Monte Isola: a special place where rediscover the pleasures of life.
Monte Isola is a green mountain emerging at the centre of Iseo Lake. In every season special, wonderful and suggestive landscape makes this island of almost 5 km2 (450 hectares) a real Italian pearl. In the island there are eleven villages; the connections with the Brescian shore of the lake take place between Sulzano - Peschiera and Sale M. - Carzano.
Cars are banned and only the 1,800 inhabitants are allowed to drive motorcycles. Visitors can use the small bus or rent bikes, so as to start the discovery by cycling along the 9.4 km of the perimeter. It is possible to explore by foot the bridleways and the footpaths leading to the top of the island where the sanctuary stands. This is an extremely interesting point of view thanks to the extraordinary panorama and the artistic beauty inside its little church dedicated to Mary.
The older and higher hemlets in the island are characterized by an age-old peasant culture. The Town Hall is in Siviano, the most populated village and the island’s capital. It’s reachable by boat, descending in Porto of Siviano where the Museum of the Net is. Peschiera is an interesting fishing village deeply connected with water and where there are the tourist office and the Fishing Museum. Furthermore, visitors can see the islets of San Paolo and Loreto, Menzino with its fortress, Carzano where takes place every five years the feast of the Holy Cross, renowned for the thousands of hand-made paper flowers that fill its alleys.
Monte Isola has always been a special place for the artisan production of boats and nets and has gained the title of “Presidio Slow Food” thanks to the millenary tradition linked with the conservation of the “lake sardine”. Other specialties are extra virgin olive oil and salami.
Top things to do
in Monte Isola
Trekking and Cycling
If you want to do sport, for example Trekking or Cycling, you are in the best place. Monte Isola is a special site where ridiscover the pleasures of life: it’s the perfect destination for your holidays as the tourist can appreciate many of the typical activities offered by the area.
In this way you can experience a direct connection with nature: the vegetation here is featured by the bushy copse wood with oak woods mixed with bay, hornbeam, ash - tree and fruit chestnut – trees. You can walk around the island following the old paths which connect theeleven villages or you can rent a bike in order to discover the wonderful landscape.
In Montisola you can taste traditional dishes such as Salami and the famous “fish in oil” which
are very appreciated by tourists.
Another important tradition is the production of extra virgin olive which is made by local farmers and then sold on the market. It is important to know the origin of this speciality for example visiting the olive oil mill located in Carzano.
As for typical dishes, fishermen use specialized methods in order to dry in the sun sardines, chubs and perches.
Beaches and pic-nic area
In Monte Isola there are different beaches and pic-nic areas where tourists can have a break in order to relax after their excursions.
The most popular is situated in Peschiera Maraglio and it is best known as “Le Ere”. In summer many tourists attend the area, they can swim or sunbathe. It is the best place if you want to stop!
You can do different activities for example playing beach volley or football with your group, especially on holidays.
From Mid June until the first week of July, a famous event will take place in Monte Isola known as “The Floating Piers” a project designed by Christo. It will undulate with the movement of the waves as The Floating Piers rise just above the surface of the water.
- Santa Croce Festival: this festival takes place every five years. A peculiarity lies in the fact that, the streets are covered with paper flowers.
- Festival of Salami: during the event you can taste some typical dishes of Monte Isola, especially salami.
- Local summer festivals: every summer the island offers many local festivals, where you can taste traditional dishes but also enjoy your time with the different music groups.
A private museum inside Monte Isola’s oldest fishnet factory. A vast collection of documents, a
permanent display of historic black and white photographs and objects concerning the world of fishnets and fishing outfitted by the owners as a tribute to their roots.