Since ancient times, Lovere’s territory, mainly hilly and alpine, has proved adequate to settlement purposes. The abundance of water, woods and fertile fields, along with the mild lakeside climate, have invited the development of human communities. The local rock, called Dolomia rosata, was formed during the Triassic period, about 200 million years ago. It proved a sturdy building material, used to erect the villages’ medieval buildings. The presence of chalky deposits above the residential area resulted in the exploitation of the soil through mining, an activity that was practiced until a few decades ago and the traces of which are still visible.
During the Mesolithic period, various groups of gatherers passed through Lovere – probably the same populations that would settle there in the following centuries. The very first proto-historical settlement in Lovere is the Castelliere, located in the wooded area north-west of Lovere, a location chosen to control the access roads to the Camonica Valley. During the Iron Age, the area was occupied by the Insubres, a Gaulish population who, around the II century b.C., were joined by the Romans. Unfortunately no trace has survived of the ancient Roman structure, replaced by the medieval buildings still prevalent in Lovere’s old centre. The old settlement was reached by descending from the hill of San Maurizio, where the Capuchin Convent is located, to the current Church of San Giorgio and Piazza Vittorio Emanuele, and finally to the necropolis of via Martinoli (some of its major exhibits are part of the Sforza Castle collections in Milan).
During the Middle Ages, Lovere became a thriving centre of trade exchanges, as well as a fortification of strategic relevance, and became even stronger with the investiture of the Celeri family. After a period as a self-governing commune, the podesteria of Lovere was confirmed under the control of the Republic of Venice. The village was transformed into a manufacturing and trade centre, with the development of the production of wool. The village expanded and in 1473 the Church of Santa Maria in Valvendra, a true architectural jewel, was built. The sixteenth century, marked by wars and famines, put an end to Lovere’s golden age. Only in the eighteenth century would Lovere emerge from a period of violence and uncertainty due to banditry to attract aristocrats from Lombardy and from abroad as a holiday resort. One of these was Lady Mary Montague Wharton, the wife of the British Ambassador to Constantinople, who fell in love with Lovere. Having fallen under the rule first of Napoleon’s France and then of the Austrians, the citizens of Lovere were involved in the second Independence War and in the campaign of Garibaldi, who sojourned at Palazzo Tadini on June 10, 1859. In the latter half of the nineteenth century Lovere developed the steel industry and expanded its communication network. The first steamboat was inaugurated on February 11, 1841.
The events of the two world wars had a dramatic impact on the village, that saw violent battles during the Resistance. After the second world war the industrial and manufacturing activity constantly expanded for several decades until the Eighties. Today Lovere is reinventing itself, pursuing a development of the service and tourism industries, an example of which is the plan for the Cornasola Marina, a multi-purpose facility, along with other initiatives undertaken in the area.