Situated along the Via Francigena del Nord and the wine road, Strada dei Vini dell’Alta Tuscia, Bolsena is two hours from Rome and 30 km from Viterbo. The village is known as “The City of the Eucharistic Miracle” , the Corpus Domini to whom the Infiorata is dedicated, also giving it the name “City of the Infiorata (Flower decorations)”.
Located on the north shore of the homonymous lake, the largest in Europe with volcanic origins, the village of Bolsena dates back to the 3rd century BC, when it became inhabited by those escaping the destruction of Velzna, a prestigious Etruscan city whose traces are found in the remains uncovered at the necropolis in the Turona Natural Archaeological Park, the chamber and pit tombs (3rd century BC – 4th century AD).
A must-see in the historic centre is the 16th century Palazzo Cozza Crispo (today Del Drago) and the Fountain of San Rocco, commissioned by Giovanni de’ Medici and still considered so miraculous by the people of Bolsena that on August 16th, they celebrate the blessing of the waters.
The baroque Chapel del Miracolo recalls the miracle of the host from which blood flowed between 1263 and 1264. Preserved inside is the statue of Santa Cristina, the city’s patron saint, celebrated on July 24 with the Holy Representation of the Mysteries of Santa Cristina, the tableaux vivante before which the procession with the statue of the Saint has been stopping since 1811.
On the promontory of tufaceous agglomerations overlooking Lake Bolsena stands the medieval Rione Castello that recalls the fortress, Rocca Monaldeschi della Cervara of 1156, today the seat of the Territorial Museum of Lake Bolsena.
Of interest are the “pietre lanciate” in La Fornacella, a rare geological formation made of prisms of volcanic rock rising from the ground.
Lake Bolsena and the lakefront are ideal for sports: sailing, sport fishing, canoeing, diving, trekking, mountain biking and horseback riding.
The local dishes include: sbroscia (fish soup), whitefish prepared alla mugnaia and alla bolsenese, eels in Vernaccia, grilled smelts and tench soup.
Events not to be missed: in June the Infiorata del Corpus Domini and the hydrangea fest, Festa delle Ortensie; in August the Medieval Festival.
Films shot in Bolsena include: L’Armata Brancaleone (1966), Stasera a casa di Alice (1990) and The Wonders (2014).