Visit Castiglione del Lago
Castiglione del Lago is a pretty village on a peninsula on the western shores of Lake Trasimeno, towards the north-east of the Umbria region of central Italy, and is officially listed as one of the 'most beautiful villages in Italy'.
The territory was originally subject to rule by the Etruscans and Romans, then from the 13th century the town had a great strategic importance because it controlled the roads that went from Rome to Florence. Most of the early defensive walls around the town can still be seen today.
Explore Castiglione del Lago
When you arrive you will want to park outside the historic centre and explore on foot: this is not difficult, the village is quite compact. The city is still surrounded by its 13th century walls through which there are several gates, such as the Fiorentina and Siena Gates, where you can enter the old town.
Italy This Way comment: Castiglione del Lago is quite a small town and has few 'remarkable' monuments but is really very pleasant to visit and has very much the feel of a lively holiday resort compared to most hill villages in Tuscany and Umbria!
From a town planning viewpoint, Castiglione del Lago follows a geometric design with three squares, three main roads and three gates, and a castle donjon that also follows a triangular design. This urban layout was widely imitated (on a smaller scale) elsewhere in Trasimeno and the Val di Chiana.
Among the religious buildings in Castiglione del Lago the Church of Santa Maria Maddalena stands out. This church was built in the early 19th century on the ruins of an earlier church of medieval origin and contains frescoes by Pier Mariano Vittori (1817-1888) with the collaboration of Alceste Ricci.
Also remarkable in the church is an altarpiece depicting the 'Madonna and Child, St. Anthony Abbot and Saint Mary Magdalene'* painted in 1500 by Eusebio da San Giorgio (1470-1550), a pupil of Perugino (1450-1520).
* The work is particularly well known because some years ago it was the center of a heated controversy over its attribution to Raphael (1483-1520).
Another church of interest is the Church of Saint Dominic of Guzman, built in the first half of the 17th century by Duke Alessandro Fulvio Corgna as a sign of gratitude for the successful healing of his wife Eleanor de Mendoza.
Della Corgna palace
From an artistic point of view the real jewel of Castiglione del Lago is the Della Corgna Palace which contains some frescoes of exceptional value (another palace of the Corgna lords can be seen in Città della Pieve).
This Palace was built by Galeazzo Alessi (1500-1572), then completed by Diomede (died 1592) and was considered to be like a royal palace because of its gardens. The building has four floors and was divided into two apartments, for Diomede and Cardinal Fulvio. The richness of the building is enhanced by the cycle of frescoes, attributed to Nicholas Circignani (known as Pomarancio, 1520-1597):
“In the entrance hall, the frescoes celebrate the marriage of the Duke Diomedes with Portia Colonna, chosen among others as Paris chose Venus, the most beautiful of the goddesses. In the main entrance the frescoes show the enterprises of the founder of the dynasty, Ascanio, with the evolution of his military career" (W. Pagnotta, “Monumenti dipinti. Gli affreschi del Palazzo della Corgna in Castiglione del Lago (Italia)”).
Castiglione del Lago beaches
Although we are quite a long way from the coast of Italy, visitors will enjoy spending time on one of the beaches on the edges of Lake Trasimeno - in fact many visitors spend a week on one of the campsites here to enjoy the combination of the lake and beach activities, the cafes and restaurants in Castiglione del Lago and also to enjoy the surrounding countryside.
Attractions near Castiglione del Lago
The landscape around Castiglione del Lago, surrounded by woods and a natural environment which dominates a lake full of fish, is a very “artistic landscape", while the area around the lake is full of trails suitable for trekking and mountain biking.
You can find more local travel ideas in the Umbria guide.