agriturismo lago bolsena
agriturismo lago bolsena


History and information about the "Lake of the Etruscans"

Stage of breathtaking sunsets giving off hundreds of nuances 365 days a year, nestled among green hills, mainly covered by oaks and turkey oaks, vineyards and olive groves often centuries old, surrounded by charming villages, Lake Bolsena is definitely worth more than a classic ‘quick getaway’ visit.
Bolsena is about half way between Siena and Rome, where approximately two million years ago a large vulcanic area, corrisponding to today’s area called ‘Colli Volsini’, exploded giving origin to the Lake. This impressive body of water is the biggest vulcanic lake of Europe – 5th biggest lake in Italy.
Since then all who come here unavoidably experience a sense of peace in harmony with the surreal atmosphere.
Lake Bolsena is one of the few Italian lakes where you can swim along all its shores. The old local fishermen still call it “the lake you can drink” because of its pure and clean waters. In fact Lake Bolsena has a natural environment almost completely unspoilt. The cleanliness of its waters has provided an extraordinary development of plant and animal species almost totally disappeared in other basins.
Lake Bolsena was known also as the ‘Lake of the Etruscans’, the ancient people whose origin is still a mystery, of agricultural vocation, who settled during the pre-Roman period in this area also known as Etruria or Tuscia (which today corresponds to northern Lazio, Umbria and southern Tuscany). On its lakeshores are our fertile fields which have always yielded products grown without the need of chemical fertilizers. In addition to vineyards and olive groves are the leguminous vegetables such as beans, broad beans, peas; grains and cereals, tomatoes, especially the local Bolsenese tomato called ‘scatolone’ (big box), potatoes, and the many fragrant spices some of which are spontaneous and can be found in the fields and woods.
From wherever you look you will meet astonishing views, and gazing across the lake you will see Lake Bolsena’s two little islands Bisentina and Martana, populated by a surprising number of different protected species of flora and colonies of birds, but also famous for their historical background.

The Bisentina Island, is the bigger of the two, in the past owned by the Church and visited by numerous Popes. On its grounds there are seven churches, among which is one dedicated to Saint James and one to Saint Christopher, whose cupola was built by the famous Renaissance architect Jacopo Barozzi da Vignola, and the temple dedicated to Saint Catherine constructed by the equally famous architect Antonio da Sangallo over an Etruscan columbarium.

isola martana

The Martana Island, a little smaller than her ‘sister’ island presents an even more impressive and wilder landscape. The island is known for two events, partly historical partly legendary, handed down through the ages. The first concerns Saint Christine, the Patron Saint of Bolsena, whose remains are buried in the catacombs inside the Basilica in the town of Bolsena. It is said that she was relegated for a long time on the island by her cruel father to make her forsake her Christian faith. The other concerns Amalasunta, the queen of the Ostrogoths, who was brutally murdered on the island, and her suffering spirit can still be heard in the sound of the lake’s waters.

Today both islands are privately owned and cannot be visited. However in summer ferries leaving from the port of Bolsena and from the port of Capodimonte will take you on a tour of the lake and around the islands to admire the beauty of these vulcanic islets.

Lake Bolsena is ideal not only for swimming in its turquoise waters, but you can enjoy canoeing, fishing, windsurfing and diving down to the lake’s bed, where you will be surprised to find that is recalls somewhat a lunarscape. Or you can go horseriding, cycling, trekking or do many other things. (Please see page ‘activities’)
The climate is mild and temperate, not too damp, sometimes in the evening a north dry wind blows known as the ‘tramontana’, which may be quite strong in winter. In summer it never gets too hot as in winter it never gets too cold.


Lakeside and villages not to be missed


bolsena agriturismo


agriturismo lago bolsena


agriturismo bolsena lago