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Islands, Villages, and Natural Oases: here's what to see on Lake Trasimeno

  • 19/02/2024

Umbria is a region that continually surprises those who decide to spend some time or vacation there. Like Lake Trasimeno, the fourth largest lake in Italy, spanning an impressive 128 square kilometers in the province of Perugia, bordering the beautiful Val di Chiana in Tuscany. Nestled among majestic hills and lush woods and a place of mysterious legends, it is the ideal destination for those who want to discover the best that Umbria has to offer, including villages with ancient charm overlooking the lake, nearby art cities, natural oases, and hiking trails to explore the fauna and flora of the area. Not to mention the three beautiful islands located within the lake, which are definitely worth a visit.

Come with us and let's discover together what to see on Lake Trasimeno!

 

The Treasures of Lake Trasimeno: Here's What to See

This tectonic-origin lake is a natural wonder with a strategic position, always a transit point for pilgrims, travelers, tourists, and ancient legends. Around these waters - which reach a maximum depth of 6 meters - revolves a myth, one that sees Prince Trasimeno, son of the Etruscan king Tirreno, die in its waters the day after marrying the beautiful nymph of the lake Agilla, who still desperately searches for her lover. A poignant legend for a place that deserves to be discovered, both by lovers and non-lovers: while it can offer breathtaking sunsets for a romantic evening, there are plenty of things to see on Lake Trasimeno, for families and art enthusiasts, birdwatchers, or nature lovers, and for any occasion, from summer vacations to autumn weekends. Not surprisingly, the entire surface of the lake is included in the Regional Natural Park.

 

The Three Islands

We couldn't start anywhere else but from the authentic jewel emerging from the waters of Lake Trasimeno. Or should we say, jewels in this case, as there are three: Polvese Island, Maggiore Island, and Minor Island, the only private one and not visitable. Despite the name being misleading, it is Polvese Island that is the largest of the three islands in the lake and is part of the Regional Park of Trasimeno, easily reachable by ferry. If you are a lover of lush nature, you cannot miss a visit: you'll be welcomed by a myriad of ancient olive trees introduced by the ancient Olivetan monks who lived here and a series of unique attractions, such as the ancient fortress built in defense of the island, the Church of San Giuliano, and the ruins of the monastery of San Secondo. Maggiore Island, on the other hand, is the only inhabited one of the three, and in addition to its natural wonders and hiking trails among poplars and holm oaks, it offers numerous points of historical and architectural interest, such as the Church of San Salvatore, built in the 1300s, and the Guglielmi Castle. The dining offer is good too, for those who want to refresh after a nice walk... maybe following the traces of San Francesco d'Assisi, who stayed on this island for a period!

 

Castiglione del Lago

If you have booked a weekend or a longer stay on Lake Trasimeno, you will certainly not be bored: there are plenty of activities to do, starting with getting lost in the alleys of the villages that rise along the shores of the lake. Let's start with Castiglione del Lago, which is among the most beautiful villages in Italy and the true capital of the lake. You can decide whether to enjoy a peaceful lakeside stroll, relax on one of the equipped beaches, or visit the village perched on a limestone promontory. We recommend a visit to the 16th-century Ducal Palace, with frescoes from the 16th century and majestic medieval walls, connected by a walkway to the Rocca del Leone, one of the most important examples of Umbrian military architecture.

 

Passignano sul Trasimeno

It's also part of the circuit of the most beautiful villages in Italy: we're talking about Passignano sul Trasimeno, which stands on a promontory on the northern shore of Lake Trasimeno and is known as the "village of fishermen". The majestic medieval fortress stands out immediately, offering a splendid panoramic view of Lake Trasimeno and the surrounding hills. For the curious, we recommend a visit to the characteristic Museum of Boats, where the typical lake boats are exhibited, while for the most romantic, a walk along the lakeshore, perhaps towards sunset. Speaking of boats: one of the most important events is the Palio delle Barche, held every year in July, where four districts compete for the prize.

 

Panicale

Panicale is decidedly picturesque, a village built at 440 meters above sea level on a concentric center plan with an imposing city wall. This solution, developed in medieval times to protect the city, gives it a unique appearance and today offers numerous panoramic terraces that offer magnificent views of the city and the lake. Not surprisingly, we are talking about a village that is also part of the circuit of the most beautiful villages in Italy: it is definitely worth a visit for its architectural and historical wonders, such as the Palazzo del Podestà or the Collegiate Church of San Michele Arcangelo.

 

Città della Pieve

We move from the shores of the lake to go to Città della Pieve, another fortified medieval village entirely made of the characteristic local brick, located in a strategic position, just 4 km from the border with Tuscany. It always occupies a raised position and it is a real pleasure to get lost in its alleys that suddenly emerge on grandiose views of the mountains of central Italy, from Amiata to Cetona, from the Sibillini to Subasio. Among majestic palaces and squares, the imposing Rocca, and very narrow streets, like the one nicknamed "Baciadonne" only 80 centimeters wide, it is a must-see stop. But not only that because it is also the birthplace of the famous painter Pietro Vannucci, known as il Perugino, and many of his works are visible. For those who visit Città delle Pieve in summer, we recommend going there in mid-August when the famous Palio dei Terzieri is held, which recalls the ancient hunt for the Bull with archery shots, followed by processions, musical performances, theatrical performances, and much more.

 

Sanctuary of the Madonna di Mongiovino

Located just 7 km from Panicale, it is worth extending your trip to see it. The sanctuary of Mongiovino was built in 1524 by Rocco da Vicenza to replace an older chapel that preserved a 14th-century image of the Madonna, considered miraculous and capable of extraordinary wonders. For hiking enthusiasts, it is also possible to reach the nearby Castle of Mongiovino on foot, which is located in a splendid panoramic position and is now used as accommodation.

 

Lush Nature

Last - but not least - advice: let yourself be enchanted by the beauty of this lake and the surrounding nature. There are plenty of things to do on Lake Trasimeno for those who love the outdoors: you can take advantage of the cycle path that runs along the entire perimeter of the lake for a nice bike ride or for jogging, or you can sail the calm waters with canoes, kayaks, or paddleboards. As mentioned earlier, birdwatching enthusiasts or the curious can engage in this activity thanks to the numerous species that nest in this natural context, including rare herons.

 

Where to Stay on Lake Trasimeno?

The area around Lake Trasimeno is strongly geared towards hospitality and welcoming tourists who want to discover this splendid territory. Not far from the lake, in a strategic position to discover other Umbrian gems, such as Umb​ertide, another medieval village that is definitely worth a stop, is the Tenuta di ​Montecorona. By staying here, you will have the opportunity to continue discovering places of great historical interest and enrich your trip by staying in the fascin​ating Abbey, at the foot of the ancient Hermitage of Montecorona, and to savor the Umbrian spirit through its incredible flavors and typical products.


Have you already planned your weekend or vacation on Lake Trasimeno?​​​

 

 

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