This is a park that includes the entire area of Lake Trasimeno – the largest lake on the Italian peninsular – and its banks. In addition to its historical importance as the theatre of the decisive battle of the Second Punic War, in which Hannibal massacred the Roman army by catching it by surprise, the lake is very important from a naturalistic point of view. Its origins are linked to phenomena of tectonic origin, that is, movements of the earth’s crust concomitant with the formation of the Apennines. Over many millennia, the resulting deep depression was filled with rainwater. A characteristic of the Trasimeno is, in fact, the lack of tributary rivers or emissaries that influence its depth. It is very shallow (measuring just 6 metres at its deepest point) compared to other great Italian lakes. While some small torrents fed by seasonal rains are responsible for its water supply, there is no outlets to drain the excess water. Dating back as early as the Roman era, artificial canals were built that flowed into the nearby river Nestore in order to prevent damaging floods.
The oases of the Trasimeno, patches of low water covered with thick reeds, are the ideal habitat for numerous species of fish, amphibians and migratory birds. The islands of Isola Polvese, Isola Maggiore and Isola Minore emerge luxuriant from the surface of the water and are small treasure troves of natural and cultural delights just waiting to be discovered. There are many and varied activities you can engage in in this beautiful natural landscape: birdwatching along the walkways between the reeds, excursions among the olive groves and vineyards and long cycle rides on the country roads that connect villages steeped in history like Castiglione del Lago or Passignano sul Trasimeno.