Fishing at Trasimeno Lake, Umbria, Italy ©
Trasimeno fisherman ©

Lake Trasimeno, its islands, and the lakeside towns

Lake Trasimeno

Paciano is one of eight towns belonging to the Trasimeno zone, centred around the wide, shallow lake at its heart – the largest and oldest on the Italian peninsula. Lake Trasimeno has three islands, of which two can be visited. Ferryboats connect the islands to various points on the mainland. The lake supports a small community of fishermen who catch perch, carp and other lakefish for sale locally.

Ferryboat ©Leanne Harvey

Isola Maggiore

Isola Maggiore is closest to Tuoro and Castiglione del Lago by ferry. This is the only permanently inhabited island on the lake, having a tiny village which was famous for lace making, and where you’ll still find a few elderly residents practicing their craft. St Francis of Assisi is said to have visited here. It has a small sandy beach and it is interesting, and not too far, to walk around. There is a small church with frescoes in the centre of the island, and a couple of good restaurants.

Isola Maggiore main street

Lace – Isola Maggiore ©Leanne Harvey

Isola Polvese

Isola Polvese is nearest by ferry to San Feliciano on the eastern side of the Lake.  It is the largest island with a good footpath around it. It has some small beaches, together with a café and a restaurant. Isola Polvese is also home to an environmental education centre for the area schools and visitors.

View of Lake Trasimeno from San Feliciano.

Polvese Island ancient monastery ruins.


On the way to San Feliciano there is a nature reserved called Oasi Naturalistica la Valle at San Savino di Magione. The extensive reed beds offer a welcoming habitat for many species of waterfowl, especially herons,  and it is considered a site of international importance for migratory birds.  There is a shelter that you can book for early morning or sunset wildlife photography, and on Saturday mornings you can participate in bird banding. The entrance fee includes rental of binoculars.

        Heron and ducks, Trasimeno Lake. ©Andrew Jones

Passignano and Tuoro

Other interesting villages to visit on the north side of the lake include Passignano and Tuoro.  In one of the bloodiest and most famous battles of antiquity, the Carthaginian general Hannibal annihilated the Roman army at Tuoro on a misty morning in 217 B.C. There is now a circular route around the various parts of the battlefield, and nearby a sculpture park of works by Italian and international sculptors displayed atop massive stone plinths, at the Punta Navaccia near the ferry terminal for Isola Maggiore.

Tuoro sculpture park , Trasimeno Lake. 

Passignano from the ferry , Trasimeno Lake.