Village of Monte Isola
The Municipality of Monte Isola
Province of Brescia
Altitude center: 262 m a.s.l.
The Municipality is part of
I Borghi più belli d'Italia
Comunità montana del Sebino Bresciano
Municipality of Monte Isola
Frazione Siviano, 76 - 25050 Monte Isola BS
phone +39 0309825226
Monte Isola, on Lake Iseo, is the largest lake island in Italy and Europe. A true green mountain rising from the water, Monte Isola is rich in olive trees that surround the southern coast between Peschiera Maraglio and Sensole (from the Latin Sinus olis, meaning "inlet of the oil") while typically alpine tree species characterize the north and the highest parts of the mountain.
Completely wooded in antiquity, Montisola possessed a pagan temple on its top. On the island is attested to the presence of the villas of Roman epoch. In the V century A.D. it was Christianized by the Bishop Bresciano San Vigilio. In the Middle Ages it was contended by various lords, the territory was assigned by the Longobards to the monastery of San Salvatore; subsequently the Cluniac settled there a monastery and went around the year one thousand, the manufacture of networks, which flourished along the next centuries. The island saw first born agricultural villages in higher positions and, in a later epoch, fishermen villages along the coast of Lake Iseo. Toward the century XIII, in defense of the territory of Brescia, the Oldofredi family built a castle there (now Rocca Martinengo, private property).
Known for having hosted the artist Christo's “The Floating Piers” in 2016, Monte Isola is connected to the shores of the lake by an efficient scheduled boat service, whose ferries depart from Sulzano, Sale Marasino, Iseo, Lovere, Sarnico and Tavernola.
On the island it is not allowed to drive around and in each of the starting points it is possible to find a reserved parking space. To circulate in the village it is possible to use only the bicycle, the only means of transport on the ferries, while the residents can use mopeds or the municipal public service bus that connects all the villages. Once you reach the port of Peschiera Maraglio, a small fishermen's village of artisans where fishing and hunting nets are produced, you reach the small church of San Michele Arcangelo through its narrow alleys.
Between Peschiera and Siviano, above the Gulf of Sensole, stands one of the most characteristic monuments of the place, the Rocca Martinengo, an ancient castle built by the Olofredi d´Iseo in the 14th century for defensive purposes. In front of Sensole you can admire the San Paolo Island, on which a monastery once stood, while now there is a private villa in Neo-Renaissance style.
The Sanctuary of the Madonna della Ceriola is located on the top of the mountain that dominates the island, just above the suburb of Cure. Built in 1500, probably on the ruins of a chapel of the XI century.
A local characteristic consists in spreading to dry in the sun perch, the shad and bleak fish on the arches of wood; the tradition of dry the fish in the sun on suitable supports survives even in the surname Archetti, the most widespread throughout the island. Monte Isola has not only a fish dishes, in hilly surroundings in fact (in particular in Masse and in Cure) produces a coarse grain salami.
NOTE: distances are set as the crow flies.