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Lake Trasimeno - for its languid pace of life

  • Lake Trasimeno - for its languid pace of life

    One side of Cortona’s public gardens opens to a belvedere with sweeping views south, enveloping the Lago di Trasimeno, Italy’s fourth-largest lake, which lies in neighbouring Umbria. The lake remains off the well-beaten tourist trail so come for the restful scenery and languid pace of life. Its shallow waters are surprisingly clean and popular with swimmers, boaters and windsurfers. There was a day, though, in 217 BC when the lake waters ran red with the blood of the Roman legions, more than 16,000 of whom were slaughtered by Hannibal’s troops. Even in these small fishing villages, the lake's fortifications attest to its strategic location and turbulent past.

    Today the scene is considerably more peaceful, especially on the southern shore, with Castiglione del Lago the place to toast farewell to underrated Arezzo province over a lakeside fish feast. Visit this foodie hotspot for a feast of tench, perch, whitebait and eels, or drink in the Colli di Trasimeno wines. Castiglione del Lago, the lake’s engagingly touristy capital, is a castellated medieval town strung out along a charming promontory. Although founded by the Etruscans, this fortified village feels resolutely medieval, with splendid views from the ramparts of the 14th-century castle.

    The lake also offers pleasant drives, walks and cycle rides with views of sunflower fields, shimmering vineyards, silvery olive groves, oak woods and billowing cypresses. The cycle route around the lake is a classic ride, with the chance to explore Castiglione del Lago, Passignano and Sant’Arcangelo. This foodie-minded lake also provides ample opportunities for wine and olive oil tasting en route. The Passignano stretch offers views of meadows and woodland from the crest of a hill. The shortest, most appealing stretch of the cycle route hugs the shore between Castiglione and Tuoro.

    Web: www.umbriatourism.it

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