What to do - Trekking

The best way to get to know the soul of Monte Isola is to walk around it.

Paths in the woods, old mule tracks, tiny paved roads – but without cars – link the different hamlets and localities.

Going up to the Sanctuary of the Madonna della Ceriola in Monte Isola means reaching one of the most panoramic places on Lake Iseo, with a 360° view of its coasts and the mountains that surround it, down to the gentle hills of Franciacorta and beyond .

Although it is possible to arrive near the Sanctuary with a minibus, it is advisable to go up on foot, following two of the wonderful paths that wind around the island.

Get the trail map at the Infopoint and immerse yourself in its wonderful nature.

Tourist route

+ 80 m

2h 30 min

9.4 km


The tour of the island

Monte Isola rises up to 600 meters of altitude, flanked to the south by the small island of San Paolo, while the rocky and characteristic island of Loreto emerges to the north. The perimeter is walkable thanks to the easy and diverse path that connects towns full of the sweetness and serenity of other times. On the highest point of the island stands the ancient Sanctuary of the Madonna della Ceriola ; from up there you can enjoy the splendid view of the lake and the surrounding mountains, such as the Guglielmo, which acts as a magnificent backdrop towards the north-east, on the side of the lake located in the Province of Brescia.

We walk towards Carzano on foot from Peschiera Maraglio, boats that go back and forth to Sulzano arrive. The route winds flat along the shore. Carzano, on the north-east coast, can be reached in about forty minutes. Going through the village, two small harbours squeezed between old fishermen’s houses deserve particular attention; suggestive views for painting and photography enthusiasts. You will then reach the small church of S. Giovanni Battista on the left. After that, continue slightly uphill to Siviano, passing a campsite and the locality “Paradiso” a little further on, while the islet of Loreto emerges from the waters.
Siviano extends on a terraced slope facing north-east, among vines and olive trees, dominated by the mighty medieval tower of the Martinengo family. The small harbour is an authentic jewel. It can be reached in a few minutes with a path that branches off from the town itself.

The path then leads to Sinchignano (we are about halfway through the excursion) and, at a crossroads, we turn right towards Menzino and Sensole (the road that climbs to the left leads to Senzano, a fine panoramic point); just off the coast in front of Sensole‘s harbour is the islet of S. Paolo, while the Oldofredi castle – also called Rocca Martinengo – stands out on a promontory.

Returning to the main road along an uphill path, the excursion continues to the right between the lake and light-crowned olive trees, up to Peschiera M., our starting point. Before going back to Sulzano, we recommend dedicating a few minutes to visiting the town which, as we read in tourist posters, “has nothing to envy to the villages of the Venice lagoon. The lake is on the doorstep and the colors delight painters”.

Photos by: Linoolmostudio.it

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Path 1

+ 400 m

80 min

4 km


Peschiera Maraglio – Cure – Madonna della Ceriola Sanctuary

The trail starts from Peschiera Maraglio, exactly outside the Tourist Office (from pier 1 about 200 meters on the left, from pier 3 about 200 meters on the right). Take the vaulted alley that runs alongside the Infopoint and climb up through the town. After a stairway, you will arrive on the main road; cross it and enter the wood, taking the path to the left, first with steps that immediately after become a dirt road. After about half an hour of climbing among trees, shrubs and spectacular views, a small area equipped with tables and benches invites you to take a regenerating break. Continuing in a northerly direction, the gaze is soon captured by the splendid view of the Island of San Paolo and the Rocca Martinengo. From here the path becomes less steep and, crossing shady chestnut woods, it soon reaches the village of Cure.

At this point there are two possibilities to go up to the Sanctuary:

  1. Long variant: just before the town, turn right and go up the mule track which slowly leads to a beautiful clearing of chestnut trees almost protecting a fairy-tale-looking house. After passing it, continue to the left until you take a detour to the right, where boulders placed in steps lead in a few steps to the southern entrance of the Sanctuary.

  2. Short variant: cross the town of Cure until you reach the small shrine dedicated to the Virgin and turn right. Go up the mule track in the woods where, after passing some stone houses on the left, a beautiful round arch on the right indicates the beginning of the Via Crucis, which leads to the north entrance of the Sanctuary.

