Sarnico is an important commercial and tourist centre; it lies on the shore of the Iseo Lake belonging to the province of Bergamo, where it starts to get narrower to turn into the Oglio River once again. The built-up area, protected by the hills at its back, spreads softly towards the lake, happily exposed and with a climate which has become mild because of the protection given by the hilly range and by the lake breeze.
The town centre partly still presents a characteristic medieval town planning, with a semi-circular shape which reminds us of the structure of the old town wall, which is no longer visible.
The original village used to be surrounded by ditches and walls, with three doors which communicated with the castle, situated on the highest point of the town-centre; the Oratory of St. Sebastian was built in this place during the year 1428.
The current Lantieri Road, also called “Contrada” (Town-District), main road of the town centre, used to climb up towards the oldest part of the built-up area; still today it preserves the original curved course.
Walking along this road, in a many-coloured frame of shops, you can still notice some architectural witnesses of the old village; portals, narrow little lanes, passages under arches, old houses with massive walls.
To catch the most authentic atmosphere of Sarnico, you should firstly go along the “Contrada”, but also enter those little side roads which often keep the most suggestive and characteristic corners.
In one of these climbing roads, the St. Paolo Road, by following the road markings, you can reach the fifteen-century Church of St. Paolo.
The inside still keeps some sixteen-century frescos; the one which is behind the altar, which shows “Our Lady of Sorrows with Saints”, is extremely valuable. Close, on the left, there’s a slit which belonged to the old and powerful walls of the medieval castle.
The first changes to this church were made in 1492; in 1623 and 1724 further rearrangements shaped its style and decorations following the baroque taste of that period.
Two shrines were made in the apsis, whose setting up sacrificed a part of the fresco which used to cover the entire wall. A recent intervention of restoration has drawn attention to the original structures of the building, now surely marked by a greatest spatial unity.
In the little and near square in front of the church you can see the Clock Tower, risen in 1850 on the still visible foundation of an outside tower of the castle.
Other important witnesses of medieval building structures are visible in the towers and walls of the buildings of the Scaletta Road (this narrow little road that slopes down towards the lake is very characteristic) and of the Aie Lane. Here, in one of the most picturesque and best kept corners of the whole town-centre, you can see a little palace embellished with open galleries, old municipal site up to the XVIII th century.