CULT CITY/ experiences
It is perhaps unsurprising that Monte Isola was given the name it was. Translating literally as Mount Island, it is a 600m-tall mountain – and an extraordinarily beautiful one at that – surrounded by Lake Iseo. After the international success of The Floating Piers, the stunning installation by Christo, the island – which is 100% car free – is now once again a haven of peace and quiet. And it is in this state that Monte Isola, recognised as one of “Italy’s most beautiful towns”, is at its best for discovering by foot or bike. If you take a rough semi-circle route around the island you can visit Peschiera Maraglio, where the distinctive boats – known as naèts – of the Lake Iseo fishermen are moored, before continuing along the coastal path towards Sensole, with olive trees, bars, restaurants (specialities include: dried fish, chub, lake whitefish and perch) and a picnic area along the way. As you advance, you will come across Siviano, where you can admire the 14th-century Torre Martinengo. Last but certainly not least in the beauty stakes is Carzano, a tiny fishing village with a truly stunning view of the tiny island of Loreto and the Alto Sebino bank. The more adventurous among you might visit the Santuario della Madonna della Ceriola, which has pride of place over the lake. It’s easy to get to Monte Isola, thanks to the efficient ferry service linking it to the mainland. If you catch the ferry from the Brescia side, in Sulzano or Sale Marasino, it takes just a couple of minutes to reach the island. As you make your way back, why not visit some of the wonders of Franciacorta? From the monastery of San Pietro in Lamosa to Abbazia Olivetana di San Nicola in Rodengo Saiano, the area is ripe for an unforgettable journey through stunning villas and sprawling vineyards.