A day among the islands of the Trasimeno lake
Sail on the waters of the Trasimeno Lake and go discovering the mainland: the Major island and the Polvese island are waiting for you.
Piazza Mazzini 10 - 06061 Castiglione del Lago
If you are in the neighborhoods of the Trasimeno Lake and fancy a beautiful walk in the open air, carve out a day and visit the wonderful islands located in the lake: the Polvese, Major and Minor Islands, the last one called also "small island". The small island, unfortunately, can not be visited because it's private and today uninhabited.
Even if the name can be misleading, the biggest island is not the Major one, yet the Polvese, included in the Fauna Oasis of the Trasimeno Lake. Your tour is starting precisely here: go to Saint Feliciano, a nice village on the lake banks, and from the small port take the ferry to the "Island", so called from the place residents. The travel times are very short: after around 10 minutes you will be back on the mainland and you will be able to start your excursion between nature and history.
As soon as you will get off the ferry, you will find yourself in front of the Villa, a building erected at around the 1940s. Take the path you can find on your left and start your walk. After few meters, you are arrived at the remains of the 14th century castle, with just the outside walls remaining. The internal courtyard has been requalified and today it's a theatre where they play performances in the open-air.
Few steps from the castle, following the path, you will find the small Saint Giuliano medieval church, with only one nave and erected on the remains of a roman villa. Indeed in the church terracing wall you can admire the remains of the "opus reticulatum".
On the left of the castle the path goes on, follow it and you won't be disappointed. It will lead you to the Water Plants Garden, planned in 1959 by one of the main Italian landscape architects: Pietro Porcinai. Here you can find a wide variety of water plants, both local and coming from other places, all of them immersed in the pool dag in the rock and fueled directly from the Trasimeno Lake waters.
Carry on your path and you will find yourself at the Monastery of the Olivetani Monks and at the Saint Second Church, inhabited by the Olivetani monks from 1404 to 1624. After that date, the building has remained uninhabited and left in decay. Today it remains only the crypt and a part of the refectory.
If you overtake the holm oaks wood, on your right, you are arriving to the beach. If you are in children's company this is the ideal place for a break and, why not, for a picnic. The area is equipped with a recreation ground and volleyball fields. Here the island tour will end, and you can head towards the small port, just few meters far from it.
Take back the ferry and from San Feliciano, by car, head towards Passignano, a small district on the lake banks. Here take back again the ferry to the Major Island, the only to be inhabited. This island was beloved by Saint Francis who in 1211 went there for the Lent.
As soon as you will disembark, you will find yourself immersed in a splendid residential area, that is still preserving the appearance of an anglers village, with houses whose origin is back to the 14th or 15th century. From here there are two possible itineraries to visit the island: either taking the road on your right or the one on your left. We advise you to take the last one and cover Guglielmi Road, so that you can start your excursion with a pleasant walk along the lakefront.
Go up to the Road of Saint Salvador, located on a small hill, and here you will run across the homonym Romanic church. Following the path, we advise you to take a break at the Gothic church of Saint Michael Archangel: right inside you will be able to admire frescos dated between the 13th and the 14th century.
Now take the path going down and cutting Marquise Isabella Avenue, until arriving to the Chapel of Saint Francis. Right inside you will find the bed where, as it is narrated, rested the Saint. A bit forward, you can see the cliff where Saint Francis, just arrived on the island, stopped to pray.
You can continue your visit to the Gugliemi Castle, located in the most southern part of the island. You must know that right inside, in 1904, Elena Guglielmi created a laboratory of Irish-stitched laces. This processing, from then, had become a typicality of the place. Now come back to the village, stop at the Lace Museum, and admire the beauty of this far art.
Here your tour to the Major Island is finished. Take back the ferry and head back to the mainland. For sure after such an intense day you will be hungry: you can't leave this Umbria area without having tasted the delicious dishes made with the lake fish, such as the tegamaccio (a typical lake fish soup), the Queen carp in porchetta or the fried Persian fish.