We spent a few days at a lovely farm in Castiglione del Lago.
Italy has so much to offer, not just beautiful and famous cities like Firenze, Rome, Venice and more. Also, small towns scattered in every region around the country. We spent a few days exploring this small town close to Perugia in the Umbria region. During our time here we stayed in an agriturismo where we had a chance to experience a bit of farm life as well.
Keep in mind that the pandemic is having a terrible effect on tourism all over the world. Italy is suffering from this decrease in foreign tourism. However, most Italians have decided to explore their own country this year. They feel it is safer to stay closer to home in case something happens again. What does this mean? That there is much more movement of locals all over Italy. Many are discovering the many incredible treasures that their own home country has to offer! This town is for sure one of them!
Where did we stay?
This was a very special experience for us! For our two nights here we stopped in the Agriturismo La Quercia del Pentimento. We actually enjoyed it so much that we decided to stay an extra night! Some of you may wonder, what is an agriturismo? It is a farm-stay. An independently-owned farm which in part is being used for accommodation purposes as well. The rooms may be in the farmhouse or in buildings around the property. Some also offer fully furnished apartments so you can be completely independent during your stay, like this one did.
Some agriturismos also offer meals. In the Agriturismo La Quercia del Pentimento they offered breakfast, lunch, and dinner if requested from their guests. Most of the food was made fresh with ingredients directly from their farm, such as produce, eggs, meat, wine, and olive oil. They also taught our kids how to make pici, a traditional pasta made in this area. Your culinary experience becomes as special as your stay there!
Agriturismos are usually located in the stunning countryside due to their farming activity. Plus another very special aspect of it is that you usually have a chance to have a more direct relationship with the owners. In this one in particular they were extremely friendly and welcoming. They made you feel like you were invited into their home which makes it even more pleasant especially for us. In fact, our kids were so comfortable moving around the farm that they would often wander off just to go chat with one of them while they were cooking. Such a unique experience! What made it even more special for the kids was that in this one there were many animals as well: a donkey, chickens, rabbits, pigs, and cows.
A taste of farm life
During our time there we also had a real taste of farm life. During the day we wandered around to see all the animals. We had a chance to chat with some of the members of the family. We met nonna Nella while she was getting the daily eggs from her chickens. Of course, our kids offered to help in the following days! Check out the video to see how much fun they had. They loved going with her to feed the donkey and the rabbits too. The tough part especially for Emma was realizing that at one point they do kill and serve the animals that they were feeding. Still a tough concept for them!
We also had a chance to talk with Valentino, the actual farmer. He explained to us more about working on a farm. We learned about the process behind making the beautiful hay rolls you see all over the fields in the countryside this time of the year. He explained to us the whole cycle for making mulch for the plants. One of the most important lessons we learned from him is that nothing is wasted on a farm. Everything has an important role in continuing the farm life! It was an extremely valuable learning moment for all 5 of us!
Exploring Castiglione del Lago
During our time here we went to expore the lovely town of Castiglione del Lago, which was only 15 minutes away from the farm. This village sits on the southwest corner of Trasimeno Lake, Umbria’s largest and Italy’s fourth-largest lake. It used to be an island on the lake. However over the centuries, as the town grew, buildings, piazzas, and churches filled the gap between the island and the shore. Today it is all connected
The historical part of town is a well preserved medieval village that looks over the lake from its high position. Still surrounded by walls with 3 entrance gates and inside the town, there are three piazzas and three churches.
Historically Castiglione del Lago was contended between Etruscans and Romans. Later on by Perugians and Tuscans. This caused many fights throughout the years for its control. This explains why the original fortifications were destroyed and rebuilt many times during this time. Under the emperor Frederick II in the 13th century, Rocca del Leone was built. A fortress designed to give strategic control thanks to its elevated position over the lake.
What can you do here?
Of course, exploring the little village is a must-do! Inside the medieval village as well as on the lakefront, there are restaurants, cafes, bakeries, and small shops selling typical products, such as oil, cheese, truffles, wine. It is also simply fun to walk around the walls and enjoy the stunning view of Lake Trasimeno. While visiting the historical part you should make a stop to the fortress Rocca del Leone and enjoy the peacefulness of the park right out of the walls looking over the lake.
If you want to experience the lake more directly, from Castiglione del Lago you can also take the ferry boat to explore a couple of Islands. The biggest and highest of the islands is Isola Polvese. Since 1995 it is owned by Parco Regionale del Trasimeno. You can also visit Isola Maggiore, which is the only one still inhabited. The third is Isola Minore which is privately owned and not visitable. Of course, you can also simply go swimming in the lake!
Whatever your preferences are when exploring a new place, this area has plenty to offer! Whether you are seeking a more traditional and full of history vacation or a more adventures one or a more relaxing and laid back one here you can cover any of these!
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Check out the agriturismo we stayed at La Quercia del Pentimento!!!