Monte Isola is Europe's largest island within a lake covering approximately 5sq km. Due to its size and road construction, Monte-isola has driving restrictions and only the doctor, police, public services and the priest are allowed to drive on the island. Permissions need granting for other vehicles, such as used in building construction, therefore making the little fishing village, perched on the lakeside a peaceful retreat. It is possible to hire a bike or walk the 15km tourist route that encircles the island.
To get to Monte Isola the shortest ferry ride is from From Sulzano which is only 800m away from the shoreline arriving in Peschiera Maraglio, a small fishing village with a good selection of traditonal coloured houses on overlooking the lake front, and an ensemble of jumble of narrow streets or tresandei. In the summer months the ferry jetty has many displays of flowers and flags and potted cypress trees grow adron the promenade.
Visiting Peschiera is like going back in time. This is not a true tourist resort, as people's lives are directly connected to living off the Lake. Oddly there are almost no street names, just house numbers. As for postcodes, well imagine! This wonderful muddle of houses are connected to each other by walls, arches, and ancient stone stairs. The promenade is used for fish salting and and drying and for repairing nets.
Monte Isola is great for walkers. Most people take the route from Peschiera and head north along the coastal road or and take the mountain track above the shoreline. This track leads to Carzono, another waterfront settlement, welll worth visiting. The highlight is a wondeful and panoramic climb from the village of Cure to the Madonna della Ceriola chapel, which is situated amongst tress at the summit!
Monte Isola has a population of approximately 1800 people who live in 11 " hamlets". As you may expect there are a number of churches built between 1400 and 1600 which have some lovely frescoes, statues and altars created by famous historic artists.
Monte Isola has a steep wooded aspect to the South East but is more gently sloping to the Bergam (west) side with fields producing local vegetables, olives and grapes. The island rises from te lake side to over 600m where can be found the shrine of the Lady Cerio
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