommaruga's plans, including; the kindergarten in Piazza SS Redentore; the mausoleum of the Faccanoni family inside the cemetery; Villa Faccanoni visible only from the lake; Villa Surre, visible from the road leading to Predore after the Cantieri Riva firm; Villa Passeri in Piazza XX Settembre, renowned for its decor. The villas cannot be visited, except for Villa Faccanoni during concerts or occasional events.
Via Roma 54
Tel; +39 035 924111
Fax: +39 035910577
Polizia locale - Tel: 035 924114
Cell: 335 5454846 per emergenze