Discover the age-old little town of Magione where time seems to stand still.
Magione is a lovely, picturesque little town in the province of Perugia with just under 15,000 inhabitants perched on the hills overlooking Lake Trasimeno.
Called Pian di Carpine in bygone times, the little town takes its current name from magione, which was the structure built to welcome and assist pilgrims who stayed in the town, later transformed into the Castello dei Cavalieri di Malta.
The little town’s origins are Etruscan-Roman. Magione was also part of the Byzantine Corridor, a crucially important territory during the Lombard dominations that stretched as far as Rome, limiting the dominion of its enemies. Magione is also famous for the plot hatched against Cesare Borgia. The events took place in the Castello dell’Ordine dei Gerosolimitani and are described in detail by Machiavelli in his most famous work, ‘The Prince’.
Along the streets of Magione, every year one of the most important events in the little town takes part, the Settimana Magionese (‘Magione Week’). Held at the beginning of August, this festival is now in its 40th year. The atmosphere of a bygone era is brought back to life during this week through its parades, wonderful medieval costumes and the real stars of the show, the four districts of Magione: Casenuovi, Caserino, Comune and Stazione.
The most significant part of the event – which is also the grand finale – is the Palio del Giogo, a re-evocation in memory of Magione’s rebellion against the Knights of Malta in the 13th century. During the Palio, the pairs of runners representing the four districts compete in a race with a yoke on their shoulders, trying to beat their opponents and cheered on by numerous supporters. Musical entertainment and games are put on during the evenings and numerous delicious tradition dishes from Magione are prepared to tickle your taste buds, using only the best locally-sourced produce. You can participate in guided tours to explore the area and its history, monuments, works of art and Magione’s most important, contemporary artists.
The Giogo Run Avis Magione is also held during the Settimana Magionese. This is a 10-km running race with a glittering panoramic view of wonderful Lake Trasimeno.
Another important event held in Magione is Olivagando, profumi e sapori d’autunno, which is held annually in November and involves the majority of the population. It is a food and wine event that focuses on oil, as can be deduced from its name, and which brings together local producers and associations. The location is the historic centre of Magione, with its main streets hosting food and wine stands where you can taste the fine oil and superb, typical Umbrian dishes.
You will be serenaded by lively musical entertainment in the evening. There are also educational workshops for children, trails to follow on foot or on horseback to learn about the areas where the olive tree grows and understand the problems related to its cultivation; painting competitions and exhibitions, all aimed at expanding your knowledge of the oil produced in the area of Lake Trasimeno. And promoting its very high quality! During the event, prizes will also be awarded in the dolce goccia olive oil competition, which identifies and celebrates the best oils among the extra virgin olive oils produced by olive growers around Lake Trasimeno and in adjacent areas.
A particularly popular event in Magione is the Carnevale Magionese, with its multicoloured masks, allegorical floats and its undisputed star, Toni. This puppet, measuring over 2 metres in height, is paraded through the town together with other giant masked figures. At the end of the parade, which takes place on the last Sunday of the carnival, the Processo a Toni or ‘Toni Trial’ is held in Piazza Matteotti. This trial sees Toni accused and sentenced by the other giants for crimes committed in Magione. The Toni bonfire finally brings the carnival to an end, in line with annual tradition.
The extraordinary location of the Castello dei Cavalieri di Malta, with its beautiful 15th-century courtyard, has hosted the annual Trasimeno Music Festival fifteen times, between late June and early July. The event is both intimate and grandiose at the same time. The sublime concerts attract musicians and classical music enthusiasts from all over the world every year.
After the first ten days of July, Magione holds the Festival delle Bande e Majorettes. Now in its 14th year, the event is dedicated to music, entertainment and high spirits, involving adults and young people, with groups from all over the region.
In one of the hamlets of Magione, for example in Monte del Lago, the Festival delle Corrispondenze has now been held for 8 years. Every year it brings together numerous writing enthusiasts from all over Italy in the second weekend of September. During the Festival, the award ceremony for the Premio Nazionale Vittoria Aganoor Pompilj takes place, which has committed itself over the past 20 years to paying homage to the writer while keeping letters and correspondence alive, which she loved throughout her life.
In San Savino, another hamlet of Magione, the Sagra del Gambero e del Pesce del Lago Trasimeno (‘Lake Trasimeno Shrimp and Fish Festival’) takes place every year in mid-August. During the festival, many food and wine stands offer numerous prawn-based delicacies and many other excellent dishes that superbly illustrate the area and its origins. The high-quality dishes are always different on various days. Visitors are entertained by the musicians who perform every day, offering live music of different genres with performances held in the little piazza, in the castle and at the Green Night Pub.
Between the late July and the first few days of August, San Feliciano offers the Festa del Giacchio which has now been held 39 times. The event lasts about ten days and various different activities are on offer to visitors. One of them is the 8-km run from San Feliciano to Monte del Lago with the Trofeo del Giacchio. Then there’s the Fiaccolata delle Barche con il lancio del Giacchio (Torchlit Procession of Boats and casting of the Giacchio). And finally, chess enthusiasts can pit their wits against each other during the annual Trofeo di Scacchi del Trasimeno (Trasimeno chess competition).
And for anyone with energy and drive or just a good deal of curiosity, there are dance evenings, sports events, theatrical performances, exhibitions and guided tours with fishermen. In addition to the rowing races, if you are up for a rowing challenge with one of the typical Lake Trasimeno boats you can take part in the Rematore per un giorno event. Feast on fantastic fish dishes from Lake Trasimeno and enjoy the stunning firework display on the lake that wraps up the event.
The culinary specialties of Magione obviously include the numerous fish dishes from Lake Trasimeno. But why not try an appetizer, such as crostini con uova di carpa (croutons with carp eggs)? Or a first course, such as tagliarini al gambero e al pesce persico (tagliarini with shrimp and perch) or gnocchetti alla tinca affumicata (gnocchi with smoked tench), followed by the fried or kebab-style European perch or and the delicious tegamaccio, with eels, pumpkinseed perch, European perch and tench. Other dishes typical of Magione are tagliatelle al ragù d’oca (tagliatelle with goose ragout), the stuffed flatbread called torte al testo and the fritters called arvoltoli. The latter can be either sweet or savoury and have been known to the inhabitants of Magione since at least the 17th century.