Lake Trasimeno in Umbria, Italy’s fourth largest lake, is off the mass tourism radar and, let’s hope, it stays that way. It is an ideal destination for slow travel: the area offers relaxed atmosphere, nature walks, delicious traditional food, good wine and plenty of sightseeing. Here are the main reasons why I like Trasimeno.
Great hiking around the lake
There are many hiking trails around lake Trasimeno that go through fragrant Mediterranean shrubs, olive groves, green pastures and small villages. Last time I was there we walked towards the town of Passignano sul Trasimeno slowly descending from the hills towards the lake. There was plenty of wild fennel to snack on, the turquoise lake was glittering in the sun, bees were buzzing, – what else would you want for a perfect hike? Birdwatching at the Natural Reserve La Valle
Many wetland species that come to breed at the Trasimeno lakeshore. Last time I was at the La Valle reserve we saw common coot, various ducks, cormorants, the little egret and purple heron. A crested grebe was carrying its babies on the back at a safe distance from us. It was peaceful and beautiful; I could easily spend a day on the wooden bridge there gazing at the birds through the binoculars.
Excellent olive oil and seriously good red wine are produced in the Trasimeno area. I also discovered a tasty type of local bean that only grows near the lake: fagiolina del Trasimeno. Ancient Etruscans started cultivating it and today it is protected by the Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity. Local farmers harvest only 700-800 kg of fagiolina del Trasimeno every year. At the Orsini farm we tasted wonderful dishes cooked with the precious bean and other local specialties. Flavio Orsini proudly told us fascinating stories about how the local growers are doing everything to preserve many rare varieties of corn, grains and grapes that have been cultivated in the area for many centuries.Fishing trips with the locals
The waters of Trasimeno remain relatively clean and local fishermen still manage to make some money selling fresh catch to the restaurants and taking tourists on boat trips. We were not very lucky with the weather during our trip: the moment we cast the fishing net in the middle of the lake the sky opened up and it started pouring rain, so we had to rush to the Polvese island for cover. So, I will certainly have to go back to do proper fishing at Trasimeno.Gorgeous hilltop towns
The hills around lake Trasimeno are steeped in history. Paciano, Castiglione del Lago, Città della Pieve, Panicale have seen the glory of the Etruscan times, Roman conquests and bloody medieval feuds. Today, these pretty Umbrian hilltop towns are quiet little gems waiting to be discovered by conscious travellers who are prepared to go off the beaten path.
I visited lake Trasimeno during the Slow Living Vacations blog tour. The activities were organised by Umbriaction.