Castiglione del Lago is perfect for one day trip if you are staying in Siena because it is just 2 hours away, furthemore it is perfect if you are searching for some authentic village life.
How To Reach From Siena
It is not difficult at all, just head to to Siena Central Station and buy a ticket for Castiglione del Lago. You have the change in a place called Chiusi.
Castiglione del Lago is located near the fourth biggest lake of Italy, Trasimeno Lake, in the heart of Italy. The town was very disputed in the past because of its strategic position between important cities. Romans, Etruscans, Tuscan cities, Perugia etc always competed for this place, therefore they built or destroyed various fortresses located on the hill in order to protect the town from the non-stop invasions. Nonetheless the name Castiglione comes from the word Castello which means castle in Italian. A very curious fact about the town is that in the past it was the fourth island in the lake, this means it was separated from the mainland. Throughout the time this division disappeared and became part of the mainland. In Castiglione del Lago you can even find seafood thanks to its proximity to the lake.
I guess the main attraction of the area is the lake and its rich nature surrounding the area, making this place very peaceful. At first our plan was to ride the ferry and visit the three islands but the weather did not allow us to do so. It was very foggy, windy and cold and I suppose the ferries did not even run on a such day, very unlucky but we could still spot the lake from the town. The lake really looked like a sea for its huge size, we could not spot the end.
The Medieval Village
The small town is very cute and small, everything can be reached within 10 minutes. There are many traditional restaurants and souvenir shops that mainly offer food to buy or to try. The town is surrounded by an imposing wall that allows you to have a great glimpse of the lake. The only problem is that the train station is located quite far away from the city centre and it takes like 20 minutes to reach Castiglione and going on a sunday is not the best option possible because there are no buses connecting the train station with the city centre. A landmark you will come across is the church of Santa Maria Maddalena which is very old, it dates back to XI century, but was destroyed in the 18th century in order to build a cemetery. It was later rebuilt in the 19th century in neo classique style.
The fortress in Castiglione is called Rocca del Leone (Lion’s Rock) was built on behalf of Frederick II in order to disptach his troops in the area. The structure is very peculiar, it is an irregular pentagonal-shaped castle built by the monk architect Elia from Cortona. The fortress towers above the whole area as if it was still there to protect its citizens.
When it comes to Italy, talking about food is mandatory! Castiglione is located on the border with Tuscany and Umbria so the cuisine is influnced by both of these regions. Umbria for example is famous for good truffles and mushrooms, that in Castiglione are very easy to find everywhere. There are a lot of small shops that sell these products. Another way to try local food is just choose one of the lovely restaurants that are in the town centre and embark on a flavour journey.