|Comune di Monte Isola|
Monte Isola within Lake Iseo
|Frazioni||Corzano, Cure, Masse, Menzino,
Novale, Olzano, Peschiera Maraglio,
Porto di Siviano, Sensole, Senzano, Sinchignano, Siviano
|• Mayor||Pietro Giuseppe Ziliani|
|• Total||12.8 km2 (4.9 sq mi)|
|Elevation||275 m (902 ft)|
|• Density||140/km2 (370/sq mi)|
|Time zone||CET (UTC+1)|
|• Summer (DST)||CEST (UTC+2)|
Monte Isola (also spelled Montisola) is a town and comune in the province of Brescia, in Lombardy. It is located on an island of the same name in Lake Iseo and, as of 2011, its population is of 1,807. Monte Isola has a population of approximately 1800 people spread over eleven villages and hamlets. There are several churches built between the 15th and the 17th century with frescoes, statues, altars in vernacular art.
With a total area of 12.8 square kilometres (4.9 sq mi), Monte Isola ranks as the largest lake island not only in Italy, but also in South and Central Europe. However, many lake islands in Finland, Sweden, Norway and the European part of Russia are larger. The peak of the island at 600 metres (1,969 feet) above sea level is 419 metres (1,375 feet) above the average surface elevation of Lake Iseo (181 m (594 ft)), making Monte Isola one of the highest lake islands in Europe. However, the island Gudfjelløya with its peak at 812 m (2,664 ft) above sea level rises 454 m (1,490 ft) above the lake Tunnsjøen, Norway.
There are two main ports Carzano and Peschieria with a frequent ferry service with the surrounding mainland villages, including Iseo.
There are indications of a Roman settlement. The first written document mentioning "Insulae curtis" dates from 905, when the island was listed among the properties of the monastery of S. Salvatore in Brescia. The family Oldofredi, rulers of Iseo, built on the island two strongholds in the 11th-12th centuries. Members of the powerful Visconti family came here to hunt in 1400. In 1497 Francesco Sforza, duke of Milan, gave the islanders some fishing rights and reduced the taxes. In the same year, Caterina Cornaro, queen of Cyprus, resided a while on the island. During the 19th century the main industry on the island was the construction of boats and the manufacturing of fishing nets.
Sites of interest
The single-nave church of S. Michele in Peschiera Maraglio was consecrated in 1648. This baroque church is notable for the many frescoes on the walls and on the ceiling and for its wooden carvings.
The shrine of Madonna della ceriola stands 600 metres (1,969 feet) above sea level, the highest spot on the island. It can only be reached by walking from the small village of Cure.
The fortress Martinengo can be reached from Menzino. It was built in the 15th century by Oldofredi and enlarged in the 16th century by Martinengo. After a long period of neglect, it has been renovated in an elegant residence by the architect Vittorio Faglia. In 1497 Catherine Cornaro, queen of Cyprus, sojourned here for a short stay.
Monte Isola can be reached through a network of ferry connection with regular schedules.
Driving restrictions are currently enforced, with mopeds and bicycles only allowed on the island. An extensive grid of dedicated bike lanes and hiking trails span all over the island, reaching the peaceful fishing villages with lakeside cafés and the Madonna della Ceriola chapel, nested near the summit of the island. A circular trail of almost 15 km (9 mi) allows a complete tour of Monte Isola.
Southern view of Lake Iseo, with Peschiera Maraglio and Sulzano
Media related to Monte Isola at Wikimedia Commons
- (Italian) Monte Isola official website
- Awarded "EDEN - European Destinations of Excellence" non traditional tourist destination 2010
- (Italian) Website of the Santa Croce di Carzano festival