Lake Bolsena - Jewel in the Heart of Italy

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How to Get to Here

By Road

From Rome or Florence - the easiest thing is to take the A1 autostrada north or south directions respectively, until you reach the Orvieto turn off. After leaving the paystation follow the road north into Orvieto Scalo. You should see Bolsena signposted via the ring road and keep in mind it lies due west of Orvieto old town.

Look for the SR71, which heads down towards Montefiascone, after about 10 minutes driving you will see a side road SR13 branching off to Bolsena. The last few minutes of this route are always a joy as, without warning, you breast the lip of the Volcano crater and the lake suddenly comes into view.

From Siena
You can, of course, break out to the A1 and follow it down to Orvieto, but a more direct way is to follow the ancient Cassia SR2\SS2 route south east until you come to the Lake itself, then branch to the left and follow the via Cassia nord around the lake shore until you come to the town of Bolsena itself. It is about 130km and takes about 2.5 hours without stops.

From the Coast,
Although Bolsena is quite a way inland, the coast route is worth considering if you are coming from Pisa or Rome Fiumicino airports, as both have good access to the A12/SS1 coast road and this can be less busy than the A1. However it's not motorway all the way, so allow for this. Coming north from Rome it is probably best to drive up the coast until you reach Tarquinia and then head inland on SP3 for Tuscania and on to Marta and Montefiascone or, for a more picturesque drive, go a few miles further north to Montalto de Castro and follow the SS312 to Gradoli and approach from the northern end of the crater . From the North you can branch off at Grosseto (SP159)or Albinia (SR74), heading inland for Manciano, Pitigliano and the Lake itself.

By Rail and Bus/Taxi

Bolsena is not on the rail network and really, most people travelling by rail make their way to Orvieto and then find another way to travel the last few miles to the town itself.

Having said that, Orvieto is on the main Florence to Rome rail route and so there is a reasonable choice of trains going in both directions. It takes about a hour from Roma Termini and rather longer from Florence.

The nearest station to Bolsena is actually Montefiascone, which is just a few miles away around the Lake. Train services do run to here from Rome, but not as frequently as they do on the main North/ South route so be sure to check on this.

If you have landed at Fiumicino, bear in mind there are regular trains to Orte, a town about 15 miles south of Orvieto and you may be able to avoid the need to go into Roma Termini first. It all depends on the time you arrive at the airport station.

If you have landed at Ciampino, there is nothing for it but to take the airport bus into the city, which deposits you at Roma Termini. The buses are frequent but journey times are variable, due to Rome traffic. Count on the journey taking at least an hour, longer during rush hour.

Buses to Bolsena are not frequent and it is probably best to think about a taxi or hiring a car unless you plan to spend time in Orvieto and can arrange your time to correspond with the bus timetable.

There is a Hertz car hire office, just opposite the garage which is adjacent to the Orvieto train station approach.

We have never taken a taxi but bear in mind it is a 45 minute round trip, so discuss costs with your taxi driver before you set off.

By Air

The nearest mainstream airports are Rome Fiumicino and Ciampino and if you are driving, both have good access to the Rome ring road. Being newer, Rome Fiumicino is better organised, although being quite a lot bigger means actually getting through and out of the airport can take some time. At Ciampino, take the bus into the central station or find the courtesy bus that takes you round to the car hire area, as it's a 15 minute walk otherwise

If you not used to driving on the right, one might venture to say that the ring road is not the best place to learn. Just remember to keep your foot down, flash your lights at all sluggards and keep immaculate lane discipline and you will be swept along by the tide.

It is easy to miss important turns, so a sat nav or savvy human map reader is a good accessory during these early stages. The traffic thins out once you get north of Rome and reach the toll road and the road is excellent thereafter.

Some may prefer Pisa or Perugia, as they are smaller airports and the extra journey times offset by the lack of delays in the airport itself. Make sure you have prebooked your car hire as the airport car hire firms sometimes run out of vehicles during busy periods.

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