Photos by: Linoolmostudio.it, Oscar Colosio

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Path 2

+ 400 m

110 min

6.5 km

medium - hard

Peschiera Maraglio – Olzano – Masse – Cure – Madonna della Ceriola Sanctuary

As for path n.1, the start of path n.2 is located outside the Tourist Office (from pier 1 about 200 meters on the left, from pier 3 about 200 meters on the right). Take the vaulted alley that runs alongside the Infopoint and climb up through the town. After a stairway, you will arrive on the main road; cross it and enter the wood, taking the path that continues flat to the right. After about forty-five minutes of walking (attention: particularly exposed*) you will reach the village of Olzano, a small and characteristic cluster of houses, where it is possible to cool off at a fountain. Go through the village uphill and take the paved road that turns left, to reach the village of Masse in a few minutes. Cross it and, near the square, where there is another fountain, take the road on the left which runs alongside the pink church dedicated to Saints Rocco and Pantaleone. From here the road becomes a beautiful mule track which, between cultivated fields and olive trees, leads to the town of Cure where, at a small shrine dedicated to the Virgin, you can turn left and reach the sanctuary by following the Via Crucis.

Photos by: Linoolmostudio.it, Oscar Colosio

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Path 3

+ 400 m

75 min

3,5 km

medium - easy

Carzano - Novale - Olzano - Masse - Madonna della Ceriola Sanctuary

From the village of Carzano, go along the main street, following the indications for path n. 3 and “Borgo di Novale”. The old, well-paved and sometimes steep road leads to Novale in a few minutes. From here the mule track becomes a path and winds through olive groves and breathtaking views of the island of Loreto and upper Lake Iseo. Once you reach the center of Olzano, continue along the road that turns left uphill and, shortly after, near the bus stop, it becomes a path in the woods up to the village of Masse. Once in the center of Masse, the route continues on the side of the Church of San Rocco. The road, sometimes paved and sometimes a mule track between views of the hill and wonderful green meadows, leads in a short time to just outside the town of Cure. From here, turning onto the uphill mule track, it is possible to reach the Sanctuary of the Madonna della Ceriola, from which you can enjoy a breathtaking view of the lake and the surrounding area.

Photos by: Linoolmostudio.it, Oscar Colosio

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Path 4

+ 300 m

60 min

2,6 km


Siviano - Cure - Madonna della Ceriola Sanctuary

The route starts from the town hall square of Monte Isola, in the village of Siviano. From the square continue in the direction of Carzano, and turn right into a narrow passage, following the sign for Cure. The route passes under the parish church of SS. Faustino and Giovita and then climbs towards the center of the island.

The paved road becomes a mule track with a panoramic view of the lake and the wonderful hill of Monte Isola. The mule track then reaches the hairpin bend below the village of Cure. Then follow the road that climbs towards the center of Cure and, once you have crossed it, follow the pleasant and at times steep climb which in 20 minutes leads to the Ceriola Sanctuary, from which it is possible to admire all of Lake Iseo and the nearby hills of Franciacorta.

Photos by: Linoolmostudio.it, Oscar Colosio

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Themed routes

+ 147 m

2 h 30 min

9,7 km


Traditions' itinerary - following the footsteps of tradition

The itinerary has the pier number 1 in Peschiera Maraglio as its starting and finishing point, but it can also start in other places, since it is a circular route. Explanatory panels on the island’s traditions will accompany our tour, marking the stages.

