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A trip in spring is the best choice to enjoy the favourable climate and see the charming Italian villages bloom

In Spring, we witness the awakening of nature capable of transforming places and landscapes. One of the simplest pleasures is to explore the area and capture the surrounding sights and sounds. When you choose where to go in spring in Italy, get ready to be amazed by the incredible colours, scents and scenes, fully experience the fresh season of rebirth.
  • Lakes
  • Countryside and Hills
  • Wellness
  • Bike Tours
  • Outdoor sports
Lake Bolsena

Lake Bolsena

Lake Bolsena, land of popes' choice. The body of water of Bolsena is the largest volcanic lake in Europe. Surrounded by a crown of hills, its shores are dominated by magnificent medieval villages, rich in important works of art, a legacy of the Farnese seigniory and the many popes who loved this area. Two islands of lush nature, Bisentina and Martana, rise out of the lake. Its crystal-clear waters are an invitation to enjoy various water sports, including swimming. Scenery and great food. The area around Lake Bolsena is one of the most fascinating in Lazio, the ideal place to spend a weekend, or even a whole week, enjoying nature, art, beautiful landscapes and great food. The lakeside village of Bolsena is dominated by the Rocca Monaldeschi della Cervara, which houses a regional museum, and is rich in palaces, squares and churches, including the Baroque Cappella del Miracolo, and restaurants, where you can try dishes based on the lake's fish, eel and whitefish. Going on with the tour, clockwise, on a promontory rises Montefiascone, another beautiful medieval village, dominated by the imposing Rocca dei Papi (12th century), where the best view of the lake is a must. Here we drink white wine, the famous Est! Est!! Est!!! Back on the shore, you go through Marta, a fishing village with colourful boats moored on the banks, arriving at the Capodimonte promontory, dominated by the Rocca Farnese (the work of Antonio da Sangallo the Younger), with a beautiful little harbour from where you can sail to the islands, and beaches to relax. Valentano is another must-see promontory. It is a village where the Farnese family settled, embellished with a majestic fortress, monumental gates (Magenta and San Martino) and many palaces. Also in Gradoli, a pretty centre rising on a spur of tufa rock, is a Farnese palace, built by Pope Paul III, who had elected the village as his summer residence. Down the Brigands Trail The western shore of Lake Bolsena, from Gradoli to San Magno, the greenest and most wooded, is bordered by a section of the Sentiero dei Briganti, a 100-km itinerary that can be travelled on foot, by bicycle or on horseback. The trail runs from the Monte Rufeno Nature Reserve, on the border between Lazio, Tuscany and Umbria, to the village of Vulci in the Latium Maremma. This is a route that today has great naturalistic value, but at the end of the 19th century was among the most marginal and isolated areas of the country, where Brigandage, the phenomenon that spread among armed gangs and dedicated to robbery and murder, had fertile ground. Modern brigands travel through it to discover an unspoilt Italy, where there is still so much to discover. The island of Bisentina, a sweet spot Bisentina Island, the largest (17 hectares) of Lake Bolsena, is part of the municipal territory of Capodimonte: its name comes from a nearby hill, Mount Bisenzio. Inhabited since time immemorial, the island was a place of refuge for the coastal populations during the barbarian invasions, and later became a sweet spot when it was acquired by the Farnese family around the 15th century. There are records of numerous popes who spent their holidays here. That explains the presence of various chapels and religious buildings dating back to the 15th and 16th centuries, the most important of which is the Church of Saints James and Christopher, built around 1500 with a dome by Vignola, one of the greatest architects of the time. The island is still private and not open for visits, except during FAI (Fondo Ambiente Italiano) days. The Mystery of the Martana Island The island of Martana, with its characteristic half-moon shape, measures about 10 hectares and takes its name from the nearest coastal town, the village of Marta, about 2 km away. The history of this island is linked to one tragic events: the murder of Amalasunta, a queen of the Goths, daughter of Theodoric. Over the centuries, the island was inhabited by various monastic communities and disputed between the Holy See, Orvieto and Viterbo, then owned by the Farnese family, who preferred the Bisentina for their leisure activities, and gradually abandoned. Martana Island is also private today and mooring is not possible, but it can be seen externally thanks to the public lake navigation service, which offers excursions from the port of Bolsena, circumnavigating both islands and the promontory of Capodimonte.

