In Careggine, in the province of Lucca, there is Isola Santa, a small village consisting of a few stone houses with a slate roof and a very characteristic church that overlooks a recently built artificial lake. Isola Santa is one of the most beautiful villages in Tuscany and is often compared to a typical place in fairy tales, as it is very suggestive. The first certain information relating to the Holy Island began in 1260: originally in the town there was a "hospitale" that welcomed travelers who crossed the Apuane passing through the Foce di Mosceta to go from Versilia to Garfagnana or vice versa. Today the Holy Island is a destination for tourists and hikers, in spite of keeping its aura of peace and tranquility.
The small village, made of stone houses with slate roofs and the small church of S. Jacopo, has a very ancient history: the village stands today on the ruins of an ancient hospitale, a resting place for travelers and pilgrims who crossed the Apuan Alps and traveled on foot between Versilia and Garfagnana. In those years, the Holy Island had a different aspect from what it can be seen today. It overlooked the banks of the Turrite Secca stream and could be reached by a road that passed through the valley, now submerged by the artificial lake. In fact, during the 1950s a dam was built for the exploitation of hydroelectric energy which irremediably changed the village and part of the ancient town was submerged by water including the Mosceta Mill and the arch bridge that crossed the stream. . Due to these changes the inhabitants were forced to leave the village, but in 2000, after returning to the Holy Island with the intention of restoring the village to its original beauty, they gave life to a renovation project that saved the village abandonment and neglect, making it reborn as a widespread hotel.
What you can visit
Isola Santa is one of the best starting points for visiting the Garfagnana. You can decide to take an excursion along the lake or take the Cai Path 145 which leads you to the Apuan Alps. Other paths branch off from Isola Santa which allow you to reach Pania della Croce, Pania Secca, the queen of the Apuan Alps, Pizzo delle Saette, Mount Corchia, Sumbra and Freddone. In the vicinity of the Holy Island there are also some fascinating caves to explore. These include the Grotta del Vento on the Garfagnana side and the Antro del Corchia on the Versilia side.