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Why you should visit Lake Bolsena (spoiler, you’ll fall in love)

We are madly in love with Bolsena

The love affair started many years ago when a client called us for a job in Bolsena. From that moment we fell in love with the magical place that always makes us come back when we need to leave stress behind. This is where we go to unwind and award ourselves a moment of relaxing bliss. Bolsena is in the Tuscia area of Lazio (the region of which Rome is the capital), where the Etruscans lived and built villages of extraordinary beauty on tuff terraces lapped by the volcanic lake which behaves more like the sea depending on the weather. On Lake Bolsena you will not smell the sea but you will still hear the sound of the waves. Peace reigns in this place filled with with hydrangeas in bloom and fantastic colors in spring.

the quiet charm of Bolsena

The best time to visit Bolsena

In spring and summer the lake is a magnet for travelers, the town bursts with people and flowers and festivals, markets and all the little shops catering to the lakeside visitors. This is where people come for gentle and long walks lakeside, illuminated by street lamps and with the background music of glasses clinking at bars. In winter it’s a completely different story. Winter chill in the narrow alleys, silence and picturesque medieval views that are truly fascinating, all aglow with twinkling lights, Christmas markets and typical products displayed in the windows of the small shops in the the town center.

the historic centerThe special towns on Lake Bolsena

Bolsena is for sure the best of the lakeside towns from an aesthetic point of view, with a strong visual impact. Quite different from other neighboring medieval villages due in part to the fact that the historical part is quite compact, and which can be easily visited on foot, reaching the highest part, from which it’s great to enjoy a bird’s eye view of the entire lake. But other villages around the lake possess particular charm, for example the fishing village of Marta, is certainly postcard-like for its colorful harbor, in the evening it’s lovely to wander around the little bars and restaurants with the view of the lake. Capodimonte also occupies a special place in our hearts for its transparent waters, the big green park where it’s possible to relax and lie down in the sun. Pro tip: take the long path that connects the shores of the lake with the part of the village for a gorgeous walk.

Marta harbor on lake Bolsena

Lake Bolsena allows you to be in three regions at once

Here, as a matter of fact, Lazio, Umbria and Tuscany are very close to each other and blend together to form a homogeneous food and wine zone that is among the most delicious in central Italy. We are visceral sea lovers and we didn’t think we would fit in at this lake location. We were wrong. It’s important to know that Lake Bolsena has the cleanest waters in Europe, it has waves like the sea, but above all, even in the high-season we find elegant silence that’s made specifically for escaping the chaos of the beach, yet with all the comforts of a coastal retreat.

hydrangeas are everywhere in bolsenaHydrangeas and lake fish

The central promenade that leads from the lake to the historic center is an ancient avenue lined with centuries-old sycamore trees and loads of hydrangeas. It’s truly lovely to do an evening passeggiata, then eat in the historic center and walk back to the lake to relax before bed. The hydrangea flower is very important here, so much so that it is also the base for a typical local liqueur. In June there is the Flower Festival, a truly amazing event for flower lovers like me. But the specialty of Bolsena is certainly the cuisine relying on lake fish. Coming here for a plate of small fried fish called latterini or acquadelle has become somewhat of an obsession.

acquadelle fried lake fishWhat we love about Bolsena

It’s hard to explain why we like this place so much, because there the reasons are many: we find all the villages around the lake and the town of Bolsena extremely elegant, coming here captivates us every time. We honestly love everything about Bolsena: the stone alleys, the local shops and the many places to eat, the artisan ceramics, the sound of the waves, the music coming from the dance halls on the lakeside fields, the flowers that are everywhere and that color every alley, the long walk to get to the historic center, the breathtaking sunsets that light up the sky fiery red, the typical cuisine and in the evening, when it gets dark, we love listening to the crickets.

sunset bolsena

all photos by Mussetti & Nicoletti

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