Italians on Italians
Beyond Toscano

Isola Santa: a breathtaking place to catch your breath

Think about stopovers on long journeys and you probably imagine roadside service stations and motels. But in Tuscany, there’s a popular stopover than does more than offer a place to catch your breath and refuel, it will take your breath away. 
Isola Santa is a picturesque stone hamlet perched by the side of a stunning clear blue lake. Built in the Middle Ages to support a hospice, it offered a resting place for weary travelers navigating the hilly terrain between Versilia and Garfagnana in the Apuan Alps. 
The construction of a hydroelectric dam in the 1950s sealed the fate of the community and residents were forced to leave their homes. For decades the hamlet stood abandoned, and has only recently come back to life, with many of its buildings lovingly restored, even if many stand empty. Those that do pass through are captivated by Isola Santa’s charms – it’s like discovering a secret only they and a handful of local fisherman know about...oh, and the readers of this blog of course.