Monuments, restaurants, wine shops
The purpose of this page is to give you an approach to the city and its culinary tradition. The symbol of the town on the lake is the Monaldeschi della Cervara Fortress that dominates the historical centre from above. Built during the 13th and 15th centuries, it hosts the Territorial Museum of Lake Bolsena. The museum tells the story of the lake area ever since prehistory. Among the finds on exhibit is a marble sarcophagus with scenes of a Bacchus cult. A tower leads onto a spacious terrace where you can enjoy the panorama of the lake and the archaeological sites from the Etruscan-Roman period, just a few dozen metres from the Fortress.
Leaving the Fortress you can enter the historical centre, walking through the narrow streets; of you take a good look at the houses you will see many special architectural elements and traces of numerous restructuring done over the course of the centuries. At last you will come to the San Rocco Fountain (16th – 18th centuries). We suggest that you wander around the alleyways with no special destination. Towards the south you will leave this oldest quarter through the San Francesco Door.
Across from this door, beyond the broad square, is another pedestrian area with its main street leading to the Santa Cristina Basilica. This contains the stones of the Bolsena miracle; which gave rise in the Christian world to the Corpus Domini feast. From the Miracle Chapel you can access the Santa Cristina Grotto, part of the Christian catacombs.
Once you have made your tour of this town, you will probably be hungry. In the historical centre and on the lakeshore you will find everything, from the trattoria to the restaurant, from the tavern to the pizzeria. The Bolsena speciality is lake fish cooked in a variety of ways. There are also many other tasty traditional dishes. The surrounding countryside is generous and among the most prized vegetables is the “pomodoro scatolone” (carton tomato) typical of the area. Local olive oil guarantees exquisite dressing. For dessert we suggest trying artisan ice cream that has won prizes at trade fairs.
Wine enthusiasts can taste the best wines in the area at characteristic wine cellars in the town; quite typical is the wine cellar near the Fortress, including seating directly on the wall opposite. Ask if you can see the wine cellar – it is very suggestive. Since good wine is in abundance in this area, you can choose your favourite place for an aperitif or to end the day with a bang. And once you’ve found your favourite place, you’ll surely have a chance to practice your Italian – this is the advantage of a town with an open mentality on a human scale!