We disembark in Peschiera Maraglio and turn left, reaching the “Palazzo del Turismo”, where Monte Isola’s Tourist Office is located; we take the alley to the left of the Infopoint and enter the village. Narrow alleys and steep stairways connect and separate the houses huddled together at the same time.
After passing a souvenir shop on the right, we continue to the left, until we find ourselves in a small internal square. Images hanging on the walls of houses tell us that we are in the right place and let us take the first dive into the past. Can you hear the chatter of the women and the laughter of the children helping and running around the nets?
For the next stage we have to go down to the lakeside and head right towards Sensole. We are going along the famous “walk of the olive trees”, which on August 15th becomes the scene of a historic sports competition: the “Voga Longa”, a rowing of three and a half kilometers with modern naèt.
We continue along the road which becomes narrow and steep in the direction of Siviano. On the way, in the locality of Menzino, there are two beautiful, very panoramic rest areas. In the first there is a kiosk and in the second benches and tables for a do-it-yourself break.
While we continuing to wind up our wire, we reach Siviano where, in the small square in front of the town hall, we find panel no. 3, narrating a legend about the island’s nets.
A steep stairway leads us to Porto di Siviano, where the largest net factory and one of the few remaining on the island is located. We are at stage number 4 of our itinerary: the production of nets over time.
Descending towards the small harbour, we go up to the left along a rather steep path, which runs alongside the walls of Villa Ferrata, up to Siviano. We turn left again and descend towards Carzano. After about 15 minutes we leave the paved road and go up to the right at the indication for “Novale”. The beauty of this tiny medieval village will leave you breathless. Come back and visit it on the occasion of the Feast of Santa Croce, because it is a true marvel! Take note: from 14 to 20 September 2025 you absolutely have to come back!
Another steep stairway descending towards the lake leads us to the center of Carzano, the absolute protagonist of the Festa di Santa Croce. In the “port antic”, small harbour at the entrance to Carzano, you will find panel number 6.
While waiting for the village to prepare for the party, we close our tour of traditions with a stop at the Ercole Archetti shipyard in Peschiera Maraglio.
There, a very young shipwright continues the traditional family business of building wonderful wooden boats. In this place where, in the not too distant past, only fishing boats were produced, today very expensive leisure boats are built, destined to sail in the seas of the whole world.

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+ 500 m

4 h

14 km


History itinerary - following the footsteps of History

This itinerary leads us to the discovery of a different, unusual, hidden Monte Isola.

Once we have landed in Peschiera Maraglio, we turn left and reach Monte Isola’s Infopoint.

Looking up, we will notice that the ceiling is very particular: a boat is embedded in it. We just have to go up to the first floor, for our first stop: the Museum of Tradition. With a little imagination, we get on the boat and begin our journey into the past. We leave the Infopoint and take the alley adjacent to the building. We are in the village: narrow alleys and steep stairways separate the houses huddled together; the entrance doors are open, as a sign of welcome, as if they were waiting for us. A few steps and we reach the parish church of San Michele and the opposite oratory of San Rocco, which houses a recently restored cycle of frescoes attributed to the local artist Romanino.

But we are only at the beginning, therefore, we must move: the third stage awaits us. We reach it in a short time on the lake promenade that leads to Sensole, the stage for the most beautiful and majestic installation ever made on Lake Iseo: The Floating Piers. In 2016, the floating walkways covered in an iridescent yellow fabric kept the spotlights from all over the world on us for 16 days! The installation was temporary and is no longer there, but another marvel has taken its place: vegetation. Of an exciting beauty, typically Mediterranean, thanks to the microclimate of the island, it offers us olive groves, palms, orange blossoms, aloes, bougainvilleas, orange and lemon trees, in the gardens and along the white walls of the houses with blue and green shutters. At the same time, on our left, the islet of San Paolo appears, with its austere villa and luxuriant park. During The Floating Piers, you could walk to it and admire it up close.

We continue our journey. If we look up, we see a mighty circular tower emerging from the trees in the distance: it’s the Rocca Oldofredi-Martinengo, and that’s exactly where we’re going. We get there by taking a narrow mule track on the right at the entrance to the village of Menzino which, crossing the wood, leads us to what was once a drawbridge. Unfortunately, the villa is private and cannot be visited, except during FAI days or cultural initiatives on the island. Everything we need to know, however, is told to us at the entrance by explanatory panels.

We say goodbye to the Rocca and continue our itinerary towards the Sanctuary of the Madonna della Ceriola. Oh yes, it still goes up, but it’s worth it! Along the way, in Senzano, a brief stop at the small church of San Severino allows us to catch our breath. If we look up, we notice that the bell tower of the sanctuary is watching us from above and follows our slow progress. The sign with the indication “Cure” tells us that we are in the right direction. Come on, we’re almost there! About fifteen minutes and we are on the top of the island and the mountain. It was worth it, right? Let’s enjoy the view and observe nature: now there are chestnut trees and the air is cooler. Next to the church, there is a small refreshment point: let’s rest with a platter of cold cuts and a glass of local wine. Prosit!

Just one though, because our journey isn’t over yet. Now it goes down. The path that leads to Siviano, passing through Masse and Olzano, is of a moving beauty. The island you don’t expect, the island that few see, because almost everyone stops at the lake or goes up to Cure with the shuttle. It is a succession of flowery meadows, vineyards, olive groves, orchards, framed by the lake and the Pre-Alps, with the highest peaks still covered in snow. A paradise! Every step a detail, every detail an emotion. In the small village of Masse, we find the almost hidden church of San Rocco and a fountain. Especially in summer, it is very appreciated.

