Isola Maggiore is Lake Trasimeno’s second largest island and can be reached by a daily ferry service. It has a 15th-century village inhabited by about 100 people, and offers places to eat and accommodation. Long walks can be taken along the many footpaths. Legend has it that in 1211, S. Francis of Assisi spent a Lenten period on the island and built a chapel as a shelter for his forty-three days’ stay, during which he miraculously calmed the stormy waters of the lake.
Things to see: At the highest point of the island, where the poet Matteo was born, is the Romanesque church of S. Salvatore, the castle of the noble Guglielmi family, and the church of S. Michele Arcangelo, with frescoes from the 14th and 15th centuries.
Local crafts: ‘Irish’ lacemaking was introduced in the 19th century when the Marchioness Elena Guglielmi promoted the foundation of a school for teaching this distinctive art. In the 1960s, the growing demand for lace encouraged many women to take it up again, and on the initiative of Maria Vittoria Semolesti, the old school was reinstated in 1963 and has since received international recognition. Today, a vast display of exquisite lace artefacts is on view in the island’s Lace Museum.