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Peschiera Maraglio, the calm after the beauty

Peschiera Maraglio,
the calm after the beauty

26 March 2021

A village tuned to the rhythm of life

Peschiera Maraglio, a small village at the foot of Monte Isola on Lake Iseo, is reachable in just a few minutes by ferry.
A lake crossing that's already enough to give the visitor the sensation of journeying back in time. Indeed, disembarking here means leaving behind the usual pace and noise of life, to discover the welcoming atmosphere of a small fishing village and a truly unique island.

Monte Isola, with its substantial height of 600 m above sea level, is Italy's and Europe's highest and biggest lake island: a genuine mountain carpeted by a thousand shades of green with its dense vegetation, olive trees and numerous species of Alpine trees, which are particularly prevalent on the island's northern side and at higher altitudes. The island attracts many tourists and Peschiera Maraglio is its most distinctive and visited village, partly also due to the fact that it was ranked as one of the most beautiful villages in Italy.

Located at the entrance to the “Canale di Sale”, the part of Lake Iseo that has the richest stock of fish , Peschiera Maraglio is both one of the most important fishing centres and a renowned tourist destination. The village centre consists of a small group of cute houses that date back to the late 16th century, and is criss-crossed by narrow cobbled alleyways, lanes, archways and small streets leading to the parish church of San Michele Arcangelo.
But the little port area is undoubtedly the beating heart of the village, and has become known over the years for its production of fishing nets, which are used on the traditional “naet”, the distinctive boat typically found navigating on Lake Iseo. Indeed, it's precisely here that the first net manufacturers and boat yards for building wooden boats were established. Still today they represent the pinnacle of highly skilled, ancient craftsmanship.

A timeless place which, in 2016, inspired the artist Christo who chose this location for his temporary artistic installation, “The Floating Piers”, consisting of a network of floating piers which, from the mainland, arrived on the shores of Monte Isola. A unique work of art, available for pedestrians to use, giving many people the sensation and emotion of walking on water.

Local cuisine, traditional dishes, interesting facts

Despite the undeniable impact of the lake's freshwater fish, the local cuisine is also heavily influenced by the island's hillside hamlets, in which the traditional coarse salami is produced. But the most predominant culinary tradition in Peschiera Maraglio is linked to the practice of laying fish (perch, alosa agone and alborella) to dry in the sun on wooden arches. This tradition even survives in the most common surname to be found on the island, Archetti (meaning “small arches”).

Where to eat enjoying a bottle
of Acqua San Benedetto

Ristorante La Foresta. Monte Isola (BS)

A route immersed between the green and the blue

Cars are not allowed on the island, so to travel between the various hamlets one must use the bicycle, the only means of transport permitted on the ferries, or use the bus service which connects them all. Peschiera Maraglio is the perfect base and start point from which to explore Monte Isola. By following the coastal road clockwise from Peschiera Maraglio to Sensole, it's possible to enjoy a pleasurable stroll along the island's most picturesque road: a path immersed between olive trees and the lush vegetation that typifies Lake Iseo. From here it's also possible to admire the spellbinding view out towards the private islet of San Paolo.

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