Passignano, located on the north shore of the lake, is a town of Etruscan and Roman origin. Perched on a rocky outcrop and enclosed within its ancient walls, the old town retains its characteristic medieval appearance, with narrow streets that climb from the lakeshore up to the towers of the highest part of the town. It has been considered the pearl of Trasimeno since 1907, when Concordia, the first steamer, took Queen Margherita of Savoy for a trip on the lake. Passignano is the ideal starting point for excursions in the lake area, and also for taking ferries to the islands.
Things to see: The 5th-6th century fortress, probably of Lombard origin, has well-preserved, imposing walls, a triangular tower and the remains of the circular ramparts. The 14th-century west tower is an important feature of the ancient medieval walls that once enclosed the town. The shrine of the Madonna dell’Oliveto (late 16th century) is located to the west of Passignano. Built from the remains of an ancient monastery, the shrine is attached to an olive tree to which tradition attributes miraculous powers. The church contains high quality works in plaster as well as precious paintings. The parish church of S. Cristoforo (10th -11th cent.) contains fine frescoes of saints made by artists of the Umbrian school around 1500.The church of S. Bernardino has an interesting façade in sandstone, very similar to the architecture of Agostino da Duccio, who was working in Perugia in 1460.
Places to visit near Passignano: The small hilltop towns of Torricella and San Vito. In easy reach from Passignano is the scenic village of Castel Rigone, founded in 543 by Rigone, the mercenary leader of the Goths. The village is located on a hill and offers a beautiful view of the lake; pleasant walks can be taken along the country footpaths. In mid-August you can watch the Giostra di Arrigo, the only example of a Gothic costume parade. Also worth visiting in the area is the Temple of Santa Maria (late 15th century), one of the main masterpieces of the Umbrian Renaissance. On the road from Passignano to Tuoro stands the fortified farm, Bastia Corgna, and a little further, the leaning tower of Vernazzano Castle, now in ruins. A few kilometres from Tuoro is Lisciano Niccone, situated in a hilly area of beautiful landscape.
Typical local food: Fillets of perch, fried latterini (silversides), tench baked with fennel and other speciality lake fish. Try the typical fagiolina Trasimeno (cowpea): a small and delicious local bean, which in recent years has risked extinction due to its lengthy and entirely manual cultivation. Today the fagiolina has been included in the Slow Food Presidium in recognition of its uniqueness.
Local crafts: reeds, typical of wetlands, are among the most common lakeside grasses. They were traditionally used to produce mats and other artefacts, but today this activity is in decline and practised by very few craftsmen.