Three million years ago, there was a shallow sea in this part of Umbria. A depression formed by geologic fractures allowed the birth of present-day Lake Trasimeno.
Historically, Trasimeno was known as The Lake of Perugia and this name makes it easy to understand the importance that the lake has always had for the whole of northwestern Umbria and for the Tuscan Chiana district.
On 217 B.C. On the north shore of the lake, a famous battle took place: The Battle of Lake Trasimeno during the Second Punic War between Romans and Hannibal's Army.
The first civilization to inhabit this place was the Etruscans, with three of the main Etruscan cities: Perugia, Chiusi, and Cortona.
There are three islands in the lake. The second largest, Isola Maggiore, is the only inhabited one. The small fishing village, which reached its height in the 14th century, today has only around thirty residents. Most of the buildings, including the ruins of a Franciscan monastery, date from the 14th century. The largest of these isles is Isola Polvese, while the smallest is called Minore.
Trasimeno Lake is rich of fishes that constitute the ingredients of two local food specialities: “Tegamaccio” - a fish soup made by all the fish varieties living in Trasimeno Lake, especially the tasty "anguilla" (=eel) - and “Brustico”- grilled fish served with the special extra-virgin olive oil from Trasimeno.The legend tells that “Brustico” was known since Etruscan times.
Trasimeno Lake area is also famous for a special legume the “Fagiolina del Trasimeno”. In the first century A.D. the Roman writer Pliny the Elder wrote that this legume was cultivated in this area by the Etruscans and later by the Romans.
Around the second half of the past century the “Fagiolina” was nearly considered extinct. 30 years ago thanks to the patient and continuos work of some young farmers in collaboration with the University of Agriculture in Perugia, the “Fagiolina” was re-discovered as a very special food product.
Today the “Fagiolina del Trasimeno” is a unique product which has developed peculiar “genetic characteristic” that granted it a place among the prestigeous Slow Food “presidia” (=special and rare food products).