Lake Trasimeno

Our Guide to Lake Trasimeno:

 

  • The Lake
  • Local history
  • Local Events
  • Things to Do

 

  • The Islands
  • Nearby Towns and sites
  • Food and Wine
  • Local Restaurants

The Lake

Lake Trasimeno is Italy’s fourth largest lake with a circumference of over 45 kms. The lake is stream-fed, in a basin surrounded by vineyards, olive groves and ancient castles. It provides the delights of fresh water fish and fishing, as well as all the water sports one has the energy for. Happily, Its waters are safe for swimming. It also has a 50 km bike path around the lake and a Nature Park that covers the entire lake. It’s easy to see that this is a spot that draws nature-lovers.

The level of the lake rises and falls according to the rainfall, with most of the water coming from a network of streams on the western side of the lake. The temperatures allow lake swimming from May to September. Though winter cold snaps occasionally damage nearby olive trees, the lake itself rarely freezes.

Castelonchio near Lake Trasimeno
An aerial view looking over Castelonchio towards the lake

Historical Notes

Hannibal's Elephants
Hannibal’s elephants gave battle by the shores of Lake Trasimeno

Though known to the Etruscans as ‘Trasimina’ , the lake was once called the Lake of Perugia as in prehistoric times it extended as far as Perugia. 

Unsurprisingly, many regions over the years battled for rights to such a body of water.  History was made in the ‘Battle of Lake Trasimene during Second Punic War (217 B.C.) on the northern slope of the ridge between Cortona and Tuoro.

Hannibal, elephants and a vast number of Carthaginian soldiers defeated the Romans in largest ambush in military history.  Towns called Ossaia and Sanguineto hint at the bones and blood on which these settlements grew.  From Tuoro a “Hannibal-was-here” route, and museum commemorates his 217 B.C. defeat of the Romans.

The 14th C. Franciscan monastery on Isola Maggiore attests to the lake’s role as a spiritual retreat,  but over the years many regions battled fiercely for the rights to this body of water. 

Events around Lake Trasimeno

Sagra del Giacchio at San Feliciano – 27 July to the 5th of August.

Festival with music, boating competitions, and enjoyment of lake fish-based dishes – The ‘giacchio’ refers to the cone-shaped fishing net thrown by local fishermen

Festa della Padella in Passignano sul Trasimeno – 22-26 August.

Candle-lit suppers on the lake shore highlight fish dishes, some prepared in the world’s largest frying pan, padella, 4.5 m. in diameter.

Sagra del Pesce del Trasimeno in Tuoro – 22-24 June.

A small town’s celebration of fish.

 

Trasimena Aruspicina – 30 June -1 July.

Held in the fortress of Castiglione del Lago, this festival celebrates the ancient foods of Etruscan culture + crafts and music.

Trasimeno Blues Festival – 27 July–4 August.

Held in various lakeside towns.

Trasimeno Music Festival – end of June.

In Castle of the Knights of Malta in Magione

Strasimeno – 17 March 2019.

Beginning in Castiglione del Lago, this is an Ultramarathon covering 58 km in the Park of Trasimeno.

Things to Do around Trasimeno

Marco Bonomi photo
Image by Marco Bonomi from the Oasi La Valle website.

Bird watching at Oasis La Valle – With an electric boat allowing passage through reeds and grasses to study migratory birds.

Acquatic Plants Garden on Polvese Island – 5 m. deep pool in late spring filled with blossoming water lillies and lotus flowers

Lace Museum on Maggiore Island, featuring the island lace or Irish lace done by the island’s women for more than a century.

Franciscan hermitage Le Celle outside the walls of Cortona – monastery built by S. Francis of Assisi in 1211

Windsurf, kitesurf, sail and wakeboard on the lake

Museum of Lake Trasimeno Fishing in San Feliciano