The Lakes of Italy

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The Lakes of Italy


Lake Albano

Lake Albano lies 293 metres (961 feet) above sea level, is elliptical in shape and, with its smooth surface, functions as a natural amphitheatre. The lake is part of the volcanic complex of Colli Albani that constitute an extremely scenic landscape and is a quite popular weekend destination for numerous Romans. Right on the rim of the crater is Castel Gandolfo which hosts the summer residence of the Pope.

Albano and Castel Gandolfo can look back upon a long history. According to legend, Ascanius, son of Aeneas, founded there Alba Longa; it was the oldest capital of the Sabine league. In the 12th century the area of Castel Gandolfo was dominated by a castle belonging to the Roman noble family of the Gandolfi, who gave the town its name.

Lake Bolsena

The Lake Bolsena lies within the northern part of the province of Viterbo that is called Alto Lazio (“Upper Latium”) or Tuscia. It is bordered mostly by the Roman consular road Via Cassia. In the southern part of the lake there are two islands: Bisentina and Martana.

Bisentina is the largest island, and it provides an interesting tourist excursion to admire the almost unsullied nature, made of thick forests of evergreen oaks, Italian gardens, enchanting panoramas and numerous monuments.

Located opposite the town of Marta, the island of Martana is reputed to have once guarded the relics of Saint Christine to keep them from falling into the hands of the barbarians. The island is currently private property and no visitors are permitted. The following towns are situated on the shore of Lake Bolsena: BolsenaMontefiasconeMartaCapodimonteValentanoGradoliGrotte di Castro and San Lorenzo Nuovo.
Lake Bolsena has numerous tourist establishments, particularly for nature tourism, largely in the areas of camping, agritourism and bed and breakfasts.

Lake Bracciano

Lake Bracciano is one of the eight largest lakes in Italy and fills one of the parts of the old Sabatino volcano. Three towns border the lake: Bracciano, Anguillara Sabazia and Trevignano.
Bracciano is chiefly remarkable for its fine Orsini Odescalchi castle dating from the 12th century which has preserved its medieval character.
Anguillara Sabazia is a delightful grouping of old houses built high on a promontory with amazing views of the deep blue waters of Lake Bracciano.

Trevignano is a nice village located on cliffs on the Bracciano shore. The medieval village quarter is a nice area to stroll around and the Archeological museum has an interesting collection on Etruscan objects. There are plenty of little cafes and restaurants where you can have a glass of wine and eat something afterwards. The hills of Tolfa are also a popular daytrip destination. From the lake Bracciano you can explore the region, rich in Etruscan history, medieval hill towns and glorious countryside.

Lake Nemi

Lake Nemi lies on the volcanic complex of The “Colli Albani”. Less famous but more suggestive, the lake-filled Nemi crater is smaller and shallower than the Albano crater. The town of Nemi sits on the northern rim of the Nemi crater, allowing for extremely beautiful views onto the crater lake below. To the southwest is the village of Genzano. The area is renowned as one of the most suggestive nature regions in Italy and as a part of a natural park it has for the most part been preserved intact. The ancient structures around the lake are free from Mediaeval and later buildings.

Lake Vico

Lake Vico is located in North Lazio at the bottom of a volcanic crater. The lake is surrounded by the Cimini Mountains, such as the vast Mount Venere. The lake surface is 12,93 km². Although it is fairly difficult to reach because of the dense vegetation, recently a tourist area was developed on the northern side where you can swim and do some fishing. Near the lake is the small village of Caprarola famous for its Farnese Palace.

The palace is shaped like a pentagon. In 1559 Alessandro II Farnese, cardinal and nephew of Pope Paul III, commissioned the great architect Vignola to transform the existing estate into a more amenable country residence for the Farnese family. The original structure had been designed by Antonio da Sangallo the Younger as a fortress.

For more information: 

Lazio Tourist Board

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