During your holiday in Umbria, we suggest you go and visit the Lake Trasimeno, its beautiful islands and towns: Castiglione del Lago, Passignano and Tuoro sul Trasimeno. Don’t miss a programme full of food and cultural events.
The Lake Trasimeno, whose name, according to the legend, derived from Trasimeno, son of God Turreno, who met Nymph Agilla during a stay in this area and fell in love with her at first sight. But since it was not possible for the son of a God to get married with a nymph, unhappiness led him to death. The Lake Trasimeno has always been a point of contention for its strategic position and importance, for its beauty and the abundance of its water and land: Umbria, the “Green Heart of Italy”. The Lake Trasimeno originated approximately 600.000 years ago because the ground caved in.
The Ancient Romans were the first community who carried out interventions in this area.
The lake is sheltered on three sides by gentle hills and its surface can be often confused with the covered shores of thick rushes. The Lake has three islands: Maggiore, Minore and Polvese. Except from the “Minore” that is inaccessible because it is privately owned, the other two are very well connected with the surrounding villages by daily ferry boats. Polvese is the major island of the lake and it’s considered a natural reserve. It has many interesting historical landmarks that include: Church of San Secondo, a castle dating to the 14th century and recently restored, the Porcinai Pool, the church of San Giuliano, and an aquatic plants garden. Maggiore is the only island that is still populated with its village that still retains its 15th century fishing village architecture.
CASTIGLIONE DEL LAGO
Castiglione del Lago is the most picturesque town of the lake, its name derived from its Medieval fortress built about during the XIII century and called “Castello del Leone” thanks to its pentagonal shape that reminds the constellation of the lion. A village of Etruscan origin, situated at 305 mt on the sea-level, it rises on a calcareous promontory and it used to be the fourth Island of the lake. There are many monuments to visit here, the most important is probably Palazzo della Corgna, which was widened between XVI and XVII century by Galeazzo Alessi. Inside the Palace, it is possible to admire one of the most important paintings of the Umbrian and Tuscan mannerism. Today, thanks to an attentive restoration, it is possible to observe most parts of the paintings by Niccolò Circignani, known as Pomerancio.
A long and narrow corridor built at the beginning of XVII century, connects the fortress to Palazzo della Corgna along the external walls. The Medieval fortress, “The Castle of the Lion” was built in compliance with the wishes of Federico II, starting in 1247. The castle is considered one of the finest examples of military Medieval architecture in Umbria. From its towers, you can enjoy a breathtaking and wonderful view of the lake and of the area. Its position was strategically important during the many conflicts over the territorial supremacy between the “Signorie” of Umbria and Tuscany.
It is also worth visiting: Palazzo Ducale della Corgna, Castello, chiesa della Maddalena.
Special events of the year: the “Spring Meeting of light craft and hot air-ballons”, “Coloriamo i Cieli” (international kite meeting on 1 May) and “Festa del Tulipano” (in April).
PASSIGNANO SUL TRASIMENO
Passignano sul Trasimeno is a wonderful fortified village on the shores of the Lake Trasimeno, one of the finest villages of the area, where you can breathe fresh air in peace and tranquillity. Over the centuries, Passignano has undergone a remarkable transformation from military outpost to strategic trade place between Umbria and Tuscany.
Don’t miss a romantic and regenerative lake promenade with a fascinating glimpse on the lake and its islands. You can drink something in the local bars and stands and visit the historic centre with its medieval fortress, where you can find the Boat Museum. We suggest you also visit the St. Christopher Catholic Church of the 9th century AD, Madonna dell’Oliveto Church of the 16th century and Maria Santissima dei Miracoli shrine.
Among the events organised in Passignano sul Trasimeno, you shouldn’t miss the renowned Palio delle Barche in July: 4 teams take part in an exciting competition with boats through the streets of the town, recalling the bloody battle of 1495 between the noble families of Perugia of the Baglioni and Oddi. During summertime, Passignano becomes a popular tourist destination with well-equipped beaches and water sports centres.
TUORO SUL TRASIMENO
Tuoro sul Trasimeno has become popular because it rises exactly where the famous battle of the Trasimeno took place in 217 BC, one of the most sanguinary battles of the Second Punic War between the Roman army and the Carthaginian army led by Hannibal. The foundation of the village dates back to the 14th century. In the outskirts, it is interesting to visit Ranieri Castle, which belonged to the family Montemelino and Pieve di Confine and was built at the beginning of the twelfth century.
Near the beach of Tuoro, you can find Campo del Sole, a kind of open air museum with stone sculptures carved by 27 contemporary artists.
From Tuoro, you can take the ferry to Isola Maggiore, which combines a beautiful natural landscape and an interesting historic and artistic heritage of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Along the paths that twist and turn through olive and cypress trees, you can admire beautiful views of the Lake and the hills that surround it.
The four local districts (called “Rioni”) recreate each year the so-called “Ferragosto Torreggiano“, during which many theatrical events are held: the launch of the challenge, the historical parade, the “fourth game” and the chariots race, evoking the famous battle between the Romans and Carthaginians.