Lake Bolsena is located in Alta Tuscia, on the religious route of the Via Francigena, and is the largest volcanic lake in Europe. The lake is also known as the "navel of Italy" due to its shape and location right in the middle of the peninsula.
At its center stand the Bisentina Island and Martana Island, as a result of millennia-long volcanic activity, which has formed large quantities of sediments through cooled lava. The largest of the two islands, the Bisentina, can be circumnavigated entirely, and some boats leave for daily visits. Nature here is unspoiled, except for the area where an authentic "Italian garden" was created. The island hosts several monuments, such as the Church of San Giacomo and Cristoforo, the Franciscan convent, the Villa, and the prison carved into the rock.
Lake Bolsena was formed about 300 thousand years ago and represents a great treasure from a naturalistic, but also historical, archaeological and cultural point of view. The waters of Lake Bolsena are clean, thus, a tourist destination, allowing activities for lovers of water sports, such as canoeing, sailing, windsurfing, and sport fishing.
Beaches around the lake are dark sand volcanic beaches with some pebbles. Numerous points around the perimeter of the lake are still pristine, and it is possible to do birdwatching, and see many species of birds and fish.
On the shores of this lake there are delightful medieval villages, all to be discovered.
The town of Bolsena stands on the north-eastern shore and represents one of the most enchanting corners of the area, due to its tree-lined lakefront and its romantic medieval village. We suggest a visit to Rocca dei Monaldeschi, which houses the Territorial Museum and the Collegiate Church of Santa Cristina, built in Romanesque style with Renaissance decoration. We also recommend a nice walk in the village of Bolsena, among ancient tuff buildings, alleys decorated with flowers and sleeping cats- it really looks like a fairytale.
Montefiascone is the largest village around Lake Bolsena, and although it does not rise directly on the lake, it overlooks the south-eastern shore of Lake Bolsena and offers a beautiful view, up to the Tyrrhenian Sea and the Maremma. Do not miss the Rocca dei Papi with the belvedere, the Renaissance Cathedral of Santa Margherita, and the San Flaviano church, built on two superimposed levels.
The town of Marta rises on the southern shores of Lake Bolsena, facing the Martana Island. The tree-lined lakeside and the small harbor are enchanting with the fishing boats because fishing here is still a traditional job. In the historic center, it is interesting to visit the Torre dell' Orologio, which is 21 meters high and the Chiesa della Collegiata.
Capodimonte is a village located on a small peninsula in the south-west part of Lake Bolsena. In Capodimonte, there is a large beach with a tourist port, so in summer, the town comes alive and is populated by visitors.
Among its architectural and artistic beauties, Capodimonte offers Palazzo Borghese, which is currently the seat of the municipality, and the Collegiate Church of Santa Maria Assunta.
The splendid Bisentina Island, which certainly deserves a visit, as well as the Archaeological Park of Monte Bisenzio, are also part of the Capodimonte municipality.
If you have a day off and want to dedicate it to visiting the best villages around Lake Bolsena, we suggest you stop in one of these gems. There you can enjoy the famous wine "Est! Est!! Est!!! of Montefiascone" (no, this is not a typo, it's the actual name), or a tasty dish of fried lattarino, a small lake fish typical in the Marta area. The atmosphere in these villages is absolutely relaxing. Take the opportunity to take some relaxation for yourself. Have a good trip!
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