Bolsena Lake

Lake of Bolsena

The Lake of Bolsena, is the largest of Lazio, the fifth of Italy and  is the largest lake formed  in the crater of an extinct volcano.
Its origins dates back hundreds of thousands of years ago, when the territory  created fractures caused by explosions
and the loss of large amounts of material that caused the emptying of the subsoil with the consequent collapse of the crust and the formation of the "caldera" that have created  the lake.
Later other explosions occurred that gave the rising to the formation of  two islands: Martana and Bisentina.
The Bisentina island , a private property, owes its name to Bisentium, a flourishing center in Etruscan, Roman and medieval period.
It is the largest of the two islands and is a large natural park.
Major monuments arise on the island, the most important of which is the Renaissance church, whose project was made by Cardinal Alessandro Farnese, the Vignale.
Open to the public, you can always visit it with a guide.
The Martana island , which takes its name from the nearby town of Marta, is shaped  like a crescent and  is part of the lower edge of the crater.
Compared to the other island is more rugged, but very attractive from the point of view of landscape.




At the borderline  between Tuscany and Umbria, situated next to the north-west part of  the lake, this is where  Gradoli’s  located , a charming town that enjoys a wonderful position and  mild climate.
Here you can find pleasant air and  hiking possibilities in areas of great historical nature, Gradoli makes the ideal place for a healthy and  relaxing holiday.
Among the typical products of the village there are: Grechetto, Aleatico DOC wines, grappa, olive extravirgin oil and Purgatory beans that give this farming  town a  considerable importance.
The heart of the village is the medieval quarter which is accessed through an ancient gate, which is dominated by the imposing bulk of the Palazzo Farnese.
The palace was commissioned by Cardinal Alessandro Farnese, future Pope Paul III, between 1517 and 1526 and designed by Antonio da Sangallo the Younger, on the foundations of an older castle which existence has been documented since 1118.
Recently renovated, it has become a museum of Renaissance costumes for national and foreign conventions and exhibitions.
Next to the Palazzo Farnese, stands the church of Santa Maria Maddalena where it keeps inside a marble baptistery attached to the school of Donatello (of the fifteenth century).



The "Tantavecchie" ancient and curious event, during the three  nights preceding the Epiphany (January 6) a group of people walk the streets of the town causing a huge uproar with various tools in the attempt to ward off  witches.


The Purgatory Lunch, this tradition  takes place on Ash Wednesday (the day of Lent) with the pretext of helping the blessed souls in Purgatory, a lunch  is set up for over seventeen hundred people from  the fellowship of  the Association of Purgatory, made of  only men, that for over 500 years have kept this tradition where they cook  the same menù  with dishes of fish and beans.


The Aleatico Festival is celebrated on the last weekend of July and on first weekend of August with food stands and  local products, Aleatico DOC wine tasting and live music.


The Feast of St. Magno  is  held on August 19th  in the small church near the lake with a Procession accompanied by a music band. It’s a sacred  place where there is a plenary indulgence, in which was confirmed several times by the popes who took  turns in the course of history.



Bolsena is a town of 4000 inhabitants lying between the Cassia road that runs almost along the lake and the summit of a peak at the top of which there is  beautiful castle of the family Monaldeschi who made stronghold of their lordship of Bolsena over the end of 1300 . For some years , the castle is the set of the territorial Museum of lake Bolsena, one can observe important geological and archaeological finds of various periods from the Bronze and Iron Age to Roman-Etruscan period. Going down, there is Bolsena of the following centuries with he picturesque square of Santa Cristina .lovely portals, a certain architectural order everywhere and then he modern part with  beautiful straight avenue leading to the lake flanked by secular trees . Then there is the lake with its conventional touristic equipments : hotels that are not big, beaches , a harbour where you can see the sails governed by a small group of lovers of these shores and  few motor-boats.
The event that made Bolsena famous in the world is the Bolsena Eucharistic miracle happened in Bolsena in 1263 . A priest of Bohemian origin  would have had doubts about transubstantiation during the celebration of Mass. Suddenly, the blood gushed from the consecrated Host , wet the corporal and the liturgical linens. One of the relics is still preserved in the Cathedral of Orvieto. The following year, the feast of Corpus Christi was established , recurrence celebrated by all Catholics in the world. In Bolsena, the feast is celebrated in a procession carrying a piece of cloth stained with blood and with the tradition of floral display that runs he main streets of the old town accompanied by the band and the flag bearers.
The mysteries of Holy Cristina.
The annual manifestation that takes place in Bolsena is linked to the martyrdom of St. Cristina. Prefect of Volsini during the rule of Dioclesiano Urban was charged to persecute the numerous Christians of the area,but among them, there was also his daughter.
The girl was imprisoned and made to watch by two guards, but one of these was Christian too, baptized her and from that moment she took the name of Cristina. The long martyrdom of the Saint began like this which worsened after the death of the father, under the domain of the two successive prefects, until her death from the arrows of her executioners.
Every year, on the evening of July 23 th and the next morning is held the important popular recalling of the events of the martyrdom of Saint Cristina.
The participation of citizens in the representation is very intense, even some characters are handed down for years within the families themselves.


