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Monte Isola, the magic gem of Lake Iseo

Posted by on in Laghi - Lakes
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b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_5211.JPGDear friends, welcome to My Own Italy to discover Italy with my personal touch!

Our travel today  is to Lombardy, in the magic land of  Franciacorta.

Leaving from Hotel Rivalago in Sulzano at Lake Iseo , the trip is really short and you can't miss a visit to  Monte Isola, the lacustrine island highest of Europe.



Situated in the middle of lake Iseo, it divides  the lake in two parts, the bank of Brescia and the bank of Bergamo. Monte Isola has a perimeter of  eleven kilometers and an ancient and historical tradition; many characteristic activities and food and wine handed down from generation to generation, in addition to the charming architecture and marine culture of its villages overlooking the water, remained intact over time.



This islanis inhabited by a little less than 2000 inhabitants; you can not use the car, so you can visit it on foot or by bicycle, perhaps renting a bike on the spot as I did.



b2ap3_thumbnail_laghi-iseo_650x435.jpgIn the island there are twelve small villages and quiet landscape in the countryside with spectacular views, including the islands of St. Paul, formerly the site of a Franciscan monastery, and Loreto, which housed the Poor Clares, both now privately owned and inaccessible.

The island's culture is strongly influenced by the cult of Our Lady of Ceriola.

b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_5112.JPGMontisola is connected to the shores of Lake Iseo by a boat service line; the point more comfortable and close to it is Sulzano, from where you can take a boat to Peschiera Maraglio, a very picturesque village.

Here I suggest you visit the church of St. Michael, of the XVII century, and to go through some ancient narrow street that climbs steeply up the mountain.


Peschiera  is an old village of fishermen and artisans, producing nets for fishing and hunting.

The net fishing has always been present on the island; it is said that the first to do nets were the monks of the island of Saint Paul.

The history of all the families of the island is linked to the manufacture of the nets.



The French writer George Sand, who stayed in Monte Isola around 1860, was impressed by this activity so that in her novel "Lucrezia Floriani" her heroine dies in the same chair where as a young girl she woved the net.



 Nets today are not only fishing but especially nets for sports: basketball, tennis and football in particular (Monte Isola provided the nets for the World Cup Italy '90 and Korea '02) but also for fences, hammocks, swing chairs and shopping bags like these!!




Another secular characteristic of Monte Isola is the traditional drying and storage of fish, especially sardines, chub and perch



I suggest to taste Montisola salami, packaged manually according to an ancient rite: the meat is cut across by hand into large pieces, then the sausage is smoked in an old wine cellar with dry wood burned in a closed fireplace.




Finally, I can not forget the "naëcc", a typical lake boat  like gondolas (Venetian rule has influenced the culture of the island), a copy of which is exposed at the National Maritime Museum in London.





In Peschiera Maraglio there are several buildings of great architectural interest, as Casa Erba (once home to a famous restaurant), facing the lake with its portico of five arches.





Leisure me, this is my tourism!




Blog posted from Monte isola BS, Italia View larger map



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