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Monte Isola is a picturesque island in Lake Iseo, Lombardy.


Monte Isola is the highest European lake island and the largest Italian one.

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.

Map of Monte Isola
Paper flowers in Carzano - 2010

On the island there are many small villages:

  • Siviano — the main village where there is the townhall;
  • Peschiera Maraglio — the most touristic village, by the lake side;
  • Carzano — by the lake side, every 5 years the village is decorated with thousands of paper flowers.

Get in[edit]

By boat[edit]

The only way to reach Monte Isola is using a ferry boat.

Navigazione Lago d'Iseo's routes link almost all Lake Iseo's towns (the main one is Iseo) with Monte Isola's harbours: Peschiera Maraglio, the main one, Sensole, Carzano and Siviano Porto.

A non-stop service Sulzano-Peschiera Maraglio and Sale Marasino-Carzano is also available. During the night the frequency of ferry boats is lower.

By plane[edit]

The nearest airport is:

  • 1 Bergamo-Orio al Serio international airport (Il Caravaggio international Airport BGY IATA), Via Aeroporto 13, Orio al Serio (From Orio al Serio you have to take a coach (autostradale) to Brescia, then the train or a Bus to Iseo, Sulzano or Sale Marasino where is possible to take a ferry boat. Probably the faster way to reach Monte Isola from Orio al Serio is taking a taxi.), +39 035 326323. The fourth busiest airport in Italy, it serves many destinations in Europe and North Africa. Its main airline is Ryanair; other companies are Wizzair, with flights to the Central-East Europe and Air Dolomiti, which connects the airport with Munich.

Other airports in the surrounding area are:

  • Milan-Malpensa: Milan main airport with intercontinental destinations;
  • Milan-Linate: Milan city airport with domestic and European flights;
  • Brescia-Montichiari: Very small airport used only for cargo;
  • Verona-Villa Franca;

Get around[edit]

Driving restrictions are 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.

Tourists can also take a public bus (timetables [formerly dead link]).


Rocca Martinengo
Santuario della Madonna della Ceriola
  • 1 Rocca Martinengo, Menzino. The Castle is private and rarely open to tourists. Former Castello Oldofredi, it was built to protect the westertn side of Iseo Lake. The castle is situated above the Sesole Gulf, between Peschiera and Menzino. In 1427 the Republic of Venice conquired also the weastern side of the lake and the defensive function of the castle was not more necessary. The building was converted into a palace.

All the villages on the island have got a church, some of them are very particular, others are very small or closed to the public.

  • 2 Chiesa Parrocchiale dei SS. Faustino e Giovita, Siviano. Built between 1740 and 1754, its clock tower is visible for miles. In the interior there are many beautiful frescos.
  • 3 Chiesa Parrocchiale di S. Michele, Peschiera.
  • 4 Chiesa Parrocchiale di S. Giovanni Battista, Carzano. Built in the second half of 18th century, it is dedicated to John the Baptist, fishermen protector. In the church there are many relics and the main one is probably the Holy Cross.
  • 5 Santuario della Madonna della Ceriola, Above Cure. Built in the 13th century, it is on the highest part of the island, at 600 m above sea level. From the Sanctuary you will be able to admire the entire lake, from Sarnico to Pisogne and Lovere.



Between Sensole and Peschiera Maraglio and in Carzano there are many restaurants. In those restaurant you can eat dealicuos dishes made with fresh water fishes.

An other traditional product is "Salame di Monte Isola", a salami.


Stay safe[edit]

Go next[edit]

  • Iseo — This picture-perfect Italian town, sandwiched between the imposing Rhaetian Alps and crystal-blue waters of Lake Iseo, boasts an extraordinarily well-preserved medieval castle.
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