We continue downhill towards Siviano. It is the imposing parish church of Saints Faustino and Giovita that welcomes us, with its airy terrace overlooking the town from above. And then down to Porto, where another jewel of the island awaits us: Villa Ferrata. In Porto there is also the Museo della Rete, a private collection of tools and various objects on the history of Monte Isola. You are tired? We are almost there. We go up along the boundary wall of Villa Ferrata and then down again in the direction of Carzano, to the left. After about fifteen minutes, we reach the village of the Festa di Santa Croce and the parish church of San Giovanni Battista, our last stop.

Another 30 minutes on the plain and we’re back in Peschiera Maraglio; probably tired, but certainly satisfied.

Photo by: Linoolmostudio.it

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+ 278 m

3 h

10,5 km

medio - facile

Taste itinerary - following the scents and flavours of Monte Isola

If, like us, you don’t conceive a trip without gluttony, follow us! We will try to get the best out of the gastronomic offer of Monte Isola.

What awaits you is a tasty journey, in which you will get to know the best and most appreciated products of the island, unique land and lake products, carried forward by generations of local inhabitants.

Let’s start with fish. Naturally lake fish and strictly local. Fished every day by the fishermen of Monte Isola, with their nets and their wooden boats, the naècc. In the winter months, in some private gardens, fish can still be seen hanging in the traditional way. These are the famous sardines, exposed to the air and the sun to dry. What was once simply the method of preserving fish is today a distinctive process of Monte Isola’s cuisine. This is why there is an installation dedicated to them in Peschiera Maraglio (panel number 1 – Peschiera Maraglio).

Speaking of oil, did you know that Monte Isola, despite being in northern Italy, enjoys a Mediterranean climate? Well yes! The waters of the lake are like tanks that accumulate heat in the summer and release it in the winter, favouring a particular microclimate on the island, which allows the growth of typically Mediterranean plants, such as the olive tree. There are 15,000 of them! (panel number 2 – Menzino) After hearing so much about the organoleptic properties of Monte Isola’s oil, its golden yellow colour, its fruity aroma, its almond flavor and, at the same time, bitter and spicy, we just have to try it. There are plenty of restaurants and trattorias along our itinerary, as well as shops where you can buy it. Our palate is always ready for a tasting!

The thriving soil of this wonderful island has other surprises in store for us. In addition to fish and oil, on the terraced hillsides, young farmers have put family land back to fruition, transforming it into real farms. Monte isola has, therefore, also honey, prized millefiori and chestnut, wild berries, which are transformed into delicious jams and juices, highly prized saffron and snails, all products candidates for creating new traditions (panel number 3 – Senzano).

But it’s not just that. We continue our journey because, far from the waters of the lake, salami is the king. Worked according to the traditional ritual, it has a unique and unmistakable flavor, we dare say it cannot be replicated on dry land, not even by respecting the processing steps. The salami produced on Monte Isola, in fact, has within it the scents of the air, of the lake, and of the fireplace of the “salami house”. We listen to the audio and every mystery will be revealed to us (panel number 4 – Cure).

How about sitting down at the table? In almost all the villages of the island, today there is at least one trattoria and all of them offer local cuisine, a poor cuisine but with character, ideal for palates that are not afraid of strong tastes. Sardines are usually served as an appetizer on a slice of polenta. The contrast of the salted fish with the sweet polenta is a delicacy for the palate. Let’s listen to the podcast: we can try to cook them at home too! Then we move on to the first courses, such as spaghetti with lake prawns or risotto with perch. Or directly to the succulent main courses, such as baked whitefish or breaded perch, which even the children adore, or fried bleak. But also a cold cuts platter or “migole” (coming from salami’s dough) with polenta and cooked cabbage, for those who prefer earthy flavors (panel number 5 – Siviano).

With a full and satisfied stomach, we roll downhill towards Carzano, where the end of our itinerary is located. A couple of panels illustrate how two of the traditional activities have always taken place: fishing and the olive harvest. Let’s make ourselves comfortable and listen to the latest podcast (panels number 6 and 7 – Carzano).

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