Sunday, August 1, 2021

A Real-Life Fairytale at Isola Di Loreto in Italy

Isola di Loreto is a visual treat amid the clear, blue waters of Lake Iseo in Italy. Located in the province of Brescia, Loreto Island, or Isola di Loreto in Italian, provides a splendid escape for those who come to visit Italy. Loreto Island is a perfect getaway for a 24-hour excursion that leads you on a discovery of the essence of the medieval era with a neo-gothic castle at the edge of a cliff, two lighthouses, and snow-capped mountains in the background. However, this private island only allows visitors on rare and special occasions.

History of Isola di Loreto

The very first documented history of the island dates back to A.D. 1238. Owing to the discovery of some coins in circulation during the time of Fredrick II, the Holy Roman Emperor and King of Italy, we can trace the island’s history back to the Roman Empire. During the rule of Romans, the island was open to traders, pilgrims, and local fishermen to frequent.

Later, during the 15th century, the island was bought by the Sisters of Saint Chiara Basilica and they built a convent on it. The nuns were expelled from the island when Cardinal Charles Borromeo visited in 1580. He found that a hermit named Pietro was also living on the island with the nuns and so the convent was closed down immediately. 

Architectural detail in Iseo, Italy, stone columns surrounding a courtyard.
The island housed a convent during the 15th century. (Image: via Dreamstime.com © Rechitan Sorin)

In 1696, the island came into the possession of the heirs of Count Alessandro Martinengo, which was noted by the famous Venetian geographer Vincenzo Maria Coronelli. A century and a half later, the island was mentioned in the historic novel Triburga Oldofredi. The novel featured two sibling protagonists, Imelda and Tiburga from the Italian Oldofredi family. The island was also mentioned by historian Gabriele Rosa and further references about this island can be found in The Alpine Guide of the Province of Brescia in the year 1889.

The island came into the hands of Duchess Felicita Bevilacqua La Masa, who contributed greatly to the art world. Being a patron of the arts, the Duchess is well known for decreeing that the Ca’ Pesaro palace in Venice’s Grand Canal be turned into a studio for young artists so that those who were less financially equipped could gain access to artistic circles and have their works displayed.

The ownership of Loreto Island later passed on to Royal Navy captain Vincenzo Richieri and his wife Giannina Zirotti. The two-storied neo-gothic castle, named Castelo della Isola di Loreto was commissioned to be built around that time; the architect was Luigi Tombola. He also oversaw the building of the lighthouses and the marina. The beauty of the castle was enhanced further when lark and pine trees were planted around it.

Little island Isola di Loreto on Iseo Lake at sunrise, Italy.
The beauty of the castle was enhanced further when lark and pine trees were planted around it. (Image: via Dreamstime.com © Wojciech Kruczynski)

The castle today

Today, the castle is owned by an entrepreneur from nearby Erbusco. It is known that the owner has turned down myriad offers for the place from celebrities and billionaires alike. While the island remains mostly off-limits for tourists, there are jazz concerts held on this island on rare occasions. Other than that, if you want to view the island, you will have to take a trip around it.

There are various hotels in Brescia that make it easy for you to find one that fits your budget. As a thrilling weekend plan, you may venture out to witness the sun-soaked island in the middle of Lake Iseo.

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Armin Auctor
Armin Auctor is an author who has been writing for more than a decade, with his main focus on Lifestyle, personal development, and ethical subjects like the persecution of minorities in China and human rights.
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