At the center of Lake Iseo is the majestic Monte Isola, the largest lake island in Europe, flanked north and south by the two smaller islands of St. Paolo and Loreto.
It is easily reached by a pleasant boat trip for a few minutes starting from Iseo or Sulzano. The island is so named because of its characteristic shape of a mountain, as it has the appearance of a mountain outcropping from the center of the lake.
Monteisola is characterized by small ancient villages surrounded by unspoilt nature, amongst lush olive groves, and on it, to preserve the beauty and uniqueness of the landscape, is hereby prohibited the circulation of cars. On top of the “mountain” white stands out from afar the small but ancient Sanctuary of Our Lady of Ceriola, where you can enjoy an incomparable view on the whole lake. The sanctuary can be reached only on foot, through a scenic trail that winds along the side of the mountain to overcome the difference in height of about 650 meters that separates him from the shore.
Marian devotion is typical of the island, and there are examples of Five-Year Celebrations, which attract tourists from all over Europe. During this week of processions and festivities, the island is literally covered in paper flowers made by the skilled hands of local women.
The fishing village of Peschiera Maraglio, whose fascinating maze of alleyways has earned the village to be put on the List of the most Beautiful Villages in Italy, is a popular destination with tourists. In Peschiera is also possible to visit the net factorys where continue the tradition of manufacturing nets that made the island famous worldwide.
From Peschiera across a lovely walk of about 2 km on the lake among olive trees, you reach the small but pretty town of Sensole. Halfway, the main village Siviano, in whose medieval center you can see many old houses.
Monteisola is justly famous for its typical products, which give rise to a peculiar gastronomy, which, in addition of course to the lake fish cooked in various ways (sardines, tench, whitefish, char), includes fried “oe”, sun-dried fish (sardines, rudd, chub), and the famous knife- grounded salamini