Isola di Loreto | A Real-Life Fairytale Island


Photocred // Zerolab

Location: Island in Italy | Province of Brescia in Lombardia

Isola di Loreto: Is it for sale?

There is a spectacular little island in the Iseo Lake, in the province of Brescia. The structures on it are built in a neo-Gothic style— meaning the main property is pretty much a fairy tale castle. The island has its own small harbour, two magnificent towers and a park of conifers that introduce the sweet scent of pine into the air.

Before you start packing your bags, I need to break some news to you. This island is private property. That’s right. There is an individual out there who OWNS this entire island. In my deep dive to try to find out who the lucky person is, I uncovered that back in 2010 George Clooney tried to buy the island for his then-girlfriend Sardinian beauty Elisabetta Canalis. Apparently the owner, who remains anonymous, said he was too attached to the lake and the island to EVER consider ANY offers. If Clooney himself couldn’t hit on the right price, what chance do us mere mortals have?

For now the island can be admired from a boat tour on the surrounding lake. You may not be able to set foot on terra firma, but a lot can be gleaned from circumnavigating by water. Rumour has it that every once in a while an event like a jazz concert will be hosted by the owner of the island and tickets can be purchased. Remaining on the lookout for one of these rare events might be your golden ticket onto the island should your curiosity get the better of you.

Want a little history of the mysterious island?

The Sisters of Santa Chiara of Brescia, an order of nuns, are the first recorded owners of the island dating to the end of the 15th century. They promptly built a convent on site. Reports say that by 1580 this convent was already in disuse and no one really knows why.

An account dating to 1696  by Vincenzo Maria Coronelli, Venetian geographer, states that the island at that time was owned by the heirs of Count Alessandro Martinengo.

The next recorded owner of the island is Duchess Felicita Bevilacqua La Masa, a former nurse and patron of the arts.  Following her death, a deed of sale dated October 9, 1900, shows the island was sold to Commander Vincenzo Richeri, who served in the Royal Navy.

In the following decade, Richieri built a neo-Gothic castle on the island around which he created a garden full of conifers, a marina and two light towers. It is to this man that we owe the current visual beauty of the island.