You have probably gathered by now that my favourite part of Umbria is Trasimeno! That area on the borders of Tuscany and Umbria characterised by the serene beauty of Lago Trasimeno, the largest lake on the Italian peninsula.
The Rocca at Castiglione del Lago
Castle topped medieval towns punctuate the shores of this deep turquoise lake which nestles between fields of sunflowers, olive groves, Cyprus and pine-woods. The pace of life is unhurried, 'tranquile'. The people warm and friendly. The food, wine and olive oil to die for!
Rocca at Assisi
Trasimeno has an interesting but incredibly violent history dating back to the destruction of the Roman army in 217BC when Hannibal, using an ambush technique never seen before, killed around fifteen thousand Romans whilst suffering a loss of only two thousand of his own forces.
This was followed in 543A.D. By the arrival of the Ostegoths when the lieutenant of 'Totila the Hun' Ostegoth Arrigo (or Rigone) used the charming medieval village of Castel Rigone at a height of nearly 700 metres above sea level, as a base from which to lay siege to Perugia.
If it weren't for the magnificent fortresses and towers adorning the picturesque hill-top towns one would never believe that this tranquil and serene area had ever suffered such a turbulent past.
The waters that once turned red with blood now glow in shades of orange and gold during spectacular sunsets.
Trasimeno's turbulent past, horrific as it was at the time , has left us with some amazing re-enactments both on film and during annual festivals. Castel Rigone (named after that lieutenant Arrigo or Rigone) celebrates the arrival of the Osteogoths with their Festa dei Barbari (festival of the Barbarians) during the first week of August. This is definitely one of the best festivals around in my opinion and not just because I happen to live in the village!
Festa dei Barbari: http://youtu.be/LunuE3MHCmI
Serving the wine during Festa dei Barbari
Then, in remembrance of the Battle of Trasimeno people from all over Italy set up camp just outside Tuoro in June and perform a reenactment dressed in the uniforms of the Celtic and Roman soldiers who took part in the conflict. In addition to the reenactment there are marches and maneuvers and faithful reconstructions of daily life as it was two thousand years ago. Another 'must'.
Info: www.prolocotuorosultrasimeno.it – firstname.lastname@example.org – Tel./Fax +39 075825220 – www.legioprimataurus.i
Take a look at the Hannibal and Trasimeno trailer below: