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e-borghi travel 6, Lakes and villages: Lake Trasimeno, the little Sea of Umbria

It’s the little sea of Umbria, a huge stretch of water surrounded by an amazing set of hills. It’s the fourth biggest lake of Italy after lake Garda, lake Maggiore and lake Como and it’s also the biggest lake in Central Italy. It’s 6 meters deep, it doesn’t have a natural affluent an it’s mainly filled with rainwater and a few streams. It has been inhabited since the prehistoric Age and the famous battle between Hannibal’s Carthaginian army and Gaio Flaminio’s Roman legions took place on its shores. The three biggest islands, Piolvese, Maggiore and Minore are surrounded by some historical villages that are featured by some old traditions. The “Festival Trasimeno Blues” is one of the most important events that are held in this area, it’s an opportunity to enjoy the local culture and the natural attractions of this basin. Carps and seagulls The wide basin of lake Trasimeno combines the water and the land by hosting a wide range of species. It’s an area where the birds stop and it’s also an area where some important fish can be found. The surrounding landscape is featured by the cultivated fields, the forests, the villages overlooking the lake and the Medieval historical centers. It’s historically called “the lake of Perugia”, and its ecosystem is particularly fragile while its shores are covered in marshes’ reeds. In the forests you can find the willow trees, the country elms and the black alders. The foxes, the boars, the hedgehogs and the shrews are the mammals that inhabit this area while the gear-eagles, the pheasants, the wigeons, the herons, the royal ducks and the seagulls are the main bird species. The tenches, the chubs, the carps and the pikes are the main types of fish that inhabit these waters. The islands of art The three islands surrounding the lake enrich the natural scenery. Polvese belongs to the Regional Park of Trasimeno and it’s featured by beautiful views like the Church of St. Giuliano, the remains of the Olivetana Church of St. Secondo and the fortress. Maggiore is the only inhabited island, it was one of Saint Francis’ favorite places who stopped here for his meditations during the Lent in 1211. The area of the dockings deserve a visit as well as the little church of San Salvatore, the remains of the little church of San Salvatore and also the remains of the nunnery. You can’t miss the Roman ancient Tower, the church of Saint Michael the Archangel, the church of Saint Francis where his bedroll is kept, the Guglielmi castle and the wind mill. Minore has been called "the little Island” since the very beginning of the 20th century, it’s a private island and it can’t be visited. The municipality of Passignano sul Trasimeno isn’t inhabited too although several families lived there until the 15th century. Medieval memories From Castiglione del Lago to Città della Pieve, from Paciano to Magione, from Passignano to Piegaro, from Panicale to Tuoro the little Sea of Umbria is spread with characteristic villages and medieval centers. The lake’s waters aren’t very deep and there are some villages that are rich of traditions and history. They are magic places that show the pure essence of this part of Italy. Four villages are listed in the most beautiful Italian villages’ club. You can take the ferry in Passignano and sail towards the islands where you can visit the Medieval fortress and the Doge’s Palace dating back to the 16th century where Niccolò Macchiavelli and Leonardo Da Vinci stayed, the rooms were painted by Pomarancio Paciano and the historical centre is still untouched. Panicale is one of the Touring’s orange flags, it features the Medieval castle, the ancient walls, the narrow streets and the little squares. Fagiolina and fish soup Fish is the king of products on the tables. If you want to celebrate the local cuisine you can taste the rice with the white sauce and the perch fillet, the eel in the soup seasoned with the oil from the surrounding hills, the smoked eel, the fried fish. Oil is one of the typical products, it is produced in the wide olive groves from the hills overlooking the lake then there is the wine that is produced in an area that is rooted in the Etruscan Age, the saffron from Città della Pieve which is used in many recipes and the fagiolina from Trasimeno which belongs to the Slow Food Movement. It was already cultivated by the Greek and the Etruscan people, it’s a little legume used for the preparation of the traditional dishes as well as for the preparation of the new recipes. The handcrafted products also represent the peculiarity of this area of Umbria mainly the lace-making from the Island Maggiore, the iron objects and the pottery.

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