The natural beauty of Lago di Bolsena’s setting within the Volsini hills, teamed with its pure crystal clear waters make it the perfect beach lake location. The largest volcanic lake in Italy, Bolsena is a crater lake which formed around 370,000 years ago. Thanks to its volcanic origins a tour around its perimeter is a delight and only a 20 minute drive from Viterbo. In the centre of the lake are two privately owned islands, Martana and Bisentina, the latter was once a summer residence to the Popes and is now home to oak groves, ornate gardens and several small chapels. Bisentina is accessible by boat trips from the towns of Bolsena and Capodimonte.
Along the shores of the lake lie a number of towns renowned for their culinary and artistic traditions. On the southern side of the lake is the picturesque sleepy fishing village of Marta. The small town of Capodimonte lies on the western shore, with its jutting headland and splendid Farnese Fortress overlooking the town and its sheltered harbour. Capodimonte has a long stretch of volcanic sandy beach, making it ideal for families and water sports enthusiasts. It also has a number of bars and restaurants along the waterfront together with ample parking facilities. The larger town of Bolsena, the lakes namesake, is an ancient Etruscan town and has a large variety of bars and restaurants serving local fresh water fish, both in the old town and down by the waterfront and harbour, here you will also find beach facilities a short stroll away.
Set within the vast wooded nature reserve of Lake Vico in the Cimini Hills and originating around 100,000 years ago, Lago di Vico is the highest volcanic lake in Italy with an altitude of 510 meters. Surrounded by the tall hills of Fogliano (965m) and Venere (851m) its peaceful location high up in the woods creates the perfect setting for lazy days on its secluded volcanic sandy beaches, time spent on the lake canoeing, or picnics in the cool shade of the beech trees at the north west of the lake. There are plenty of picnic areas with benches and BBQs dotted around these woods. It is also both a walkers and bird watchers paradise, surrounded by dozens of trails crisscrossing the lush vegetation of the wood land areas.
Lago di Vico creates a more relaxed vibe, than Bolsena, however still offers its visitor a small selection of good cafes, restaurants and water sports along its north western shore. A 20 minute drive up into the hills from Soriano nel Cimino, Lago di Vico forms part of the municipalities of the historic towns of Caprarola and Ronciglione. The largest, Ronciglione, set on the slopes of the Cimini Mountains is worth a visit for its medieval castle and baroque style cathedral.