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2b. ISOLA MAGGIORE

2b. History, harbour and island walk

 

Walking around Isola Maggiore, Italy: Isola Maggiore is the second largest island on Lake Trasimeno and the only inhabited one with a small fishing village, which reached its height in the 14th-15th century, when some of the citizens became very wealthy employing skilful innovative fishing techniques.

Today there are only around thirty residents mostly making their living from tourism. Most of the buildings, including several churches, and the ruins of a Franciscan monastery, date from the 14th century.

In 1211 Saint Francis of Assisi came to pray at Lent and this has left its historic ecclesiastical legacy in churches and shrines. You can visit most of the important sites by falling the well laid out walking path around the island. This is great quiet and relaxing trip after two days on Eurostar and TGV trains across Europe!

See also 2a. Passignano on Lake Trasimeno 2c. Churches of Isola Maggiore

Walking around Isola Maggiore, Italy: The ferry from Passignano to Isola Maggiore.

 

Walking around Isola Maggiore (left and its 'castle'), Italy: The smaller island on the right is Isola Minore.

 

Walking around Isola Maggiore, Italy: Approaching the island.

 

Walking around Isola Maggiore, Italy: The Church of San Francesco and Guglielmi Castle - now in 2013, it is being developed into a luxury resort hotel and spa. The castle was built in the 1880s and then fell into disrepair.

 

Walking around Isola Maggiore, Italy: Quite a project going on in the old castle. Guglielmi's Villa The Guglielmi castle (Villa Isabella), was built in 1885 on the site onceoccupied by the 1328 convent and church of St Francis. Towards the end of the 1800s the marquis Giacinto Guglielmi di Civitavecchia purchased the fourteenth century monastery buildings and converted them into a sumptuous private residence, built in the form of a castle, to which he gave the name "Villa Isabella". It was in the 1900s, the marquis's daughter Elena encouraged the island women to take up Irish lace embroidery, a tradition not widely known or practised in Umbria, but which remains part of island life for the women today (see pictures further down the page).

 

Walking around Isola Maggiore, Italy: On the left is the round tower of an old windmill.

 

Walking around Isola Maggiore, Italy: The jetty docking area near the fishing village where tourists arrive and depart.

 

 

Walking around Isola Maggiore, Italy: Arriving at the fishing village on the island of Maggiore.

 

Walking around Isola Maggiore, Italy: Isola Maggiore is the second largest island on the lake and is the only inhabited one with a population of around 35 although in the past there were far more inhabitants, many becoming prosperous from the rich fishing of the lake. St Francis of Assisi lived on the island as a hermit from 1211. The 12th century Church of Saint Michael the Archangel on the top of the hill and the Romanesque church of S. Salvatore are both worth a visit. Some of the olive trees on the island are hundreds of years old. You can explore the old town and hill and well laid out paths cross the island, often passing through the ancient olive groves.

Walking around Isola Maggiore, Italy: The stall serving tourists arriving on the island.

 

Walking around Isola Maggiore, Italy: Houses - palaces on Via III Martiri in the old town.

 

Walking around Isola Maggiore, Italy: Looking down Via Guglielmi - houses - palaces

 

Walking around Isola Maggiore, Italy:

 

Walking around Isola Maggiore, Italy:

 

Walking around Isola Maggiore, Italy:

 

Walking around Isola Maggiore, Italy: Old houses of some other more wealthy fishing families of the past on Via Martiri (Via Tre Martiri).

 

Walking around Isola Maggiore, Italy: A selection of doorways in the old, but restored houses on Via Martiri.

 

Walking around Isola Maggiore, Italy:  An ancient olive tree on the hills above the fishing village.

 

Walking around Isola Maggiore, Italy: Characteristic old olive groves. The island is home to a surprising variety of plants, including, as well as olive, holm oak, pine, cypress, poplar and many types of Mediterranean shrub, apparently under threat from rabbits.

 

Walking around Isola Maggiore, Italy: The ruined base of a windmill?

 

Walking around Isola Maggiore, Italy: The herb - olbas oil plant ? rub it and smell it

 

Walking around Isola Maggiore, Italy: Looking down onto Lake Trasimeno through the olive groves.

 

Walking around Isola Maggiore, Italy: Part of the walk around the island near the 'shrine' to Saint Francis.

 

Walking around Isola Maggiore, Italy: Shrine-sculpture to St Francis. The Chapel of St. Francis in the bed of the Holy ? or the source rock of St. Francis ?

Walking around Isola Maggiore, Italy:

 

Walking around Isola Maggiore, Italy: The path around the island.

 

Walking around Isola Maggiore, Italy: Looking out the smaller island of Isola Minore

 

Walking around Isola Maggiore, Italy: The shrine-fresco on Via III Martiri

Walking around Isola Maggiore, Italy:

 

Walking around Isola Maggiore, Italy: The museum on the island - Museo del Merletto. A simple exhibition to illustrate the history of the island from fishing to lace-making and historic medieval churches.

 

Walking around Isola Maggiore, Italy: Irish-point lace-making was introduced to the island by Marchioness Elena Guglielmi in the early 1900s. The local women became skilled in making beautiful pieces of lacework.

 

Walking around Isola Maggiore, Italy: More lace for the table.

 

Walking around Isola Maggiore, Italy: Lace wedding dresses.

 

Walking around Isola Maggiore, Italy: Taking time out for a great icecream at Antica Gelateria del Corso, which is set behind one of the houses on Via Martiri and the garden looks down on the lake.

 

See also 2a. Passignano on Lake Trasimeno 2c. Churches of Isola Maggiore

 

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