The loveliest island in the lakes

The loveliest island in the lakes: Montisola, Isola Comacina, Isola del Garda

The loveliest island in the lakes: Montisola, Isola Comacina, Isola del Garda

Lombardy is famous for its lakes, but we should not imagine them as simply areas of water among the mountains, because many of them contain surprises that we might describe as…freshwater pearls. Between the lakeside and garbed with enchantment of nature, these jewels are the islands, which from the lake look landwards, proud of their undisputed splendour.

In the midst of Lake d'Iseo is Montisola, a green oasis amidst the waters, with its heart torn between the Brescia and the Bergamo sides.

An island to be visited without a car – they are absolutely forbidden. A walking tour or a bike ride will bring you into contact with nature, where woods and olive groves intermingle, against a background of colourful flowers. The island has 12 historic centres and a highest point of 600 metres, at Cure, where the Sanctuary of Ceriola is located. If you get as far as this village you can also taste a local product - salami, made by hand using a traditional technique. Its ingredients are a waning moon, a cellar and some dry wood. And don't miss Siviano, with the Martinengo Tower, or Peschiera Maraglio with its fishermen's houses.

Lake Como has the beautiful island of Comacina, with its mediaeval spirit. Indeed Italian mediaeval art is said to have its origins here, centre of the stonemasons, known as the Magistri Comacini.

A place set in a decidedly Mediterranean frame, scented by jasmine and olive green in colour. On landing, the church of S. Giovanni Battista and the Sacro Monte Ossuccio, UNESCO sites, are worth seeing. The island is also home to the Antiquarium Archaeological Museum, created inside the Hospitalis complex that once gave hospitality to pilgrims and to the poor.

The island of Garda is situated on the Brescia side of the lake of that name. Its history is linked to St. Francis, who so liked its natural spirit that he indicated it as the ideal place for his brotherhood and for their chosen lifestyle. It is equal in beauty to the other islands described above. Private property of the Cavazza family, guided tours are organised to show visitors the island's heritage and the stately home there.

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Irene Cacciola

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