October, 12 2017 ( Updated October, 12 2017)
As you are travelling along the highway that leads you to the coasts of Versilia, you will come across a beautiful small village that seems to be the perfect setting for a Tim Burton movie. Isola Santa is a relic village in the municipality of Careggine, founded in 1208. The village was abandoned due to the construction of a hydroelectric power dam, but was later renovated by the old inhabitants to bring it back to life.
Isola Santa is located off the beaten path, a hidden gem, attracting those who find their way there with its untouched beauty. Even though the village was restored to its former glory, it remains almost empty which is the reason for a peaceful silence. Isola Santa is tailor made for anyone who’s looking to spend a quiet day and relax amidst the nature, away from the buzz of the city life.
Located away from the major cities, Isola Santa is a green paradise. The lush green forests and the Apuan Alps are the main contributors to the beauty and picturesque surroundings of the small village. The peaceful shores of the lake are a perfect spot for a picnic to enjoy the pleasant silence and stunning views. Take a rest here and fill up your energy before exploring the Apuan Alps.
Amongst the things to see on Isola Santa is the church of San Jacopo, which was built in 1260. Back in 1575 the church we can see nowadays was a hospice for travellers and pilgrims. A spectacular natural phenomenon you shouldn’t miss are the caves of Grotta del Vento and Antro del Corchia, which are the widest caves in Europe. The water from the surrounding streams disappears into the underground caves and comes back as spring water. Isola Santa is home to a few quaint cafes and restaurants which have been built as part of the restoration project. The most famous one of them is “Da Giaccò”, where you have to try delicious local specialities like porcini mushrooms, grilled meat, salami, local truffles and cheese of Garfagnana.
Isola Santa along with all its beauty and medieval charm is a must do for anyone who is travelling across Versilia. No matter what you’ve planned to explore Isola Santa, this small ghost town will surely inspire you.