Castiglione del Lago – www.palazzodellacorgna.it
On the border between Umbria and Tuscany sits a charming town built up over many centuries. Castiglione stands guard over and is reflected onto the water of the lake”.
The town’s most important landmark is, without doubt, Palazzo della Corgna. Built as a residence, it was then transformed into the palace of the della Corgna dynasty. Today it is home to numerous important cultural activities, but above all it is a museum with gorgeous frescoes painted by the celebrated artist Niccolò Circignani, known as Il Pomarancio, illustrating the life and times of the dynasty. Connected to the Palazzo della Corgna is the Rocca del Leone, a military fortress built starting in the late 12th century over the remains of an Etruscan acropolis. The original pentagonal shape was changed by Federico di Svevia to reflect his zodiac sign, Leo, and in 1310 the keep was added. From it you can see the entire perimeter of the lake and enjoy some spectacular views. Inside the Rocca are the remains of a church, probably of Byzantine origin, dedicated to saints Phillip and James. Within the walls of the castle is a lovely open-air amphitheatre where all summer long you can enjoy all kinds of interesting and entertaining cultural events.
Other Historical Landmarks at Castiglione del Lago
The town boasts several other buildings worthy of note, such as the Church of San Domenico, with its Museum of Sacred Art, the Church of Santa Maria Maddalena, where you can admire the lovely painting of Mary on the Throne by Eusebio da San Giorgio. Outside of the old town centre, in Casamaggiore, is the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie and, in Panicarola, the Santuario della Madonna della Carraia. The former airport of Castiglione del Lago is also of particular beauty and importance, both for the history it represents and the nature that surrounds it.
Città della Pieve – www.cittadellapieve.org
Medieval town steeped in the atmosphere of times long past, a fascinating place of extraordinary beauty, Città della Pieve is beloved for its authenticity, its gorgeous views, its history and art, but also for its wholesome simplicity and slow pace of life surrounded by lush, uncontaminated nature. It is the perfect place in which to discover “the true sense of the Italian lifestyle,” as National Geographic wrote. It is for this reason that renowned actors, athletes, intellectuals and influencers have made it their home. One cannot but be enchanted by the breathtaking views that have inspired some of the world’s greatest Renaissance artists, and that still attract painters from all over the world. Città della Pieve is the hometown of Raphael’s most influential teacher, Pietro Vannucci, known as Il Perugino, one of the most iconic painters of renaissance Italy, whose work is distinguished by characteristic Pievese landscapes. Among the many treasures painted by him and still today housed in the city are the Adorazione dei Magi at the Oratorio di Santa Maria dei Bianchi, the Battesimo di Cristo and the Madonna in Gloria fra i Santi Gervasio e Protasio in the cathedral and the Deposizione dalla Croce at the Museum of Santa Maria dei Servi.
Landmarks to visit at Città della Pieve
Città della Pieve boasts a high concentration of history, art and monumental landmarks. At the Oratorio di Santa Maria dei Bianchi you’ll find the celebrated painting The Adoration of the Magi done by Pietro Vannucci (known as Il Perugino), while at the Museum of Santa Maria dei Servi you’ll see his last masterpiece, the Deposition from the Cross (1517) as well as an exhibition of the Etruscan sarcophagi and funeral urns uncovered in the Tomb of San Donnino. Not only, but the Rocca Perugina, a fortress constructed in 1326, and the 16th century Palazzo della Corgna designed and built by Galeazzo Alessi, are also located here. In the City of the Divine Painter, as it is known, there is also a series of contemporary art museums worth visiting, like the Giardino dei Lauri (Loc. San Litardo), Spazio Kossuth and the Laboratorio di Cultura Fotografica.
Ancient towns and unforgettable sunsets
The eastern coast of Trasimeno is dotted with towns steeped in history and from which sunsets over the lake are truly unforgettable: San Savino, with its medieval castle and triangular tower; San Feliciano, a gracious authentic fishing village; Montecolognola, a 13th century village with a unique view of the lakeshore; Monte del Lago, an architectural gem perched over the lake; Agello and its 12th century fortress; Sant’Arcangelo and Torricella, charming and well-served lakeside towns. Magione, the capital, is home to the still intact Castello dei Cavalieri di Malta, built in the 12th century as a fortified hospital where these days it hosts a variety of events. In July the lovely courtyard is the venue for the Trasimeno Music Festival, an international classical music festival created and still run by the renowned pianist Angela Hewitt. Magione is also home to the ancient Torre dei Lambardi, a fort erected between the 12th and 13th centuries by the Jerusalemite Knights. It towers over the town and offers magnificent views of the surrounding countryside. Magione is also all about sports: from car and motorcycle racing at the Autodromo dell’Umbria, to sailing on the lake, hikes in the hills and windsurfing on the water, not to mention quads in the woods and kite flying on the beaches.
