Lake Trasimeno

A lake in northern Umbria of tectonic origin, bordering Tuscany and the provinces of Arezzo and Siena, Trasimeno is the largest lake in central Italy and one of the largest in the peninsula, covering 128 square kilometres.

The lake basin is linked to the myth of the nymph Agilla, who fell madly in love with Prince Trasimeno, son of the Etruscan king Tirreno. After luring him to the centre of the lake with her singing, love blossomed between the two, who were soon married, but their happiness was short-lived because Trasimeno decided to take a bath and drowned. Since then, the nymph has continued to look for him day after day among the boats that cross the large body of water, and on summer evenings, if you stop to listen to the sounds of nature, you can still hear her wailing.

The area was inhabited since prehistoric times and later by the Etruscans, and in 217 B.C. was the scene of the famous Battle of Trasimeno between the Carthaginians led by Hannibal and the Roman legions of consul Gaius Flaminius, who came off worst.

Cortona, Chiusi and Perugia controlled its shores for centuries, until the Umbrian city prevailed.

Trasimeno is framed by gentle hills, with the exception of the western part that opens up towards the Val di Chiana. There are three islands in the lake, Polvese, Maggiore and Minore.

The first is the largest and hosts a scientific and educational park dedicated to the environment. The second is the only one permanently inhabited. The third is covered by pine and holm-oak woods, which shelter a colony of cormorants.

The Trasimeno area, where a regional park has been established since 1995, includes delightful localities rich in history. Castiglione del Lago, on the western side, is the most populous municipality. Until the XIII century, under the name Castiglione Chiusino, it was under the control of Chiusi. Its castle was destroyed in 1247 by Ghibellines from Arezzo and Cortona, who built another castle on its remains. It later came under the control of the Perugini. Castiglione del Lago is included in the club of the “Borghi più belli d’Italia” (Italy’s most beautiful villages). The imposing Palazzo della Corgna and the Rocca del Leone with its triangular tower are worth visiting. In the hamlet of Panicarola, a Roman bridge over the Anguillara canal could be admired until the middle of the last century.

Tuoro sul Trasimeno, on the northern side, is one of the main piers for reaching the islands. The Battle of Trasimeno between the Romans and Carthaginians took place here. Next to its beach is Campo del Sole, a spectacular park of contemporary sculptures by various authors. The hamlet of Borghetto, which crosses the border into Tuscany, boasts a robust medieval tower.

On the eastern side, Passignano sul Trasimeno still has the appearance of a fortified village, included in the club of the “Borghi più belli d’Italia”. It is topped by the Rocca, which houses the Museo delle Barche (Museum of Boats). The lakefront is very popular in the summer months and guarantees unforgettable views of the lake basin.

On the south-eastern shores are the picturesque localities within the municipal territory of Magione. Worth visiting are San Feliciano, with its Museo della Pesca (Fishing Museum) dedicated to one of Lake Trasimeno’s main resources, Torricella, which takes its name from a small fortification, Monte del Lago, which sits on a small promontory, San Savino, which is known for its marsh cane processing, and Sant’Arcangelo, a small village between Monte Marzolana and the southern shore of the lake.

To the south, the municipalities of Panicale, Paciano and Piegaro, with their characteristic medieval layout, are part of the district, although they do not directly overlook the lake.

Lake Trasimeno has fully equipped beaches. Its calm waters allow water sports such as canoeing and sailing. Along the banks and in the surrounding area there are many paths suitable for cyclists and joggers as well as trekking enthusiasts.

Passignano sul Trasimeno in the foreground and the Isola Maggiore in the background

Passignano sul Trasimeno

Passignano sul Trasimeno

Passignano sul Trasimeno

Passignano sul Trasimeno

Passignano sul Trasimeno

Passignano sul Trasimeno

Boat Museum, Passignano sul Trasimeno

Boat Museum, Passignano sul Trasimeno

View from the castle, Castiglion del Lago

View from the castle, Castiglion del Lago

Castiglion del Lago

Castiglion del Lago

Castiglion del Lago

A boat connects Castiglion del Lago to the islands

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