Isola Santa, a relic comes back to life
Isola Santa is a relic – a village in Garfagnana, in the province of Lucca, founded in a remote year in the Middle Ages. The French historian Régine Pernoud once wrote, “the Middle Ages loved relics, like they loved any visible sign of an invisible truth. But this was realism, not sentimentalism”.
Pernoud’s claim applies to many men of our time as well, who love relics out of realism. Indeed, Isola Santa is a “visible sign of an invisible truth” and is still very loved, especially by the young people who have decided to renovate some of the abandoned town’s buildings and to turn them into B&Bs and restaurants, so that long-deserted homes may have a new life.
According to written records from the mid-1200s, Isola Santa was once near a “hospitale” where travellers could find refuge. The town continued to serve as a shelter up to modern times, because of the poor conditions of the streets in the area.
Then in 1949, when the damn on the Turrite Secca was built and an artificial lake created, the town was partially submerged and therefore abandoned.
In the past few years, however, life has returned to these narrow roads surrounded by nature, which now overlook a beautiful lake inhabited by trout.
Now that its truth is visible, Isola Santa is loved more than ever.