Lake Trasimeno – rich culture and beautiful nature

Lake Trasimeno, the largest body of water in central Italy, also known as Lake Perugia, represents for its inhabitants a territory rich in history, culture, art and nature. There are numerous villages overlooking it, from which it is possible to enjoy incredible landscapes dotted with olive groves, vineyards, woods, castles, fortresses. 

Three islands in the lake

In the lake there are three islands called the Maggiore, the Minore, close to each other, and the Polvese, which is the largest of the three. There are also many stories and legends related to the lake, the most famous of which is that of Agilla and Trasimeno. The story tells of how the water nymph Agilla fell in love with the Etruscan prince Trasimeno, who drowned in the waves to reach her. Since then it has been said that the sound of the wind rustling in the reeds of the lake is the voice of sweet Agilla who is still looking for her lover. 

Instead, the story of Hannibal and the battle that took place on the shores of the north-western area of the lake between the Romans and the Carthaginians in 217 BC is not a legend. The Carthaginian general Hannibal, taking advantage of the natural conformation of the hills around the lake and its fog, heavily defeated the Roman legions. In the battle, the commander of the Romans, the consul Gaius Flaminius, also died, marking a heavy defeat for Rome. 

Medieval constructions
In the Middle Ages, roads, fortified systems, castles and watchtowers developed around the lake, which formed a sort of protective belt. The Rocca di Passignano sul Trasimeno, the Castello del Leone in Castiglione del Lago, the castles of Montecolognola and Zocco in San Feliciano represent only a small part of the traces that the Middle Ages have left in this area. A curiosity not to be missed is a visit to the leaning tower of the ghost town of Vernazzano, a tower held today by tie rods in the middle of a wood that was part of a larger castle, now in ruins.

Many churches and sanctuaries
The importance of the lake continued to grow during the Renaissance, when the Della Corgna family, related to Pope Julius III, had villas and residences built to bring prestige to their lineage.
The link with the Christian religion is evident in the area; churches and sanctuaries, whose origins are frequently linked to miraculous events, conspicuously overlook the banks and hills of the freshwater basin. By way of example, we can mention the Sanctuary of the Madonna dei Miracoli in Castel Rigone, from 1494, built to protect against the plague and the Sanctuary of the Madonna di Mongiovino di Panicale, from 1510, built following a prodigious event. In addition to the great sanctuaries, the small churches and aedicules that are found along the circumnavigation of the lake are also notable for admiration, sometimes even hidden among the thick vegetation. Not only works of the past embellish the lake landscape. In fact, for fans of contemporary art, the Parco del Sole at Punta Navaccia in Tuoro sul Trasimeno is an obligatory stop, where you can marvel at an architectural ensemble formed by columns, the work of important national and international artists.

Route with 23 wineries
This panorama of history, art and nature is naturally enriched by the food and wine delicacies that this land offers. Real gustatory and olfactory experiences can be tried on the Colli del Trasimeno Wine Road, an ideal route that unites 23 local wineries. Another local excellence is the Trasimeno bean, an ancient legume known since ancient times, used for the preparation of soups and bruschetta. The extra virgin olive oil from the Trasimeno hills is also of high quality and a visit to the mills that produce it can be both a fun and educational activity to do in the autumn months.

Fish on the menu
Trasimeno is obviously linked to the consumption of fish which is not lacking in the lake’s restaurants. The Carpa Regina cooked in porchetta, the eel used in a special soup called Tegamaccio, the small silversides fried and eaten from head to tail, are just some of the specialties that the lake offers. Surely the most evocative and romantic experience that can be had at Lake Trasimeno is enjoying the view of a sunset from the eastern shore, in particular from the small village of Monte del Lago, a real natural terrace on the lake.

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