Suggested Excursions

Panicale Paciano Excursions Further Reading

The south Trasimeno area is an excellent base to visit the hilltop towns in the tourist trails of Umbria and Tuscany. They include Assisi, Orvieto, Cortona, or Siena. Or how about a day trip to Rome or Florence? Aside from these towns and cities however there are even more anonymous ones offering restaurants, markets, wineries, walks, churches, and other sights not included in the guidebooks. With a little sense of adventure and curiosity you will be rewarded with unforgettable experiences and wonderful memories. This page gives you suggestions to get you started in the hope that your explorations will take you even farther.

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Hill Top Towns
Walking and Trekking
Wineries
Lake Trasimeno
Cars & Daytrips to Rome and Florence


Hill Top Towns

From Panicale and Paciano it is easy to visit cultural and historical centres such as Perugia, Assisi, Arezzo, Orvieto, Cortona, and Siena. We recommend a visit to one of the three islands on the lake, or to Citta della Pieve , the home town of Pietro Vannucci (Il Perugino). Chiusi has an interesting Etruscan Museum (The second largest in Italy) and can be a stop over when heading for some wine tasting in the wine cellars of Montepulciano. Your Shopping for fashionable clothes can be done in the university city of Perugia, where time permitting, you can also attend Italian courses in the Universita Per Stranieri. More on the above, however, you can read about in guide books as they are all a badly kept secret. Tips harder to find, however, include some of the following. It is just a little taste of what the area has to offer in terms of hidden jewels. You should be able to find more with a pinch of curiosity when on location, and the fact that a lot is not included in any guidebook is usually not an excuse.

Walking and Trekking

Trekking maps are to be found in the area. A long walk around the green hilly landscape, with its olive, chestnut, oak and pine trees, vineyards, wild flowers and aromatic herbs is a unique experience. On the top of the Pietrasvella mountain, a couple of Hannibal's soldiers managed to confound the big Roman army during the Punic wars by lighting fires and making lots of noise. Little did the Romans know that their enemy was in fact on the other side of the Lake, ready to attack them. From Pietrasvella, Lake Trasimeno can be seen to the north, and the Nestore Valley to the south. It is an excellent location for a picnic. Another excursion is the Cappuccini monastery, which was abandoned during the French Revolution, and completely destroyed in the 1970's. An old suggestive cemetery and church remains and of the location where it once stood.

A walk on the Ceraseto Road, connecting Paciano to Panicale is a must, as the views over the Trasimeno Valley are unforgettable. You will come across the Tower of Orlando, the only remains of "Old Paciano", destroyed during one of the numerous wars in the middle of the 11th century. You will also stumble upon the old location where they believed was the location of temple of Janus. The temple was later replaced by a pagan temple dedicated to Ceres, the Roman goddess of Agriculture. Today, the Ceraseto church from the 16th century stands in the very same location. Traces of the reused building materials from the Etruscan temple still visible in the outside walls, including a stone depicting the two faced Janus. On the inside, a fresco by Giovan Battista Caporali. Door closed? Just knock at the door of the building next to it, and the guardians will let you in. Just make sure it is not siesta time (You should leave a tip). To reach Panicale or Paciano takes about 35 to 45 minutes on foot, and has to be done at least once. If you decide to drive, it takes five minutes, but you will miss out on half an hour of scenery, nature, silence, and our respect. Ninety year-olds walk the street daily, so don't let us hear any excuses!

Wineries

Ever heard the saying one shouldn't drink & drive? Well, you definitively can't tell Mr. Lamborghini that! When he sold his car factory, he moved to Panicarola, about 5 km from Panicale. He started growing grapes and producing his own wine and spumante. (As well as opening a golf course, restaurant and a residence). He died recently, but the company is now run by his widow who will gladly take on visitors. A 1971 Countach is still there to be viewed, as well as his famous wine cellars for tasting.

