A Drive Around Lake Bolsena

For a pleasant day trip from Benano, I’m always happy to take a drive around Lake Bolsena. There are any number of wonderful ways to circumnavigate the lake. Here’s a description of how Paul and I did it a couple of years ago, and the map below shows how Lynn and I did it a couple of weeks ago:

We started in Tuscania, just south of Lake Bolsena and about an hour’s drive from Benano. We parked easily in the lot outside the old city gates and walked around the lovely city center with Jim Flege, the cousin of a Cincinnati friend. Jim lives in Tuscania (lucky man!) and is a terrific tour guide (lucky us!).

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There are stunning views of the valley and ancient sites across the valley. These ruins mark the site of the original village that dates back to Etruscan times. The city center moved several times over the centuries to its current location.

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We had lunch at Da Alfreda, a small local restaurant near the elevated park. The food was very good and reasonably priced. There is outdoor seating just waiting for the weather to improve.

After lunch, we wandered more of the city’s small streets and quaint alleys without any real chance of getting lost. We love the city, and I know I’ll come back. I hope to visit Jim again, and would heartily recommend the small rental apartment in their house to any Tuscania-bound travelers.

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Leaving Tuscania, we headed back to the lake and drove east along the shore. We stopped a few times for photo ops. There are beautiful views of the lake, the islands in the lake, and the surrounding valleys.

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Our next stop was Montefiascone, which is on the Via Francigena, the ancient route faithful pilgrims took to get to Rome. What a beautiful town this is! What a setting! What history! The Fortress of the Pope, dating to the 1400’s, is at the top of the hill, and there are great views of a beautiful Duomo from up there.

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The very steep center of town is a good place to wander in admiration of ancient architecture while observing the locals going about their daily business.

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It would make perfect sense, itinerary-wise, to head straight back to Benano through Castel Giorgio. We didn’t do that, though, because we had a date with the Rome Philharmonic in Orvieto’s glorious Duomo. Uto Ughi was the soloist / conductor of the beautiful concert. But who am I kidding? That explanation is just an excuse to post this photo, taken just before the concert began:

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