Museo della Pesca at San Feliciano (Magione)
Located in San Feliciano, a gracious fishing village that has maintained its wholesome authenticity, the museum is an ethnoanthropological experience about the “culture of the water” around Trasimeno. It offers visitors a look into the relationship between man and the lake over many centuries. It is located adjacent to a typical, still active fisherman’s wharf. It is open in April, May, June and September from Thursday to Sunday and July and August from Tuesday through Sunday, while in October, November, December and March it is only open on the weekends.
Paciano – www.comune.paciano.pg.it
Kieran Mulvaney, author and environmentalist, said this about Paciano in the Washington Post: “the first thing that struck me when I got here is that this is exactly how a Hollywood director would represent a medieval village.”
Where should you begin your tour? From the heart of its historical centre, from Palazzo Baldeschi, the seat of the information office and TrasiMemo, just steps away from the “Don Aldo Rossi” museum .
A veritable treasure chest of a village full of churches, images of the Madonna, little balconies, shops selling all manner of delicious local delicacies and fine crafts, which, together with the City Hall on Piazza della Repubblica, come together as a charming and harmonious medieval whole.
Outside the town walls you’ll find lovely nature walks and culture, like the Chiesa della Madonna della Stella, home to a lovely mannerist fresco cycle that tells of one of the town’s traditional legends: a star that rests on the mantle of an image of the Madonna. A stroll in this area is the perfect way to discover precious culturel legacies that are often unknown, to sample delicious local delicacies and enjoy the landscape as you walk along, for example, the Via Romea Germanica, a portion of the road that in the 1200s led from Stade in Germany to Rome, and that goes from here to connect to Castiglione del Lago and Città della Pieve.
TrasiMemo and Museo don Aldo Rossi at Paciano
TrasiMemo, the Memory Bank of Trasimeno, a very special bank in which the valuables housed within are local knowledge, old and new, hosted in halls, exhibitions and workshops. Just a short walk away is the Don Aldo Rossi Museum, home to the town’s ancient gonfalone, made by the Bonfigli workshop in 1450. The museum’s exhibition hall contains 18th century canvases of gentle Madonnas by Castelletti that look like gorgeous tapestries, but are in fact paintings.
Panicale – www.comune.panicale.pg.it
A naturel terrace perched on the top of Mt. Petrarvella overlooking Lake Trasimeno, the birthplace of artists and adventurers, Panicale still looks like the medieval castle it started life as. The three piazzas on three different levels highlight the characteristic urban layout of concentric terracing.
Piazza Umberto I is home to the 15th century cistern (made into a mountain in the 1900s) and the imposing Collegiata di San Michele, while the 14th century Palazzo del Podestà that houses the Historic and Legal Archives is located at the town’s most panoramic point on Piazza Masolino, offering stunning views of the world below. Aside from boasting the Italy’s Loveliest Towns seal,
Panicale also boasts an Orange Flag conferred upon it in 2007 by the Touring Club Italiano for its important culturel and landscape legacies, as well as for the numerous culturel events held here (a full theatre season, music festivals, embroidery classes). The Renaissance left an important mark here too: Il Perugino, Raphael, G. Battista Caporali, just to name some of the great masters who lived and worked here. The nearby Santuario di Mongiovino is considered one of the finest examples of Italian Mannerist art (designed by Rocco da Vicenza, it contains masterpieces by Il Pomarancio, Lombardelli, Alfani, Il Fiammingo, etc…). Contemporary artists have also left their mark here, like the 1996 Arco Rovesciato by Mauro Staccioli on via Belvedere which rises like an accent on the rural landscape, and the Anfiteatro, an amazing piece of land art by Beverly Pepper, the acclaimed, recently deceased, American artist and long-time resident.
Landmarks to visit at Panicale
There are quite a few worthwhile landmark/ museums to visit: Il Santuario di Mongiovino, the Chiesa di San Sebastiano with frescoes by Il Perugino (The Martyrdom of St. Sebastian 1505) and Raphael (Madonna on Throne with Angelic Musicians) - Teatro Caporali with historic work by Piervittori (1869) – the Collegiata di San Michele - the Anita Belleschi Grifoni Museum in the Chiesa di Sant’Agostino – the Museum of Sacred Paraments and Objects in the Chiesa della Madonna della Sbarra – the Mariottini Collection in the Pinacoteca Comunale – the Anfiteatro by Beverly Pepper – the Arco rovesciato by Mauro Staccioli- Via Belvedere.
