4. Monte Castiglione

Start at Passignano sul Trasimeno and head towards Perugia, approaching the lake, in the proximity of the jetty where the lake ferries to the Maggiore and Polvese islands moor. Proceed along alternating stretches of tarmac and bridle paths until you come to the main road to Umbertide-Lisciano Niccone and Castel Rigone. It climbs gently up with many bends, far from traffic, and crosses the slope of a hill covered with rows of olive trees, broom shrubs, clumps of trees and reforested areas.

Proceeding towards Umbertide, pass by the small church of Trecine from where the route starts getting interesting, along a beautiful ridge, with continuous ups and downs, always dominating Lake Trasimeno; if you’re lucky enough to be cycling on a clear day in late spring, just before sunset, you’ll be able to admire some breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside, dotted with bright patches of colour, from the yellow of the broom flowers, to the violet of the cystus, the white of the heath and the green of the trees and juniper bushes. Continue uphill to the pine forest of Cerro Grosso and then along other panoramic ridges up to the next junction, just after Poggio Bandito. At an old farmhouse bear on the unsurfaced road to Monte Castiglione and then turn left to Poggio Castelluccio.

From here there’s a downhill stretch to Gosparini. Before reaching the main road connecting Tuoro sul Trasimeno and Lisciano Niccone, take the byroad called ‘delle Tassinaie’, which is no longer used and which has become little more than a track, through woods and meadows, down to the Fosso delle Nebbie brook. Climb uphill for a short stretch and take the bridle path to the Fattoria Le Tassinaie farm, in suggestive surroundings with a broad sweeping view over Lake Trasimeno. Descending towards Vernazzano Alto, after the small cemetery you can see the characteristic “Leaning Tower” (built in the 11th century as part of the old castle’s fortifications), which is quite awe-inspiring due to its impressive inclination. Continue downhill towards Vernazzano Nuovo, then past the area of Torale towards the cypress-lined avenue of Pischiello. Here you can visit the Villa, built in the 18th century by the Marquis Uguccione Bourbon di Sorbello, and then back to Passignano.

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