Monday, August 15, 2011

A tour around Lake Trasimeno

One of the things Francesco (and others) had recommended to us was a visit to Lake Trasimeno. I wasn't entirely sure if I felt drawn to the idea at first, thinking meh, waterfront resort towns and ferry ride...why spend my Italian vacation time doing things I can do at home? But - this being Italy - of course a lake experience is an entirely unique one! We set out to circle the lake and stop at a few towns along the way. First stop was Panicale, a town I first learned about when Dave and I brought the girls over in 2007. I was quite taken with this lovely town, based on what I could find online, and we nearly rented an apartment here. However at the time, we weren't ready for driving in Italy, so abandoned the idea in favour of renting in Florence and Venice so we could easily travel around by train. So it was fun for me to visit it now. I can see why it is very popular with British tourists (or so I have heard.)

How picturesque is this little shed, perched on the hill just below the street?

And this gorgeous brick house

There are parks and pathways all over the place over here, I've noticed, and Panicale is no exception!

We parked and walked to the main piazza (whose name I forget!) but is through the Perugia Gate. The fountain is from 1473, and used to be the town's main well.

  Of course we had to check out the church of St Michael the Archangel, dating from the 11th century. We were quite taken with the 14th century annunciation fresco, having read that it was accidentally discovered under some plaster during a renovation and is attributed to Tommasino Fini called Masolino.

And the adoration of the shepherd painting from 1519, by Gianbattista Caporali, a student of Il Perugino.

We were ready for gelato by this point...lo and behold, here is a cart promising the best home made ice cream in Umbria. Who are we to argue?! I had a combo of limone and pescarancia (sp? peach/orange), and it certainly was tasty!

After this refreshing treat, we wandered around a bit, then headed along to Castilione del Lago, right on the shore of Lake Trasimeno. We found ourselves on the beach lined road running along the lake...hmm, we better check this out and stick our toes into the water! We found a stretch with a dock running out into the lake and very few other people around, so we made ourselves comfy...a heavenly hour of lying in the hot Umbrian sun with the cooling lake breeze dancing over our skin.

Eventually the other plans of the day beckoned and we roused ourselves and carried on our way.  A church (I know, how predicable am I?!) was our next stop. I especially liked this bas relief of the woman washing Jesus' feet...I have never actually seen this bible story depicted in sculpture or painting before, so was intrigued to find it here.

I also thought these choir gowns were beautiful, and I imagined a big choir filling the place with joyful song. I'm a bit puzzled that the gowns all had clergy collars on them, at least that's what they looked like...a choir consisting solely of priests, perhaps? Probably a mystery that will remain forever unresolved for me!

Then we walked along to the castle and the adjoining museum. I didn't seem to be particularly interested in the museum, so I left Mom to finish checking it out, while I went outside and sat on a stone wall overlooking the lake and the castle. A moment of bliss. When Mom joined me, into the castle we went. To get there, we had to make our way through a loooong narrow passageway. (Although it wasn't nearly as dark as the passageway I took to get up into the tower in Rocca Maggiore in Assisi!)

You can walk all around the ramparts of this castle, with an optional climb to the top of the highest point. I'm sure you won't be surprised to know that I made this climb! Mom opted to find a perch on the wall and wait for me, lest she put undue stress on her knees. I bounded up the stairs, fidgeting impatiently as I neared the top and got stuck behind a family puffing and panting their way up. ( Apparently they have not been doing as much climbing as I have lately...this particular climb felt like a walk in the park to me!) And it was worth it - wow! I thought I was high up when we were on the first tower! Stunning views of the sweeping lakefront and of the town. The cathedral really looms high over the other rooftops!

Down I came, gathered up Mom, and away we went to continue our tour around the lake.  We stopped at Passagnano sur Trasimeno to check out a painting we'd read was in the church there...but we never found it! We did find lithium batteries for the camera (an item which had thus far eluded us on our trip!), and wandered around a bit, so it was still a worthwhile stop.   In the photo below, the shadowed doorway on the right lead to a tiny staired passageway to the street cool! 

Mom parked herself on some steps while I climbed up to the fortress at the top of the town. I didn't explore inside it though. I was more intrigued with the nooks and crannies of this neat place.

Alas, the afternoon was drawing to a close, so we called it a day and headed back to Cetona for supper. This is a beautiful area...and we barely scratched the surface in our day of wandering!


Jodie Tunnicliffe said...

another one of my favorite places, would love to be able to see your photos on facebook. My parents are now looking at renting the apartment that you had in Cetona depends on how steep the access is to it.

Anne said...

My mom was in her late 60s when we were there, and she has bad knees. She didn't find the climb unmanageable, but it is very steep. I'll try to remember to post more photos this week. I think I have one taken standing at the bottom of the hill looking up the street to the house.

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