Lago Trasimeno is the largest body of water in central Italy, it dominates the highway from Toscana to Perugia. The North shore is filled with towns such as Passignano and Tuoro that have a ‘seaside’ feel, there are shops filled with buckets and spades, inflatable armbands and floaty toys, restaurants abound, fish predominating the menu. The esplanade gives grandly onto the lake, the sun shining from the south over the water glistening on the limpid waves. Ferries take one onto the lake over to the islands, where one can have a damn good lunch.
But it is the south side of the lake I prefer, it is quieter, more remote, agrarian and somehow real. Every farm in this fertile environment has a stall selling their own Km Zero produce. I stopped at my favourite food place “Da Maria” looking like a truckers stop, even more so now that a major re-building project is underway And took my ticket. I love this place popular with locals and travellers, you eat well and the atmosphere is very convivial. Wait at the crowd, it is like the deli counter at the supermarket, fresh food appearing all the time,. I inspected the counter overflowing with local dishes and the wood fire cooking the ‘Torta al Testo” the local flat bread that is then filled with almost anything your heart desires. My choice of lunch was not the torts but instead fish from the lake itself, they are small fillets, dipped in light batter and fried – the nearest thing to British fish n chips here in Umbria. Utterly delicious, I took my tray and plastic plates and sat amongst the madding crowds in the dappled shade of the umbrella pines looking out over the lake.
Thence onwards to Castiglione del Lago, the ancient Umbrian castellated town on the border with Toscana. A delightful walk along the lungolago, a wee snooze in the sun on an all too convenient bench and a few photos – maybe he was the guy who caught my lunch…
Castiglione is a town fully on the tourist trail, shops overflowing with cheeses, salamis, ceramics, lentils and pulses, and a few nice cafes to boot, it is very visitor friendly and easily reached for a day trip from Bellaugelllo Gay Guest House