The centuries old serenity of Bolsena is reflected in the transparent waters of its lake, giving scenery that is both rare and suggestively beautiful. This is one of the most beautiful areas of central Italy, framed by the Volsini mountains a short distance from the Tyrrhenian coast and about an hour by car from Rome airport. It is a proud ancient area that has lots of historical evidence and natural beauty spots.The lake of Bolsena is the largest volcanic lake in Europe.
Its drainage basin (270 sq.km.) is not the remains of a single large volcano, but has formed through the centuries following the collapse of the terrain after eruptive activity of several smaller openings; two of these have transformed into the islands of Martana and Bisentino, with luxuriant vegetation down to the water’s edge.
From Bolsena you can easily explore Italian hill towns containing the many treasures that Italy has to offer.
- Florence –May easily be reached by driving North on the Autostrada or by train from Orvieto (2 ½ hours.
- Siena –The sight of the twice annual palio, where different Siena communities compete in a horse race around the main piazza.
- Pisa –Home to the famous Leaning Tower, Pisa’s Duomo and the Compansanto, a cemetary containing soil recovered by crusaders from the Holy Land.
- Cortona –One of Tuscany’s prettiest towns with sweeping views of Lake Trasimeno.
- Montepulciano –A medieval hill town which rises almost to an elevation of 2,000 feet and is home to many wineries.
- Montalcino –A medieval hill town which is home to Brunello di Montalcino, one of Italy’s esteemed red wines.
- Saturnia –Famous for its hot sulphur thermal springs.
- Rome –May easily be reached by driving South on the Autostrada or by train from Orvieto (2 hours).
- Bomarzo –16th century town that is home to a garden of huge boulders which have been sculpted into various creatures and monsters.
- Caprarola –Located near Lake Vica, a smaller volcanic lake, it contains the Palazzo Farnese, one of the grandest 17th century country villas.
- Montefiascone –On the shores of Lake Bolsena, this town boasts a dome on the Cathedral of St. Margherita which is 2nd in size to only St. Peter’s. This is also the home to Est! Est!! Est!!! a renowned white wine.
- Viterbo –A walled medieval town which was the papal seat from 1257-1281, and contains many stores.
- Assisi –Medieval town which is home to the Basilica di San Francesco, burial place of St. Francis.
- Lake Trasimeno –Italy’s 4th largest lake where the Romans suffered one of their worst military defeats in 217 B.C. to troops led by Hannibal. Visit the walled hill town of Castiglione del Lago, or take a boat trip to Isola Maggiore a town known for its lace making.
- Orvieto –This town which was built on a cliff overlooking the plains below, is the home to the Duomo of Orvieto, which was built during the 13th century and in addition to containing Luca Signorelli’s fresco of the Last Judgment, also has an elaborate facade. The town features many shops which sell ceramics, olive oils and wines including the white wine Orvieto Classico.
- Perugia –A city that is home to 160,000 people. The old center of the city has many churches and museums, and there are many places to shop.
Suggested accommodation for this area : http://www.romahappydays.com/lake-bolsena-flat/