When you approach Montisola (or Monte Isola) with the ferry boat, you will see a little white church at the top of the mountain. That’s the little sanctuary called “Madonna della Ceriola”.
The hike to the Sanctuary of the Madonna della Ceriola in Montisola allows you to reach one of the most panoramic places of Lake Iseo, from where you can enjoy an incredible view if its coasts and the surrounding mountains.
- Starting Point: Peschiera Maraglio
- Time: 80 minutes
- Difficulty: Easy (but it’s all up hill)
- Gears: hiking boots o trainers
- Water on the way: no, only at the arrival
- Best time: all year around
How to get there
Along the island, there are many paths that lead to the sanctuary. We walked Path Number 1 (Sentiero 1), which is the shortest and easiest.
From the same starting point, you will also find signs for Path Number 2 (Sentiero 2), which is a bit longer (+40 minutes) and requires more attention, as the first part is a bit exposed. Path Number 2 will allow you to see two little villages, Olzano and Masse (where you can find a fountain with drinkable water).
The Path starts from Peschiera Maraglio, next to the Tourist Office. You will see a porch and the signs of the paths. The path starts uphill along the narrow streets of Peschiera Maraglio.
After a flight of stairs, you’ll cross the main road and enter the wood.
The path continues uphill for around half an hour; on your left, you can enjoy spectacular views of the lake and the little island of San Paolo, the path becomes less steep and finally reaches the little village of Cure.
Keep following the signs and you will reach a beautiful round arch and some shrines in the wood, which lead you to the entrance of the Sanctuary.
At the Sanctuary you will find a picnic area with tables, toilets, and a bar.
The remote origins of the Sanctuary of Madonna della Ceriola date back to the mid-fifth century, when the bishop of Brescia decided to build a small chapel on the top of the island, dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, as a symbol of purification from pagan superstitions.
In 1836 cholera spread in Lombardy. The inhabitants of Montisola, desperate for the numerous victims, organised a procession to the Sanctuary, where they made a vow to consecrate that day if that epidemic was over.
From that day, the disease weakened until it disappeared. Since then, even today, the second Sunday of July, the inhabitants of Montisola celebrate the event at the Sanctuary.
For more information about how to get to Montisola and what else to see, check “A day trip to Montisola“.