The story of the 4 star Hotel Sebino overlooking Lake Iseo in Sarnico is one steeped in history and culture. Despite it’s now renovated state with expected modern conveniences, the hotel building origins actually stretch back into the mists of time to the 1400’s and beyond…
When Europe was in a state of turmoil following the decline and fall of the Roman Empire, it was the monasteries that proved to be the protectors of civilization. Their libraries protected and nourished education, their scriptoriums copied and disseminated information, their infirmaries provided healthcare to the old, poor and sick, their farming advanced agriculture, livestock and beverage production and their emphasis on study advanced science for centuries. The most successful of the monastic orders was the Benedictine order so called after the writer of its monastic rule – St Benedict in the early 6th century.
St Benedict was an Italian who rejected life in Rome and founded a series of monasteries at Monte Cassino all operating under his monastic written rule – the Rule of St Benedict. This rule had the right mix of asceticism and practicality to become the most widespread of monastic formulas and under the encouragement of Charlemagne the Benedictine Order grew rapidly. Indeed, the Benedictine Order remains the largest of the monastic orders even today some 1500 years after St Benedict. Their three-fold focus of Prayer, Study and Labour offer a balance of life that many find appealing.
The same was true in the 1400s – perhaps the height of the order in terms of numbers, when Benedictine monasteries were springing up everywhere. In Brescia, the monastery of St. Giulia and the Holy Saviour were experiencing rapid growth and needed to make a new foundation. The nuns therefore chose Sarnico as their new destination and founded a new convent here overlooking Lake Iseo. In keeping with the monastic ethos of separation from the world, and the experiences of people ransacking monasteries, the spot they chose had a natural topography between the River Olgio and mountains of Val Calepio that proved to be secure and idyllically beautiful at the same time.
Adopting a traditional architectural design for their new monastery, the nuns built our rectangular building surrounded by a moat with a cloister in the centre offering solace, quiet and a place to ponder the wonder and beauty of creation. The sandstone columns built in a Tuscan style surrounded a small tranquil garden and the other features of the building were restored and protected in 2001.
Turned into a hotel, this stunning location and historic building now provide a haven for guests who wish to also enjoy the beautify of life here in Sarnico. The motto of the Benedictine Order is Pax which means Peace and we are sure that you will experience some measure of that peace here within our walls.