In the green heart of Umbria lies Lake Trasimeno, a real natural paradise where you can find wild ducks, cormorants, kites, and kingfish 🐟. All around, gentle hills with woods alternating with fields of sunflowers 🌻 and corn 🌽, vineyards, and expanses of olive trees.
There are several municipalities of Trasimeno: some overlook the lake directly, and others are not far away but are affected by the charm and attractiveness of this stretch of water.
Castiglione del Lago
Castiglione del Lago stands on a limestone promontory, under which there are the remains of numerous Etruscan tombs; here you can admire the castle and the medieval walls of the Ducal Palace, connected by a local walkway to the Rocca del Leone, one of the most important examples of Umbrian military architecture.
The Palazzo della Corgna or Ducale is the only small “palace” existing in Umbria, with beautiful frescoed rooms by Pomarancio and Salvio Savini, including the Sala Maggiore and the Sala del Trono; while Rocca del Leone, characteristic for its triangular tower, is connected to the Ducal Palace by an impressive walkway with slits on the Trasimeno; the village is still surrounded by walls with three doors (Perugia, Florence, Siena).
Castiglione del Lago is part of “The most beautiful villages in Italy” and is named “The City of Oil“.
Città della Pieve
In Città della Pieve, a quiet and characteristic medieval village, also inhabited by the Etruscans and Romans, there is the narrowest alley in Italy. Birthplace of the painter Pietro Vannucci, known as Perugino, this municipality hosts several works by the artist, from the Madonna and Child, preserved in the cathedral of Saints Gervasio and Protasio, to the wonderful fresco The Adoration of the Magi, at Palazzo della Corgna, a magnificent residence stately.
The Torre del Pubblico 🗼 is definitely worth seeing, indicated by the name of “Turris S. Gervasci“, as it was built near the church of San Gervasio. Looking at the tower, at least two distinct construction phases from different eras appear evident. The lower part in travertine dates back to many centuries prior to 1000, while between the second half of the fourteenth century and the first of the fifteenth, it is not known whether for military reasons or simply because it was ruined, it was raised by 7 m and the style was changed, using brick.
Also in the small Panicale (of which we have already spoken in the post “Umbria“), not far from Città della Pieve, you can admire two frescoes by Perugino, the Martyrdom of San Sebastiano and the Madonna in Gloria, kept in the fifteenth-century Church of S. Sebastian ⛪. Panicale, also perched on a hill that offers a breathtaking view. At the urban level, the characteristic of Panicale is that it was built according to a plan with concentric centers, a brilliant solution developed in medieval times to protect the city. There is an abundance of historical architecture: you can choose whether to visit the Palazzo del Podestà in Lombard Gothic style, the Collegiate Church of San Michele, or the Montalera Castle a few km from the village.
Passignano sul Trasimeno
Passignano sul Trasimeno, in addition to being another characteristic village that boasts a massive medieval fortress, is to be remembered for a very suggestive summer event, the Palio delle Barche 🚤 and the subsequent Incendio del Castello, where a myriad of fireworks fired in air will create the illusion of a fire in the castle 🎆.
A visit to the Rocca is a must. You will experience a real journey into the past, also immersing yourself in the local reality thanks to the small Boat Museum located inside. Also, enjoy the breathtaking view from the top of the Tower’s over 30 meters! 🗼 You will be able to admire the spectacle of the lake and its islands.
Palio delle Barche, the awaited historical re-enactment inspired by the battle between the Baglioni and Oddi families of Perugia. Passignano sul Trasimeo was in fact at the center of the conflict, when the Baglioni and Della Corgna militias forced some soldiers of the Oddi family to leave the castle, fleeing towards the lake with boats on their shoulders.
Eight days of games, shows, food, and wine 🎮🍷 culminate with the competition between the four city districts that compete with their boats in the water and on land, reliving that historic battle.
Tuoro sul Trasimeno
Tuoro sul Trasimeno, an ancient Etruscan city, known because the decisive phases of the battle between Hannibal and Caio Flaminio took place on its territory, and the Renaissance Palazzo Capra stands right on the tomb of the Roman commander.
The town of Tuoro sul Trasimeno is divided into four districts where every year engage in the so-called Ferragosto Torreggiano, a period during which numerous events are held that begin with a theatrical dispute between the districts called “Launch of the challenge“, and continue with the “Historical Parade“, the “Fourth game “(involving women and children) and which end with the” Shot of the Chariot“, the decisive battle for the dispute. The Palio, and consequently the related initiatives, such as the suggestive Historical Dinner, is inspired by the battle between the Romans and the Carthaginians which took place in 217 BC. right on the banks of the Trasimeno.
Here there is a beach, the lido di Tuoro ⛱, with the boarding pier for ferries to Isola Maggiore and Isola Polvese. Near the beach there is the “Campo del Sole“, an outdoor museum consisting of 27 sculptures in pietra serena, works of contemporary artists.
Isola Maggiore is one of the three islands of Lake Trasimeno 🏝, the richest in art and culture. It measures a perimeter of about 2 km and despite the name, which can be misleading, it is not the largest of the Trasimeno.
Isola Maggiore is the only one actually inhabited (today it has only 17 inhabitants 😱). To reach it, ferries depart from Tuoro, Passignano sul Trasimeno and Castiglione del Lago ⛴.
This jewel of art and history offers us numerous testimonies of its past: from the various churches ⛪ to the Castle 🏰, from the Roman remains to the testimony of the works of a time characteristic of these places, up to the passage of San Francesco di Assisi and the link with history.
Isola Maggiore is crossed by a series of paths that run entirely through it, between Mediterranean vegetation and places of art. With a walk on the island, surrounded by nature, you can explore its beauties and enjoy magnificent views of the lake.
The various themed itineraries that cross it touch all the most fascinating and significant points of the island:
- the ancient fishing village and Via Guglielmi
- the Lace Museum
- the Guglielmini Castle
- the various churches of the island
- the church and the rock of San Francesco
The largest island 🏝 of the lake is however that of Polvese, uninhabited and destined to be a public park 🌴. Polvese, reachable by ferry, where you can dedicate yourself to many different activities: you can in fact visit the Church of San Giuliano with its 15th-century frescoes, and the remains of the beautiful Monastery of San Secondo, made even more suggestive by the cypresses that surround it. On the small beach of the island, you can relax before continuing towards the imposing medieval castle, to admire the wonderful panorama from above.
Not far away is Magione, a village dominated by the majestic Castle of the Knights of Malta 🏯 and renowned for the production of wrought copper. Here you can find, beyond the Castle of the Knights of Malta, the Church of San Giovanni Battista, also built by the Knights of Malta in 1571, the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie, and the Lambardi Tower.
Magione is part of the “Comunità Montana Monti del Trasimeno”.
But the Trasimeno area is also a trekking paradise. There are many paths that can be taken on foot through lush woods and historic villages, more or less complex: there are so many things to see and ideas for organizing an excursion, that even a half-hour walk from the Sanctuary of Madonna di Mongiovino at the Castle of Mongiovino with attached visits will make your day perfect.
At Christmas Time
For Christmas, we absolutely recommend that you participate in the “Luci sul Trasimeno” event.
We are in Castiglione del Lago on the promontory located on the western shore of Lake Trasimeno. This is where the Castiglione del Lago Events association has created something incredible: a Christmas tree on the water 🎄😲entered the Guinness World Records as the largest Christmas tree on the water in the world 🏆.
The tree is one kilometer long, about 70 bearing poles planted in the bottom of the lake, 2,590 perimeters LED bulbs, 50 internal lamps, and 5 kilometers of cable.