Good Friday : traditional reminiscent procession with more than 100 characters.

June 26 : Feast of Corpus Christi : the Infiorate.
Bolsena is clothed with a carpet of flowers. The recurrence celebrated throughout the Catholic world commemorates the miracle of the Eucharist changed in body and the blood of Christ in the hands of  a priest.

June 13 : S. Anthony of Padua.
Procession along the streets of the village and fireworks along the lake.

June 17-18-19 -Feast of Hydrangeas
Hydrangeas-plants for amateurs and collectors, books, conferences, botany, tasting itineraries within historical homes.

July 23-24-Feast of Santa Cristina-Patron of the city.
The city’s patron Saint is celebrated with silent performances of the inhabitants of the village who reproduce the most important episodes of the Saint’s life.



A town that stands on a promontory on the southern shore of Lake Bolsena.
Just 25 km from Viterbo and 100 km from Rome as Siena, you can here visit the Farnese Palace Pier Luigi Farnese that arose in the late fifteenth and early sixteenth century.



Situated on the southern shore side of the lake.
It 's approximately  20 km from Viterbo, where you can visit the ruins of the fortress built by Urban IV in the thirteenth century. and the traditional church of Our Lady of Mount Barabbata. 


Montefiascone, 133 km after Bolsena, on the Cassia rod, it is not a lucastrine village (a large center of 12000 inhabitants), but perhaps the most beautiful balcony on the lake because it is built on the summit of the highest hill of Volsini on the height of 633 meters. In any way t is connected with the lake on a beautiful road that synods along the hillside. Montefiascone has become an ideal place for holiday. The air, given the altitude and the opening set is excellent, tonic and fresh. The surroundings are very beautiful and the village offers great things to see.
Of Etruscan origin, as all or nearly all in the area , the city was developed in the Roman era, but the splendid period of Montefiascone is the papal period starting from 1200. The presence of the papal court has enriched and gave fame to the village, but the most valuable artistic testimony of past centuries is the small church of St. Flavian.
As a curiosity, is shown a tomb of a certain John Deuce, perhaps a German prelate in the wake of Henry V who had a servant (apparently named Martin) used to  strange need.
He preceded his master in the stages of the journey in Italy and everywhere he found good wine, he wrote “Est” on the doors of the taverns. In Montefiscone, where there was always a famous wine produced from vines that grow well exposed on volcanic soils, Martin enthusiastic , wrote three times: ,, est, est, est”, a true mark of quality. John Deuce declared himself in agreement with the enological analysis , so that he stopped here in Montefiascone do die in 1113,at lest , that what suggests the Latin inscription engraved on the tombstone that is in the left in the lower church.

Feasts and traditions:

April 26 : festivities in honor of the Patron Saint Falvian: fair, lottery, religious procession, bicycle race and fireworks.

Third Sunday of June- Feast of Lady Mother of the Church in Primie Location: with religious celebration , evening musical show, estimation of a ham, trump race, lottery, aniseed cake festival ,biscuit with wine, tasting wine and pastries.

August 1- August 17 -Wine festival “ in the cellar with Defuk”: within the communal garden you revive the legend of the “Est! Est!! Est!!! ,the festival is enriched by various performances ,medieval cellars open with food and wine.

August 23 and 24Feast of St. Bartholomew: religious ceremony and exhibition of baskets and goods , aniseed cake festival.