|Bolsena is crossed by Via Cassia, the ancient Roman road which during the Middle Ages became known as Via Francigena.
The stretch of Via Francigena from Bolsena to Montefiascone is a path that leads from Basilica of Santa Cristina in Bolsena (known for the miracle of Corpus Christi) to Rocca dei Papi in Montefiascone, for a total of about 18 km.
The main part of the path goes through olive groves, hills and woods and goes over some parts of the ancient Via Cassia, with wonderful views of the lake.
Upon arrival at the fortress Popes of Montefiascone you are greeted by a great 360 degrees view from the Tower of the Pilgrims: here you can see the gentle waters of Lake Bolsena
VF - 37 - From Acquapendente to Bolsena | 22.1 km, 05:55 hours
After a visit to the Church of Santo Sepolcro (its bright crypt was built in accordance with the church of the same name in the Holy Land) the route continues without problems till San Lorenzo Nuovo, where you can admire views of Lake Bolsena. Going down the volcanic crater, undertake a pleasant route along excavated streets leading to Bolsena, going up and down among olive groves, fields, and forests in the background. Road-houses and water only in San Lorenzo Nuovo.
VF - 38 - From Bolsena to Montefiascone | 18.3 km, 05:17 hours
Among olive groves and brushes the path detaches from Bolsena and, after going up and down, admiring wonderful sights of the lake, come back to the paving along the ancient Via Cassia. The 360 degree view from the Tower of Pilgrims in Montefiascone is exciting. Pay attention to traffic walking along the tracks between Croce del Pellegrino and Ponte della Regina, Cassia Main Road till Poggio Lungo. Water supply only in the first section of the route.
Church of Santa Maria di Castell
The small church of Santa Maria di Castello, also known as Madonna of the Snow, stands near the Rocca dei Papi (Papal Fortress). According to tradition, Pope Innocent the 3rd had it built during his 1207 visit to Montefiascone, to provide the Fortress with a Palatine church. The building originally had a nave and two aisles separated by pillars, whereas the current layout is the result of massive work done during the 19th century, when most of the dilapidated ancient structures were knocked down; only the presbytery, readapted to the church we see today, was spared. Inside, the niche to the left of the altar hosts an original fresco of the Madonna on the throne with Child and four saints and the commissioner, early 14th century.
Church of San Flaviano
The relics of the martyr Flaviano, killed in 361 during the persecutions of Giuliano l’Apostata, are kept in the church of San Flaviano a Montefiascone. The present building was built between the 12th and 14th centuries and rises on the site of an older church dedicated to the Virgin.
We enter the lower church, whose architecture is very complex, from the main façade. As a matter of fact, its front part is composed of an avant-corps with a nave and two aisles, beyond which the central nave reaches the upper church, while the aisles maintain the same height. Three apses open on the back wall; the side ones have a curious oblique position due to the previous layout of the building, quite probably polygonal or octagonal.
There are four chapels on the left aisle; the third chapel hosts the tomb that tradition identifies with that of Bishop Johannes Defuk who, according to legend, gave the name Est! Est!! Est!!! to Montefiascone's white wine and who died from drinking too much of it.
The walls of the lower church are covered almost entirely with frescoes, datable between the 14th and 16th centuries.
A staircase at the end of the right aisle leads to the upper church. This church also has a nave and two aisles, separated by pillars and columns on which arches rest; the two toward the façade are of extraordinary width and belong to the early 14th century phase. The floor at the centre of the central nave opens onto the lower church. The apses are missing; the so-called Chair of Urban the 4th, opposite of which is the altar, is found on the back wall (actually here western counter-façade).
The village of San Flaviano developed around the church. Sigerico stopped here during his return trip from Rome to Canterbury, recording the place in his journal with the name Sancte Flaviane. Already flourishing in the 9th century, it was destroyed in 1187 by the Viterbesi (inhabitants of Viterbo) and never rebuilt.
Other places of interest are the Church of Saint Francis, the Church of Sant’Andrea in Campo, the Church of Santa Maria di Castello, the Cathedral of Saint Margaret and the Fortress of the Popes.
[Source: Via Francigena in Lazio | www.francigenalazio.it/en]
Via Francigena nel Lazio | Map and route details | www.francigenalazio.it
Holiday accomodation | Podere Santa Pia, hidden in the valley between Castiglioncello Bandini and Cinigiano
|The Bisentina isle is an interesting touristic excursion for those people who go to Capodimonte on the Bolsena lake. Between the village and the isle there a ferryboat's service more than once a day on condition to have a minimum number of passengers.
The etruscan and roman left a few traces of its permanence on the isle. In the IX century the coastal populations took to it to escape to the saracen's raids. In the middle of 1200 became property of the Bisenzio family who then burnt it out because of some disputes with the inhabitants. In 1261 Pope Urbano IV conquerred the isle again, in 1333 Ludovico il Bavaro, accused of heresy and excommunicated by the Pope, destroyed it again. From 1400 it was property of the Farnese family and it had a period of prosperity. It was visited by numerous Popes. In 1635 it was governed by Castro's duke Odoardo Farnese who went to clash to the church which ended with the fully Castro's destruction. After that, the Bisentina isle, like the Martana, went back to the church and then gived up. The princess Beatrice Spada Potenziani, wife of the duke Fieschi Ravaschieri, is the present proprietress.
Le Meraviglie (Alice Rohrwachter, 2014) is a magical realist portrait of a family of beekeepers in rural Italy. The film, which stars Monica Bellucci, was shot in Sorano and other areas of the province of Grosseto, in the town Bagni San Filippo and on Isola Bisentina.
Castello di Montecalvello
Bisentina, Chiesa di Santi Giacomo and Cristoforo
Monoca Bellucci on Bolsano Lake
During his second trip to Rome in 1828, Turner spent some weeks painting in a studio, the first and only time he seems to have done so in a foreign country. This impressive, but unfinished, canvas appears to date from that period. Sketches documenting his route south between Florence and Rome suggest that the location is somewhere near the town of Orvieto, possibly Civita di Bagnoregio. There is a freshness and vitality about the lush green hills and distant waterfall, although the artist would have added a far greater level of detail to the work before declaring it complete.