The historic centre of Clusane d’Iseo
Clusane, whose toponym may derive from Clodius or Chiusa, is located on the southern bank of Lake Iseo. Autonomous municipality until 1927, today it is a hamlet of Iseo.
It is one of the oldest lakeside villages: settlements of primitive communities since the Palaeolithic are testified by traces of pile-dwelling activities and findings of arrowheads and other finds. The area was also inhabited by the Romans, whose presence is revealed by the discovery of a plaque dedicated to the god Jupiter, now preserved in the Maffeiano Museum in Verona, and by the remains of a villa in the historic centre of the town. In the stone facing on the lakefront, a semicircular niche can be distinguished, flanked on both sides by a series of blind arches, perhaps pertinent to a nymphaeum. Based on the pottery found during emergency archaeological excavations, it is possible to date the villa to the 1st-2nd century AD. In this same stretch of lake there were, in the Lombard period, the fishing reserves of the monastery of Santa Giulia in Brescia.
The first mention of the town dates back to the end of the 11th century, when the brothers Aliprando and Alberto, belonging to the noble Lombard family of the Mozzi, donated to the monastery of Cluny their part of a chapel dedicated to Saints Gervasio and Protasio which was located inside the castrum. The deed was signed in Iseo on July 12th, 1093 and also included all the houses, land and tithes relevant to the donation. The monks then settled in the ancient castle and built a monastery between 1112 and 1113, around which a small community of farmers and fishermen gathered.
In the first half of the twelfth century Santi Gervasio and Protasio depended on the monastery of San Paolo d’Argon; in 1144 it passed to the parish church of Iseo and the annual income was collected by the priory of San Pietro in Lamosa of Provaglio d’Iseo, under whose control it passed definitively in 1274.
The town of Clusane was built around the castrum which contained, in addition to the chapel, the first group of houses. Traces of the fortification are still visible in the historic centre, enclosed by the streets della Chiesa Vecchia, Molino, Castello and Ponta: in via della Chiesa Vecchia there is a stone arch that protected the highest part of the settlement, and in via Molino there is the door with frontispiece. In this street, where the mills reported in the seventeenth century were probably located, sections of walls and bases of medieval houses are also recognizable, and the villas Mondella (seventeenth century) and Baroni (eighteenth century) and the modern mill closed in the twentieth century are worth mentioning.
In the 14th century the municipality of Clusane was administered by the Quadra di Iseo. In this century the parish was born, reported in 1410, and outside the fortified village the Carmagnola Castle was built, probably by the Oldofredi family. Outside the walls, near the small harbour, there were the fishermen’s houses. In 1517 the Sala family, then feudal lord of the Carmagnola castle, built a church dedicated to San Rocco in the “Ponta” area. The parish church was gradually enlarged over the centuries, until the nineteenth century, when the two aisles were added, but in 1935 it was definitively abandoned following the completion of the new church dedicated to Christ the King: today the building, completely restored, it is used as an auditorium.
The appearance of the town changed in the early twentieth century, when the Pirola spinning mill was opened on the shore of the lake and the Iseo-Paratico provincial road was built. New economic forms were also established which transformed fishermen into restaurateurs thanks to the peculiar ability to cook lake fish, in particular tench, caught above all in the lake area known as the “Foppa”, in front of the town. Most of the restaurants were built along the provincial road and partly towards the hill.