Lake Bolsena - Jewel in the Heart of Italy

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Activities for the Active

If you or your partner are keen on fishing, the attractions of the lake are obvious. The local Communes take great care to preserve the lake and control all other activities so that fish stocks flourish. There is a wide variety of species, including white fish "coregone", eels (Bolsena eels even get a mention from Dante) and other varieties of fresh water fish, including the odd pike.

You will need a permit to fish on the lake and from the shore. Best to enquire at the town's Tourist office and they will give directions to the permit authority a few doors down from the main square in Bolsena. They should also to be able to help with finding someone to hire you a boat.

Cycling around the lake is great fun and as most of it is quite flat, well within the capabilities of even the most occasional cyclist. You can hire bikes from a shop on the lake side.

If you are a serious cyclist then there are more challenging rides further afield, listed in both main guides recommended on this site - a few in Fleur Kinson's book and in Andrea Viaggiate's book there are longer tours and recommendations for mountain bike routes as well.

Boating on the Lake
If you just fancy an outing on the lake, stroll down to the small harbour in Bolsena and enquire about lake tours, which leave several times a day in high season. From the Bolsena quay look out for the large passenger launch of the Navigazione Alta Lazio. Different trips are available from other lake towns such as Capodimonte.

Boats can be hired for fishing purposes, but it is probably best to enquire at the local tourist office, as there are no obvious hire firms in the harbour.

Sailing Schools

The Lake is great place to sail and it's big enough to mean that you are never short of sea room, being 12 kms wide, 14 kms long and with a maximum depth of 151 metres. There are two schools on the North Shore. Click on the pictures to visit them.

Velzna Sailing school

Horse Riding

If you are keen to ride there are a number of horse riding schools just outside Bolsena. The closest is just along the Cassia SS2.

Magnificent 7 Ride Again

Visiting National Parks and longer Walks
If you like to get out in the wilds you should pay a visit to the Riserva Naturale di Monte Rufeno, 3000 hectares around the slopes of the mountain, quite close to Acquapendente - a town a few kilometres from the northern shores of the lake. A great place for walking, mountain biking and horse riding. There are all sorts of wild life, but no bears that we know of. You need to go to more remote parts to find them.

Parts of the reserve coincide with the Francigena way, a pilgrim trail that leads down from Siena to Rome and runs through the centre of Bolsena. Well worth studying the local guidebooks for a day excursion along this ancient route.

Also starting in the Reserve is "Il Sentiero del briganti" or the Way of Brigands. Safe enough nowadays, it is 60 miles of path leading across country to Vulci This is somewhat more challenging, but well within the scope of the determined walker or mountain biker. Make sure you visit the Tourist office to get details of the route first.

Towards the coastal Maremma, you can also visit the Selva del Lamone, a vast ancient oak wood that once belonged to the Farnese dynasty. The guide recommends you take a compass, as it is easy to get lost in the dense woodland!

There is an excellent section on all of these in "Lake Bolsena - A Guide to Discovery" by Andrea Viaggiante, available in local bookshops when you arrive, if you can't source it beforehand.

Serious walkers and explorers would do well to investigate Gillian Price's excellent guide to the area "Walking in Tuscany".

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