The Gargano National Park

The Gargano National Park, an island full of biodiversity The Gargano National Park is situated in the spur of Italy, the promontory extending into the Adriatic Sea in the northern part of Apulia. It is a unique area, where 35 per cent of all Italian botanical species can be found, reflecting an equally wide variety of landscapes, from the sea of the Tremiti Islands to important wetlands that lap against dense forests. This is an ancient land, rich in culture, art and spirituality, with a diverse beauty. A surprising microcosm of different habitats The guiding thread of every visit to the Gargano National Park is to observe the variety of its habitats, which is reflected in a mosaic of landscapes. In an area no larger than an average Italian province, you will discover fine sandy beaches interspersed with high cliffs with caves and natural archways, coastal lakes and wetlands, stretches of Mediterranean bush bordering on thousand-year-old forest, karstic plateaus with sinkholes alternating with hills and steppe plains on which there are white villages such as Rodi Garganico, Vieste, Peschici on the coast or Ischitella, Mattina or Monte Sant'Angelo, all with sea views. If we add to this the fact that, from a geological perspective, the promontory was originally an island separated from the rest of the Italian peninsula, the variety is further increased by the presence of endemisms, i.e. species that only exist in this region, for example the campanula garganica or the Tremiti cornflower. This explains why the Gargano promontory astonishes naturalists and will amaze you too. The sculpted landscape of the Gargano The high white cliffs of the Adriatic coast seem sculpted, and the karst valleys that the action of rain makes deeper and deeper also appear sculpted. There are at least 4,000 sinkholes, cavities of karstic origin, to be found in the park: the one at Pozzatina, in the municipality of San Nicandro Garganico, is the most impressive. It is 132 metres deep and looks like a basin covered by a dense wood of holm oaks and oak trees. On the coast are several caves and natural arches formed by the force of the sea, which can be visited by boat from the ports of Vieste and Peschici. The wetlands of the Varano and Lesina lagoons The first person to chronicle the wetlands in the Gargano park was none other than the Swabian emperor Frederick II (1194-1250). In his treatise De arte venandi cum avibus (the art of hunting with birds), he describes falconry and the birdlife he observed mainly in Apulia in the marshy areas of Frattarolo and Lake Salso, today in the municipality of Manfredonia, known as the Swamps of Frederick II, which are rich in reed thickets, ideal places for birdwatching. In the northern area of the park, behind the dunes, are the lakes of Varano and Lesina, basins of brackish water that were created by the accumulation of debris that filled in coastal bays. Today, the lakes are considered important wetlands, as resting stations for migratory birds on their way from northern Europe to Africa. The entire limestone area of the Gargano is also rich in springs and pools of water that are vital for amphibians and reptiles. The animals and plants of the Gargano park Among the animals you can see in their natural habitat in the park is the Italian roe deer, an endemic subspecies that only lives here, as well as numerous wild boars, fallow deer, weasels and wild cats. There are numerous birds nesting in the Gargano, around 170 species, including five different types of woodpeckers, diurnal birds of prey, ospreys, the rare lesser duck eagle, as well as ducks, herons, wild geese and flamingos. There are some centuries-old trees, true monuments of nature, such as the 13-metre carob tree in the park of Pugnochiuso, in the municipality of Vieste, or the two 30-metre high Aleppo pines in Vico Gargano, where there is also a 17-metre high holm oak with a 5-metre diameter trunk, near the Capuchin monastery. As for the beech forests of the Foresta Umbra, these were designated a Unesco Natural World Heritage Site in 2017. And then come the flowers: 85 species of wild orchids of all colours and shapes bloom in the clearings and steppe grasslands. The Tremiti Islands The archipelago of the Tremiti Islands, 12 miles off the Gargano coast, is also part of the park and is one of the most beautiful islands in the Mediterranean. Due to the crystal clear waters, the caves and the wealth of underwater life, they are a paradise for diving enthusiasts. There are five small islands, of which only two (San Domino and San Nicola) are inhabited, two others (Capraia and Cretaccio) are little more than rocks, while Pianosa is inaccessible because it is in the Protected Marine Area nature reserve. San Domino, where the accommodation establishments are located, is covered by a dense forest of Aleppo pines that descend to the sea, shading small sandy coves and rocks: the ideal place for those who love to be surrounded by nature alone for a holiday by the sea.
Cycling tourism

Following the footsteps of the Giro d'Italia 2022: Salò-Aprica

Would you ever say that an itinerary in Lombardy is a triumph of lakes and mountains, archaeological finds and nature reserves? Well, that’s exactly it. Get ready to be surprised, then, as well as to struggle on climbs that have made cycling history The Lombardy you don’t expect The name Riviera dei Limoni (Lemon Riviera) already says it all: the western shore of Lake Garda, with its jagged profile of precipices, panoramic hairpin bends and rocky gorges, has such a mild microclimate that it resembles a fragment of the Mediterranean Sea, where citrus trees, palms and oleanders grow. It is a completely different scenario in Valle Sabbia, with the Pre-Alps, Lake Idro with the backdrop of ever more imposing mountains. The same goes for Valcamonica, a flat green valley between the Central Alps, where the River Oglio flows along its entire length. Finally, Valtellina, a slice of Lombardy that goes from the northern end of Lake Como up to Switzerland. The Stelvio National Park, a natural paradise of larch, pine and fir trees, is part of this area. On the saddle from Lake Garda to the mountains Lake Garda, the largest in Italy, and the Lombardy mountains of Valcamonica and Valtellina, with glaciers peeping out of the peaks, are the features of the cycling itinerary. The route that we tell you about here, taking its cue from stage 16 of the Giro d’Italia 2022, has only one risk: seducing you with a shimmering sheet of water and then abandoning you, forcing you to get off your saddle before some testing climbs. A number confirms this: 4,510. These are the metres of elevation gain. Unless you have the physique of champions, be smart: ride along just one of the three segments we propose here and take advantage of the natural and gastronomic riches encountered on the way. You will not regret it.
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