Passignano sul Trasimeno
An ancient fishing village set between the deep blue hues of the lake and the lush greens of the surrounding hills, Passignano is a gem amongst gems. It’s location makes it an almost obligatory stop when driving from Tuscany into Umbria, hence its name, originally PassusJani, or the Pass of Janus, the legendary god of gates and transitions.The surrounding area is rife with hiking, biking and horseback riding trails. Pieve di San Cristoforo, next to the cemetery just outside the old town centre, is the old Pievania di Passignano, which dates back to about the 10th century. The monumental church of the Madonna dell’Oliveto can be found in the western part of town and was built in the late 16th century. The Rocca , probably of Longobard origin (5th-6th century), has the most gorgeous views and is open to thepublic to enjoy exhibitions, concerts and theatrical performances there. It even has a small Boat Museum! Not far away, perched high on a hill, is the little village of Castel Rigone, one of those lucky and rare places where nature makes it especially compatible for environmental and culturel tourism. The Santuario di Maria SS. dei Miracoli, an Umbrian Renaissance masterpiece, is a fine example of this.
The Rocca and the Churches
Landmarks to visita t Passignano sul Trasimeno
In the gorgeous setting of the medieval walls you can admire the most fabulous views of the lake from the top of the Rocca. Aside from the views and some relaxation in the new panoramic coffee shop/snack bar, there are also several exhibition spaces, one of which houses the Museo delle barche delle acque interne, a result of the Atlante Linguistico dei Laghi Italiani initiative. The route will then lead you towards the church of San Cristoforo, an old parish dating to the 8th and 9th centuries with some very important frescoes, and then towards the church of the Madonna dell’Oliveto.
Piegaro – www.museodelvetropiegaro.it
The area of Piegaro is home to a variety of landmarks steeped in history and surrounded by nature: the Castle of Cibottola, still embraced by a large part of its ancient walls boasting a 20 metre high heptagonal tower, the perfectly restored castles of Gaiche and Greppolischieto, the charming village of Castiglion Fosco with its 16th century round tower, and the Abbazia dei Sette Frati (privately owned), graced with a lovely Romanesque church, monastery and courtyard. Then there is Pietrafitta and its lignite mines, where in the 1960s some of Europe’s most important paleontological finds were discovered, today preserved in the nearby Museo Paleontologico Luigi Boldrini, and lago di Pietrafitta, a haven for carp fishing and fitness buffs. Mount Arale is considered, at 853mt a.s.l, the area’s highest point and has a lovely park with new seating areas. As you climb upwards to the old town of Piegaro there is the little church of the Madonna della Crocetta (16th century). Soon after you’ll encounter the old city walls with their medieval turrets. Once inside the historical centre the Church of San Silvestro Papa is well worth a visit, as is the lovely, now an historic residence, Palazzo Misciattelli – Pallavicini, built in the 17th century. But the most interesting building by far is the ancient Glass Factory, now home to the Museo del Vetro.
The Museo del Vetro and The Museo Paleontologico Luigi Boldrini at Piegaro
The Glassworks Museum . is a fine example of industrial archaeology and tells the centuries-long story of glassmaking at Piegaro from the Middle Ages to the 20th century. The various phases of glassmaking and the machinery used are on exhibit demonstrating the evolution of the craft over the course of history and the items made by the Piegaresi glassmakers. The Luigi Boldrini Palaeontology Museum was built when in the early 1900s in the Pietrafitta basin extensive deposits of lignite were discovered. Imposing machinery attesting to the excavation remain in place and a modern museum was built to house the remains of a large variety of the fascinating fossils dating to the Early Pleistocene found during excavation: from mammoths to rhinoceroses, cows and deer, even micro-mammals.
Tuoro sul Trasimeno – www.livingtuoro.it
Tuoro sits on the northern shore of Lake Trasimeno on the border between Umbria and Tuscany. Four routes highlighting the history and art of the area have been created here, the most important of which is the Percorso Storico Archeologico della Battaglia del Trasimeno (217 BCE), when the invading Carthaginian army led by Hannibal the Great fought the Roman legions. It has 12 rest areas with illustrated multi-lingual billboards describing the stages of the battle, and, recently, the Museo di Annibale al Trasimeno was completed, a fine example of applied multi-media. Then there is a nature trail which, through lovely woods, leads to the Torre di Vernazzano, which leans at a 14° angle; the Campo del Sole walk of 27 columns sculpted of pietra serena set in a park along the lakeshore; and, finally, the Isola Maggiore walk, a walking tour that immerses you in the Franciscan and renaissance history of this charming little island, and teaches you about the tradition of lace-making here. The island is home to several important landmarks, like the lovely frescoed church of S. Michele Archangelo, the Centre of Documentation about the island, and the Museo del Merletto, with is home to some gorgeous historic “Irish point” pieces made to adorn wedding dresses, baptism gowns and other ceremonial garments. You can feel the passion that went into making them!
Museo di Annibale al Trasimeno at Tuoro sul Trasimeno
The museum offers the latest information discovered about the Battle of Trasimeno from a historical-archaeological, geological and geographical perspective through the use of advanced methodological tools and multimedia applications. Here you can find insights on the archaeological map of the northeastern territory of Trasimeno, as well as the most current theories about this battle and the other great battles of the Second Punic War.