By Brigid Cook, USAC student
With the sun shining and the feeling of spring in the air, there is no better place to explore than Lake Bolsena. Situated in central Italy, just outside of Viterbo, it is a must see in the area. The lake itself is the result of volcanic activity, formed after a magmatic chamber in the ground collapsed. It is home to two islands, which are all accessible by ferry.
Arriving on the shore of the lake on a warm day, I was very impressed by the carefree vibe of the town. Almost immediately I found myself relaxed and mesmorised by the beauty of the lake.
The area has a huge walking track that follows the shore around the entirety of Lake Bolsena. I followed the path for maybe an hour or so, admiring the ducks, dogs and, of course, the stunning view. Amazing looking restaurants front the lake. I highly recommend you order “aperitivo”, whereby appetizing snacks are brought out at no extra charge with a cocktail, as you spend a part of your afternoon admiring the water. “People watching” in the area is also quite enjoyable, as the area hosts a wide variety of locals and tourists; everyone seems happy, relaxed and content there. For fishermen, passive and active tourists alike, locals and all manner of watersport enthusiasts, Lake Bolsena has it all.
After an hour or so of walking around the lake itself I headed back towards the town of Bolsena, stopping along the way after spotting a little beach. With the sun shining, I decided the best way to spend more of my afternoon was to order some authentic gelato and to laze on the beach.
A little nap and a bit too much sun later, I continued on my way to explore the nearest town, Bolsena. What I love about Bolsena is that although it is similar in some ways to other towns in this part of Italy, for example, it has medieval walls, Bolsena has its own unique architecture. Walking through the town, my first thought was that the town was very clean and well preserved. Beautiful cobblestone streets, very cute little houses and at the end of every street, a spectacular view overlooking the town and the lake.
The view of the small town from its top, which is an easy walk, is stunning; a panoramic view of the whole town and surrounding area including ancient archways, a 13th century castle and a small church. If you’re looking for another activity for the day, I recommend exploring the town’s lake-themed museum, which is inside the castle.
Overall, when visiting the Tuscia region, Lake Bolsena makes a very easy and pleasant daytrip, with wonderful views, history and amazing food. What more could you want?