Monte Isola is a mountain emerging in middle of Lake Iseo. Motorvehicles cannot access it, except for very few service ones. The roads linking the hamlets are therefore ideal for getting around by bicycle.
Peschiera Maraglio, the picturesque fishermen's village with a small port where their boats, called 'naet', are moored, is reached quickly by ferry from Sulzano, This is the most popular place on the island, known for its fishing net museum and boat yard. A must-see is the San Michele church dating back to the seventeenth century.
From Peschiera Maraglio's small port, we steer towards the left on the “Strada degli Ulivi" (Road of Olives), looking southwards to the small island of San Paolo and soon reaching Sensole and then Menzino. Here, a 500 metre detour gives us an up-close view of the majestic Oldofredi fortress, built in the twelfth century, which is one of the most well preserved castles in the whole province of Brescia and served to protect the island.
On the way back down from the fortress we continue towards Sinchignano and, just past the church of San Carlo, we turn right towards the Sanctuary of Madonna della Ceriola. The following three kilometres are quite challenging and, in some places, we may have to push the bike due to uneven ground and/or inclines. After visiting the Sanctuary and having admired the exceptional panorama, in every direction, from the highest point of the island, we descend to Cure from where we continue to Masse and Olzano.
From Olzano we take a steep rocky road that leads to Siviano, an ancient village situated 250 metres above sea level where the fourteenth century tower of Martinengo stands. The imposing Parish Church dedicated to Saints Faustino and Giovita dominates the surrounding landscape. Monte Isola's local council offices are located within.
After travelling along the coast for about half an hour we reach Carzano, an ancient fishing and net making village. The historic centre has well-preserved ancient houses. Here, every 5 years on 14th September, they celebrate the Feast of the Holy Cross, where all the inhabitants decorate their homes with hand-made paper flowers and in the evening lots small white lights make for a fairy-tale landscape. A short distance from the Baroque church of San Giovanni Battista you reach a park that overlooks the island of Loreto; tourists can spend blissful moments sunbathing and diving into the lake’s clear water.
Carzano has the only campsite on the island; here you can find the popular restaurant "Ristorante Montisola" where you can enjoy local dishes based on the fish caught in the lake. Carzano is easy to reach by boat from Sale Marasino.
The road to Peschiera Maraglio is quiet and offers fabulous views of the island of San Paolo. A short distance from the starting point is a park with olive trees where tourists can stop for a picnic. On this magical island, we produce a delightful extra virgin olive oil D.O.P. (Denominazione di Origine Protetta - Protected Designation of Origin) and the delicious Montisola salami, made using traditional techniques. Another tradition is preserving sardines caught in the lake: once cleaned and washed they are left in salt for a day and then hung on wooden racks to dry; after a few days the fish are washed and preserved in oil.