Europe’s Largest Volcanic Lake
The Lago di Bolsena is a perfect excuse for a weekend full of nature, history, good food and charming towns. First stop in Montefiascone, one of the most important Etruscan towns, to visit the historic center and for a beautiful view of the lake and its shores beneath the town. Peak inside the Cattedrale di Santa Margherita which has one of the largest domes in Italy (easily visible in the silhouette of the town) and try the world famous Est! Est!! Est!!! wine which is produced here.
Capodimonte, a town with long stretches of volcanic sandy beach, is another jewel worth a visit. With many bars and cafes lining the shore, it is a perfect place for a pleasant day in the sun or a leisurely evening stroll. The old town center perched on the cliff is very picturesque and if you happen to be around in August there are magnificent fireworks for the festivities of Saint Rocco on August 14th.
You should also see Bolsena, the lake’s namesake, to visit the old town and the cathedral of Santa Cristina. There are many camping sites in the area, such as the highly recommended Camping Massimo.
If you visit this area in May you might have the chance of seeing the “Barabbata” in the quaint fishing village of Marta, only a few miles down the road. This is a historical festival to welcome spring that celebrates the horse-riding traditions of the local butteri (cowboys).
Where to eat
In Capodimonte “Il Pepe Nero” is an excellent little restaurant overlooking the lake offering a modern menu and local produce.
Address: Via Regina Margherita
In Bolsena try “Casa Patrizia“, a restaurant that combines modern cooking with an elegant and individual style and beautiful vistas of the lake.
Address: Viale Cadorna 10
Where to stay
For a truly unique experience, stay in one of the tree house rooms at La Piantata, an agriturismo in the nearby town of Arlena di Castro.
Address: Strada Provinciale 113 Arlenese
How to get there
From Rome, you can drive down the Cassia straight to Montefiascone in just over an hour. To visit Bolsena you must stay on the Cassia, otherwise you can visit Marta and Capodimonte on the other side.