Lake Trasimeno also offers the possibility of spending days on its islands. Isola Maggiore and Isola Polvese are two delightful islands with unique scenery and lush vegetation. There are beautiful walks around their perimeters and in the more central areas.
Both islands are equipped with a range of facilities and have small beaches for sunbathing and swimming.
The ferry service is punctual, with an hourly outward and return.
Located in the southeast part of the lake, with an area of almost 70 hectares and a perimeter of 5 km, Polvese is the largest of Lake Trasimeno’s three islands. It was definitely inhabited by the Etruscans, and evidence has also been found of later Roman occupation.
In 1139, the inhabitants of the island submitted to the Municipality of Perugia, asking for protection and offering in exchange obedience and the payment of taxes (Codes of Submission to the City of Perugia). This was the period in which the castle’s construction began as a protection against attacks by Siena and Arezzo. A village with several churches, which was once home to about 400 inhabitants, was built around it.
During the Middle Ages, both the Dominican and the Benedictine Olivetani orders were established on the island, remaining until the second half of the nineteenth century.
In 1643, the island was sacked by Tuscan troops during the war with the Papal States for the possession of the Duchy of Castro.
The counts of the noble Pianciani family from Spoleto bought the island in 1841 and turned it into a hunting reserve. In 1893 the property passed to Ferdinand Cesaroni, who gave it as a dowry to his niece. In 1939, it passed to Biagio Biagiotti, who began the construction of Casa Merlata, and the Villa and adjoining buildings, and tried to re-establish agriculture among the inhabitants.
When Count Citterio bought Polvese in 1959, he completed the work begun by Biagiotti and had the Roman architect Pietro Porcinai build a swimming pool in an old sandstone quarry. In the 1960s, the island was almost permanently abandoned, but in 1973 it was purchased by the Province of Perugia, who named it a Wildlife Protection Oasis. It was later renamed the Educational Science Park, and in 1993 it became part of the Trasimeno Nature Park.
Isola Maggiore in Umbria is one of Lake Trasimeno’s three natural islands and part of the municipality of Tuoro sul Trasimeno (PG).
The island has a population of 18 inhabitants (Istat, 2011), an area of 24 hectares, and a perimeter of 2 km. The coastline is 258 m above sea level, while the highest central point reaches a level of 309 m. The island is linked to the mainland by a ferry service that runs between the lakeside towns of Tuoro sul Trasimeno, Passignano and Castiglione del Lago.
The village is located on the western part of the island, stretching from the pier to the end of via Guglielmi, the main street. An extensive network of trails covers the whole island, winding through olive groves and woods of oak, pine, cypress, poplar and other Mediterranean species.
Despite its misleading name (greater), the island is not the largest on Lake Trasimeno. In fact, in order of size, the largest is Polvese, followed by Maggiore and finally Minore.