On the placid waters of Lake Bolsena in central Italy is the mysterious island of Bisentina, which takes its name from the nearby ancient Etruscan-Roman town of Bisenzio.
Isola Bisentina is the largest of the two islands found on Lake Bolsena, the largest volcanic lake in Europe, with a circumference of 43km, located in the Tuscia area, between Rome and Tuscany. The other island is called Martana and no visitors are allowed.
A favorite retreat of the Farnese family in the 1500s, the island was acquired in the 1900s by the princess Beatrice Spada Potenziani. In 2017, it was sold to an Italian family of pharmaceutical entrepreneurs.
The island of Bisentina has mostly remained closed to the public, except between the 1970s and 1990s, when it also hosted classical music concerts and for special occasions, such as FAI Days, when historic properties and sites open to the public for a weekend. Starting from July 2022, the island will be open for guided visits every Saturday until October.
Located in the western part of Lake Bolsena, Bisentina offers historic and natural attractions. The Etruscans and Romans left traces of their passage on the island, including Etruscan tombs and marble columns from the Roman era. In the 9th century, the island provided refuge from the incursions of the Saracens.
Amid centuries-old olive trees and magnificent Italian gardens are seven chapels built between the 15th and 16th centuries intended to represent the seven churches of Rome; each chapel faces towards each of the seven towns on Lake Bolsena.
In addition to its history, Bisentina offers almost untouched nature, with many different species of flowers and trees.
Bisentina can be reached from Capodimonte, a picturesque village on the southern shores of the lake with lovely views of Lake Bolsena.
Boats leave Capodimonte every Saturday from July 2 to October 8, 2022. In August, boats are also scheduled to leave from Bolsena every Sunday.