About a kilometre west of Panicale is the old Querciolana convent. It took its origin in the 14th century from a small niche showing the Virgin Mary feeding the child. A church was built around the shrine, and consecrated in 1543 by Pope Paul III. The original painting is surrounded by frescos. Today, the convent is privately owned, but the owners will be more than pleased to show it to you. They will also show you their wine cellar and let you taste and buy their white and red wines, currently sold in the whole region.

Lake Trasimeno

Or how about a swim in the Trasimeno Lake? In Castiglione del Lago, at a 10 minutes drive, there is a beach. The Trasimeno lake is in its deepest spot 8 meters (24 feet), resulting in the water almost always being warm. You have to walk far before the water is deep enough to swim in, making its beaches very safe for children. Horse riding can easily be organised at club Oasis, also in Castiglione. There are ferries taking you to Isola Maggiore (with restaurant, fortress and village) where San Francesco spent some weeks meditating. If you have more time, the Polvese Island has the beautiful ruins of a monastery and a castle. Together with its less crowded beaches, it beds for a great picnic. A walk around the Island takes slightly over an hour.

Cars & Daytrips to Rome and Florence

If one wants to take a day trip to Rome or Florence, it takes between one to two hours. Our recommendation is to leave the car in Chiusi or Terontola (a 25 minutes drive from Panicale, 20 from Paciano) and take the train the rest of the way. Depending on the type of train (IC or IR), the trip takes over one hour, but always less than two hours. You will avoid driving and getting lost in the big cities, and not be faced with parking and traffic problems. In Rome, you arrive at the central station where all you need to do is to catch the subway or a bus to your destination. In Florence, most of what you will want to see is within walking distance from the train station so all you need is a pair of good shoes.

Should you not be interested in visiting the surrounding areas, Panicale and Paciano offers everything you need in terms of shops and services. Many people have stayed in Panicale with out a car, but in my opinion they have missed out on a lot. A car in the area is a must in the whole Umbrian and Tuscan Regions. Public transportation is adapted to the working hours, and will take you only to tourist invaded towns. Bicycles are not an option due to the hilly terrain and the distances involved. There are so many hidden jewels in the area that you would otherwise miss. The roads are good, and if you avoid the large cities such as Rome or Florence (Which can be reached by train), you should not have any problems. Avis has an office by the station in Chiusi, while all other rental companies are represented in Perugia. Both towns can be easily reached by public transportation, so you should consider a car for at least part of your stay.

Restaurant Reviews

Here is a list of our favourite restaurants in the area. There is nothing like a free lunch, so I will only give you their names and the town they are located in. It will be then up to you to find them. Do not get scared by our irony and have courage, because they are all worth a visit and the experience. You can start dieting when you get home, because when in Umbria, do like the Umbrians do. Live to eat, and not eat to live... Click for more...


Activities

Why not take a break from exploring the secrets of Umbria and Tuscany using one of our activities to better understand the local culture? Take a cooking course and learn how to make your own pasta or create that complete Italian dinner you've dreamt about. You could take Italian lessons or how about some art classes? We can even help you with getting married! All the activities are close to our rental properties and can be booked in conjunction with your accommodation.
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Panicale

Panicale is one of thousands of fortified towns that today have become villages in the Umbrian and Tuscan landscapes. It contains artistic and architectural treasures form the middle ages and the renaissance. Treasures that people stuck on the tourist trails and unaware of their existence, never get a chance to see. Take a walk to Panicale if Paciano is too sleepy and discover its churches, its art, theatre, shops, bars and restaurants. Click for more...


Paciano

Paciano is a small hill top town retaining its appearance as a medieval castle. Its main source of income is olive oil, as tourism has not caught on. You are thus guaranteed peace, tranquility, exquisite views over the Lake Trasimeno valley and an excellent location off the beaten track. Its vicinity to Panicale makes reaching this town an pleasant walk rewarding you good restaurants and an art museum. Click for more...

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