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Town Center, Castiglione del Lago

A panorama of Castiglione del Lago

Battlements of the Castle, Castiglione del Lago

Sunset, Lake Trasimeno, Castiglione del Lago

Welcome to Castiglione del Lago
From Jesse's Journeys in Italy

Population: 14,186 (2001)
Official website:
Castiglione del Lago
Wikipedia: Castiglione del Lago

Maps: MapQuest

Castiglione del Lago, has evolved on what used to be an island - the fourth island in Lake Trasimeno - in its south west region.  Over the centuries, as the town grew, the flat gap between the island and the shore was filled with piazzi, houses, churches, and other buildings.

The newest parts of the city are at some distance from the old, so the centro storico of Castiglione del Lago is a well preserved medieval locality that seems to be governed by a "law of threes".  In the town walls there are three gates, inside the town there are three piazzi and three churches.   

The Castiglione del Lago lies on the once important highway between Orvieto to the south, Chiusi to the west and Arezzo to the north.  Its position in this hotly disputed territory, pitting Etruscans against Romans, and later Tuscans against Perugians, inevitably brought a long cycle of death and destruction to the town.  The original fortifications were destroyed and rebuilt on numerous occasions.

It was only during the reign of Frederick II, the Holy Roman Emperor that a period of relative stability ensued.  It was he who ordered the building of the Castello del Leone - the Fortress of the Lion - during the 13th Century.  The pentagonal-shaped castle, was completed in 1247 AD by the monk-architect Elia from Cortona

The castle features square towers in four of its  corners and a triangular (there's the number 3 again) shaped bastion, or donjon, known as the Mastio in the other.  The castle was designed to give its owners strategic control over all of Lake Trasimeno.  It has fulfilled its purpose well: the castle has withstood a number of sieges over the subsequent centuries.

Ultimately, the city fell under the control of Perugia, within the Papal States, becoming the fiefdom of the powerful Baglioni family.  In 1550, Pope Julius III bestowed it upon his sister.  In 1563, her son, Ascanio della Corgna, became the Marquis of Castiglione and Chiugi.  The fiefdom became a prosperous, but short-lived Duchy in 1617.  Duke Fulvio Allesandro died without heirs and the town was re-absorbed into the Papal States.

During his Marquiship, Ascania della Corgna built a Renaissance palazzo, designed by the architect Vignola, that in 1870 became the Palazzo del Comune (city hall) but which is now a civic museum and gallery. This palazzo is is joined by a long, covered corridor to castle.  Renaissance era frescoes by the Pescara-born artist Giovanni Pandolfi and the Florentine artist Salvio Savini adorn the main floor inside.  In 1574, the artist Niccolo Circignani, "Il Pomarancio", added paintings and other decorations to one of the most interesting rooms in the palazzo, the so-called Room of the Exploits of the overlord, Ascanio della Corgna.

The only other building of particular note is the finely stucco-ed Church of Santa Maria Maddalena, done on a Greek-cross plan.  The church has a handsome, neo-classical pronaos and, inside, a panel painted in 1580 by Eusebio da San Giorgio.

Casteglione del Lago is an easy, interesting drive from Perugia, Orvieto, Arezzo, Cortona, San Gimignano and other well known towns and cities in the Umbria-Tuscany area.  Indeed, it's not that far from Rome itself.  The place is crawling with tourists in the summer months so an off-season visit is recommended.

by Vian Andrews November 30th, 2005

This article was written by Vian and added to Wikipedia as the "root" article on 30th November 2005.

Umbria Region



Cortona - 20 km;
Perugia - 45 km;
Assisi -  55 km;
Siena - 78 km;
Orvieto - 80 km;
Gubbio - 85 km;
Todi - 85 km;
Spoleto - 85 km;
Florence - 130 km;
Rome - 180 km


Hotel La Torre


Display of ceramics, Castiglione del Lago


Every two years, Casteglione del Lago is the host of the Coloriami i Cieli festival.  The "Color the Skies" event is held in late April or May. For more