|The village of Peschiera Maraglio on Monte Isola|
Now thought of as one of the earliest female English travel writers, Lady Mary was born in London on 15 May, 1689.
She lived for nearly ten years in Lovere on Lago d’Iseo near Bergamo during the later years of her life and constantly praised it as a holiday resort. She is reputed to have once declined an invitation to the Venice carnival saying: “There are plenty of things to do in this village, which, by the way, is one of the most beautiful that exists.”
Lovere is the largest town on the western shore of Lake Iseo and is an easy journey from Bergamo by car or coach.
Resorts on the eastern shores can be reached from Bergamo by taking the train to Brescia and changing to a train that runs alongside the lake to reach Edolo.
There are several points on both sides of the lake from where you can take a boat across to Monte Isola, the island in the middle of the lake that is the largest of its kind in Europe.
Lady Mary travelled extensively at the beginning of the 18th century with her husband, who was appointed British ambassador to Turkey. During this time she wrote the poetry and letters that established her literary reputation.
She became an advocate of inoculation against smallpox, having witnessed the practice on her travels.
But she left her husband in 1739 and went to live in Italy alone. It was on the advice of her doctor that she moved from Brescia to Lovere, where she bought an old palace. She spent happy years there designing her garden and reading the books her daughter sent out to her from England.
She enjoyed entertaining local nobility and making the occasional trip to Genova and Padova, inspired to write poetry by the beauty of Lago d'Iseo and the “impassable mountains” surrounding it.
While living in Lovere she wrote in a letter to her daughter: “I am now in a place the most beautifully romantic I ever saw in my life.”