Lake Trasimeno, its islands, and the lakeside towns
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.
Isola Maggiore main street
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.
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.