Ready to discover Lake Trasimeno? + Things to do while you’re there

Aug 11, 2019

What if I were to tell you that between Tuscany and Umbria lies a romantic lake not yet invaded by tourists?

And, what if I were to tell you that such a lake is surrounded by postcard villages?

Oh, and what if I were to tell you it’s a good base to reach cities like Florence or Assisi?

Ok, ok, now I’ll tell you more about this lake.

First things first, the lake I’m talking about is Lake Trasimeno.

If you like slow-travel destinations where you could enjoy the nature and small villages with no rush, where you could be in touch with locals and where you could eat great food (at incredibly cheap prices!)… then, you should consider Lake Trasimeno as a part of your itinerary in Italy.

Maybe you are now wondering how to include Lake Trasimeno in your itinerary… no stress, here you’ll find a complete 3 day-itinerary for Lake Trasimeno with things to do while you’re there.

3-DAY ITINERARY

LAKE TRASIMENO THINGS TO DO:

DAY 1 – Panicale, Mugnano, Castiglione del Lago

DAY 2 – Polvese Island, La Valle Natural Reserve

DAY 3 – Spello

 

Panicale

Lake Trasimeno things to do – day 1

Lake-Trasimeno-things-to-do-Panicale

How cool is it when, during your travels, you feel completely at ease with locals as if you are at home? It’s cool, right?

Ok, but let’s be honest, how long does it normally take to get that feeling? Days and days (except for my mother who, after only a few hours in a new place, looks like she has been living there since forever smile).

Instead, in Panicale I felt immediately like I was part of the community: the staff of the small tourist office, the guys at the winery in the picturesque main square and all the other people I met were really genuine and always ready to give tips.

And though it’s a small village, there are many things you can see in Panicale:

– A wonderful fresco by Perugino and a paint by Raffaello (both are inside San Sebastiano church)

Lake-Trasimeno-things-to-do-Panicale

–  The little – yet nice – Caporali theater which dates back to 1786

–  A museum filled with handmade lace created by local women (in Panicale lace and embroidery have a long tradition)

–  The picturesque squares: Piazza Umberto I, Piazza San Michele and Piazza Masolino where the Podestà Palace is located

Lake-Trasimeno-things-to-do-Panicale

And, last but not least, Panicale is on top of a hill, so you shouldn’t miss the view over the lake.

Well, I think it’s clear that I fell in love with Panicale, no?

TIP: better to get in contact with the local tourist office (panicale@sistemamuseo.it) to check the opening hours of San Sebastiano church, Caporali theater and the Museum of Embroidery; they may vary during the year.

 

Mugnano

Lake Trasimeno things to do – day 1

Mugnano is a really small village you probably will not find in travel guides.

Why is it worth stopping in Mugnano?

Well, first of all, on the walls of the ancient houses there are paintings by artists from all over the world. More than 40 paintings! It’s an outdoor museum.

Lake-Trasimeno-things-to-do-Mugnano

Lake-Trasimeno-things-to-do-Mugnano

Besides that, Mugnano is just 10 minutes away from trattoria Faliero (da Maria), the best place on the lake where I ate torta al testo.

Torta al testo is a traditional flatbread cooked on a round griddle placed over the fire. It is stuffed with typical Umbrian delicacies like sausage, pecorino and vegetables. It’s delicious and you can fill it with everything you want.

 

Castiglione del Lago

Lake Trasimeno things to do – day 1

Castiglione del Lago is a medieval town overlooking Lake Trasimeno. My first stop was La Rocca del Leone fortress. After walking through its narrow passageways (really cool!), I reached the main tower and I walked on the ramparts of this huge fort. The best view of Lake Trasimeno.

Lake-Trasimeno-things-to-do-Castiglione

Two other tips for Castiglione:

First one, relax on one of its small beaches. One of them is next to Pescatore Cafè, where I couldn’t resist the chance of a second breakfast in front of such a nice view. Second tip: take some time to discover this medieval village and don’t forget to look up to spot the Hominis.

I can almost hear you thinking: what the hell is this Hominis?

I discovered Hominis by chance. While I was walking around Castiglione happy like a kid in a candy store (that’s how I feel when I travel), I spotted human sculptures that seemed alive staring at me!!!

Luckily, shortly afterwards, I noticed an art shop selling exactly the same sculptures (so, I wasn’t going crazy smile)

I said luckily also because inside the art shop I met Paolo, a great person and a great artist who explained to me his tricks for making the Hominis sculptures.

Lake-Trasimeno-things-to-do-Castiglione

 

Polvese Island

Lake Trasimeno things to do – day 2

Polvese Island is one of the islands on Lake Trasimeno.

When I reached it in the early morning, I had the whole island to myself. Amazing.

From the fisherman village of San Feliciano, by ferry it takes only 10 minutes to get there.

I suggest you go there in the morning to hike along the trails; the best way to enjoy the nature and the different colors around.

I also recommend a walk along the historical trail to reach San Secondo Abbey ruins and the medieval castle surrounded by olive groves.

TIP: before taking the ferry, stop at a panetteria (bakery) to get everything you need for a picnic on the island.

 

La Valle Natural Reserve

Lake Trasimeno things to do – day 2

At Lake Trasimeno, every day there is a “show” you cannot miss… the sunset! The sky turns red, the colors of the sky reflect on the lake and the sun slowly disappears behind Polvese Island. It’s like a different painting every day.

Sunset

The villages on the east shore of the lake (like San Feliciano or Monte del Lago) are perfect to enjoy the sunset, but for me the best spot was La Valle Natural Reserve.

The wooden jetty, the shore fringed with reedbeds and the glittering waters. A must see, especially at sunset.

Besides, at La Valle Natural Reserve you can go birdwatching, while being immersed in nature.

Lake-Trasimeno-things-to-do-La-Valle-Natural-Reserve

 

Spello

Lake Trasimeno things to do – day 3

Spello is a hilltop town where you can have a complete and genuine Italian experience.

You’ll be surprised by how many things you can do in Spello: from a visit to one of Italy’s greatest Renaissance masterpieces to a tour in the mill to see how olive oil is produced. From a relaxing walk in the ancient town to the bustle during one of Spello’s traditional festivals.

Spello is definitely one of my favorite small towns in Italy. I still dream about its picturesque alleyways and its balconies full of flowers.

Do you still have a couple of minutes? Then, read my post to discover Spello… I’m sure you’ll add it to your bucket list!

Small-towns-in-Italy-Spello

And you? Have you ever been to Lake Trasimeno? If you liked the post, leave me your comment!

 

4 Comments

  1. Richard Chillemi

    Plans are for early Setember

    Reply
    • Francesca

      Really good! The period you chose is perfect

  2. Diane Chillemi

    Incredible article! More in depth than Frances Mayes, whom I love! We anticipate with delight your suggestions.

    Reply
    • Francesca

      Hi Diane,
      I also love Frances Mayes. And, I’m glad you enjoyed my post and the in-depth tips I gave!

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