Lake Trasimeno

Lake Trasimeno, Italy's fourth-largest lake, is also called Lake of Perugia since it is situated just in the heart of this charming Umbrian province. The naturalistic beauties and cultural liveliness which characterize the small villages overlooking Lake Trasimeno and its three islands, as well as the remarkably wide array of accommodation facilities, tourist services and sports facilities they gather, make Lake Trasimeno an appreciated holiday destination for large numbers of visitors from all over Italy and abroad.

Those coming from the nearby Perugia will easily reach Magione, whose name draws inspiration from the Castle of the Knights Hospitaller, a 15th-century fortified building which gazes across the town from on high. Not to be missed are the 13th-century Church of Madonna delle Grazie and the sweeping views offered by the lake front, which houses an outstanding naturalistic oasis gathering rare species of animals and plants. Those travelling by car will have the opportunity to explore Magione's environs, such as Corciano and Fontignano, charming villages which cherish precious artworks by Perugino.

Further north, along Statale 75 bis, is Passignano sul Trasimeno. Tourists will have the possibility to visit the ancient village , which is still surrounded by medieval walls, and to walk along the charming lake promenade, which is flanked by plenty of bathing establishments, lush gardens embellished by precious statues, sumptuous villas and ancient palaces. Passignano also offers pleasant boat trips to Isola Minore and Maggiore. The former is a naturalistic paradise populated by different species of cormorants, while the latter is the only inhabited island in Lake Trasimeno and boasts a charming old town scattered with medieval and Renaissance churches and a lush Mediterranean scrub.  Not to be missed is the Museum of the Lace.

A short distance from Passignano is Tuoro sul Trasimeno, where the fierce Battle of Lake Trasimeno took place in 217 BC, when the Carthaginian general Hannibal lured the Romans into a masterful ambush. Not to be missed are Palazzo della Capra and Campo del Sole, the latter being a lush garden situated in Punta Navaccia which celebrates contemporary sculpture. This fascinating open-air museum commissioned by Piero Cascella gathers 27 precious works of art which were realized in the 80s by important exponents of contemporary art.

Driving along the western shore of the lake through Statale 71, tourists will reach Castiglione del Lago, an important tourist resort jutting out on a fortified promontory which has an easy-going atmosphere and small sandy beaches. Situated just across the border with the Tuscan cities of Siena and Arezzo, Castiglione was the centre of fierce fighting between Umbria and Tuscany, as evidenced by its impressive medieval walls and imposing fortress. The municipal territory of Castiglione del Lago also includes Isola Polvese, which can be reached on board special tourist boats. The largest island of Lake Trasimeno, it cherishes protected natural oases and precious historic-artistic beauties. The island's major monuments are the 12th-century Fortress, the 14th-century Castle, the churches of St. Secondo and St. Giuliano and the 15th-century Abbey of the Olivetani. Not to be missed is the so-called Piscina Porcinai, a lush garden populated by water-plants which was realized by architect Pietro Porcinai over the remains of an ancient quarry of sandstone.

The southern stretch of Lake Trasimeno is punctuated with small charming villages, such as Città della Pieve, which still retains its original town layout and is scattered with fascinating terracotta-tiled red houses. The Duomo, which is dedicated to St. Gervasio and St. Protasio, cherishes important works of art by Perugino, Pomarancio and Domenico Alfani. Further masterpieces by Perugino, Città della Pieve's most illustrious citizen, are the beautiful frescos of the Oratory of St. Bartolomeo and the Church of St. Maria dei Servi, the last building where the artist worked before his death.

A short distance from it is Paciano, situated in a privileged panoramic position on the top of Mount Petrarvella. Founded in the 14th century, the ancient village still retains its original walls and buildings. Behind Paciano is Piegaro, a tiny town which is fully surrounded by thick woods of turkey oaks crossed by charming footpaths and cycle paths leading to Mount Petrarvella and Mount Pausillo.

The fascinating centre of Panicale overlooks Lake Trasimeno and the valley of the river Nestore. This charming resort is scattered with precious buildings, such as the church of St. Agostino and the Collegiate Church of St. Michele Arcangelo, the latter gazing across the countryside from on high. Not to be missed is the interior of the church of St. Sebastiano, which is embellished by outstanding works of art, such as precious paintings and frescos by  Perugino. Next to the Church of St. Agostino is the curious Museum of the Tulle. A short distance from Panicale, along the banks of Lake Trasimeno, is the elegant resort of Painicarola, which is provided with an equipped harbour, a golf course and a well-groomed bathing establishment.

Along the eastern stretch of Lake Trasimeno, just in front of Isola Polvese, is the tiny village of San Feliciano, the current seat of the Museum of Fishing. Apart from visiting enchanting resorts and fascinating ancient villages by both car, bike or boat and from buying traditional  laces, wrought iron items and homemade ceramics, tourists flocking to Lake Trasimeno will have the opportunity to discover the food and wine itinerary of the Route of Wine, which gives them the opportunity to taste Colli del Trasimeno DOC wines while eating traditional specialities accompanied by the fragrant  Colli del Trasimeno DOP oil.