Lake Endine, the hidden gem of the Cavallina Valley, lies like a antique jewel nestled among verdant green shores, and is the perfect place for those looking for the peace and quiet of a restful holiday.
In spite of the fact that the shores of this lake are very popular with tourists and locals in summer, it is never overcrowded and retains an intimate and relaxing atmosphere.
The lake and the entire valley section reflected in its waters are abundant with attractions throughout the entire year. Miniscule villages, tree-lined beaches, corners of unspoilt countryside, restaurants and cosy bars compete to make a holiday or day out enjoyable. The State 42 or Tonale Road makes getting to the lake from Bergamo extremely easy. The drive is also very interesting because, once you have passed the vast city outskirts that absorb even the outlying towns, the countryside begins to change.
For centuries the Cavallina Valley has played an important role in Bergamo province as a thoroughfare. Its well-worn path was probably used by prehistoric peoples to connect the area of Lake Sebino and the Camonica Valley with the Prealp range and the Lombard plain. The Romans certainly knew the route well and have left numerous traces of their presence.
Well worth a visit between Bergamo and Lake Endine is San Paolo d’Argon, at the beginning of the valley. This town is famous for a large Benedictine monastery, which was built in the year one thousand and suppressed during the Napoleonic area. The religious complex, which has interesting seventeenth-century frescoed rooms overlooking two cloisters built during the Renaissance period, had an important cultural and economic role.
In addition to its art works, its vast cellars stored the wine made from the vineyards that surrounded the monastery. Among other things, San Paolo d’Argon is situated in the area of production of the celebrated Valcalepio DOC wine.
Trescore Balneario, another town along the route, is well known for its spa and thermal waters which were appreciated by the Romans,here, in the Suardi Oratory, Lorenzo Lotto left a splendid example of his genius in a cycle of frescoes that tell the story of Saint Barbara.
As you get closer to the lake, history and art become increasingly intertwined along the valley. Among the most interesting places are Entratico, known by archaeologists for the large cave, “Buca del Corno”, where prehistoric burial sites have been found and which is open in summer on Sunday afternoons; Luzzana, with its thirteenth-century castle, and Casazza, with its important medieval remains.
The lake is now close at hand. Along the route you will often encounter groups of cyclists who find this wide and almost flat valley the ideal place for bike rides. The Cavallina Valley is in fact well known to cycling enthusiasts because it was here that the first cycle path in the Bergamo area was built. Today sections of this route on tarmac road and on dirt paths alternate between Borgo di Terzo and Lake Endine.
The shores of the lake, which has a perimeter of approximately 20 kilometres, is ideal for walks and hikes. The walk through the countryside between Monasterolo and the tiny village of San Felice, on the eastern side, is particularly interesting.
The lake is also ideal for various sports - from rowing, canoeing, sailing and windsurfing - while the various paths and mule tracks are perfect for walkers wishing to explore the fields and small churches on the slopes that lead down to the lake shore.
Monasterolo del Castello owes its name to a castle that was destroyed in medieval times, rebuilt between the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries and later transformed into an exclusive residence, which it still is today. Another important monument is the beautiful Romanesque church of San Pietro in Vincoli, which stands on the lake shore in Spinone al Lago.
Dominating this section of the valley is Suardo Castle, which overlooks the lake in the town of Bianzano.