Umbria Blog | Restaurant Bistro Porta Senese in Castiglione del Lago

Castiglione del Lago

Castiglione del Lago is on the eastern shores of lake Trasimeno. It used to be an island, the fourth island of Lake Trasimeno. Now it is a peninsula with its castle overlooking the lake. The town is surrounded by its fortified and castellated walls with three gateways, a main street and a piazza.

In high season many tourists spend a lot of time in Castiglione del Lago. Along the lake you’ll find free beaches, bars and restaurants. This place is also an ideal location for those who love walking and swimming. You can take a walk with your dog on the shores if you want, but only on leads. If you prefer leaving your dog without leash, than the former airport of Castiglione del Lago is an ideal and spacious area to walk your dog.

The historical centre of Castiglione del Lago has cosy restaurants, bars and souvenir-shops. If you’re a wine or beer lover, you can eat your heart out here! There are also some gelateria’s offering a good selection of flavors.

The impressive fortress “Rocca Leone” is worth a visit, with or without children. The views over the Trasimeno Lake from the towers are just stunning!

Perhaps the most busiest day in Castiglione del Lago is Wednesday because of the weekly market in the historical centre. During the summer many festivals are held in the villages along the Trasimeno Lake. In July – August for example is the famous Trasimeno Blues music festival.

A well known Jazz & Blues event where famous artists from all over the world perform. At least 3-times is Trasimeno Blues in Castiglione del Lago. The concerts are free, but it may happen that you need to buy an entrance ticket.

Restaurant

Recently I’ve had dinner in a modern, refined and stylish restaurant in Castiglione del Lago: Bistro Restaurant Porta Senese. This restaurant is just around the corner behind the city gate of Castiglione del Lago. Porta Senese prepares and serves food in a modern style and setting.

Near my dinner table were people from Belgium. For them it was definitely not the first time to eat in this cosy restaurant. The waiter and co-owner is very attentive and kind. It is a wonderful location to spend an evening.

Pasta alla carbonara with guanciale (pork cheek), almonds and tomatoes.

Carpaccio Porta Senese with tomatoes, capers, olives, pepper, salt and good olive oil.

The food is excellent and the wine pairings are great. Local wines from Umbria and Tuscany are served. The Sangiovese wine from the winery Madrevite was perfect to combine with my pasta and meat dish. 

Porta Senese is not a big restaurant, but a small bistrot with some tables. The menu they offer is divers but most are meat dishes. Consumers can choose between cooked beef, raw carpaccio or “meat” sushi. But there are also vegetarian plates like the parmigiana and pasta with pecorino. Even the dolci are from the house! 

Crostata with ricotta, fruit and chocolate.

Personally, I think that Restaurant Bistrot Porta Senese is one of the best restaurants in Castiglione del Lago. It is 5 years that I live in this town and I have never been … until now! An eye opener. It is worth eating here. Even if this restaurant is not really a cheap restaurant, but you’ll be surprised about the quality of the food they serve and the wines they serve are excellent.

The meat supplier of this restaurant is butcher Burico Ottorino. They are just outside the historical centre and sell their own selected meat coming from this area.

Address restaurant:
Via Vittorio Emanuele 2
06061 Castiglione del Lago (PG)
Tel. + 39 075 953331

Reservation is recommended, by phone or by mail. This restaurant has only a few tables available. Parking space is easy to find just outside the city walls of Castiglione del Lago. There is free parking along the fortified walls of the village. 

Enjoy!

Umbria Blog | Christmas in Paciano and Panicale

On December 8 is the yearly Feast of the Immaculate Conception in Italy. The day before in every small town or city the Italian people prepare the Christmas tree. Many activities and festivities are held around the Christmas season. The squares are transformed into a mix of lights and stalls where vendors sell their handmade gifts.

Yearly I visit the Christmas markets in Assisi and Perugia, but this time I wanted to go to the market in Paciano. Paciano is a small and calm hamlet with a few inhabitants.

Maybe I didn’t come at the right time in Paciano, but there weren’t many market stalls and visitors. I have asked a local for the program but neither he couldn’t inform me.

After a good espresso in the bar I decided to take a walk through the centre just to be sure that I didn’t miss anything. Maybe there were only three market stalls hidden in local shops. This Christmas market wasn’t really what I was looking for, unfortunately. Nevertheless, I took some pictures and I went to Panicale, a lovely village not far form Paciano.

Before arriving in Panicale I knew I could not expect more Christmas market than in Paciano, but on the other hand Panicale is lovely and always worth a visit. Even if you decide to take a drink or just a stroll in the historical centre.

On the square in Panicale was a huge Christmas tree. Also the bars and restaurants were full with Christmas decorations.

To be honest this all wasn’t really what I expected before visiting Paciano and Panicale. Both villages seemed to be a bit lost. But I must admit, Panicale and Paciano remain idyllic even though in winter time there are less things to see and to do.

Umbria Blog | Walking with Anime Pioniere

I often receive newsletters and activities from the Oasi La Valle, a nature reserve at Lake Trasimeno and a paradise for bird watchers. This time I found an invitation in my mailbox to join a walk organised by a fairly new organisation called Anime Pioniere. They organise walks in nature often in lesser known areas along the Umbria Tuscany border: Trasimeno, Cortona, Città di Castello, San Sepolcro.

Sunday the 12th of March the morning started at the Oasi La Valle where we witnessed the ringing of birds and where the walk started. 6 km, not too much height difference, hence also adapted for families with children like ourselves. We climbed the hill and over the hills’ ridges we walked from San Savino to San Feliciano. Of course we finished the walk with a small lunch, a good Italian habit. We had some antipasti and fried fish from the lake with the local fishermen.

We paid euro 15 p.p. for the tour at the Oasi La Valle, the walk and the light lunch.

It was a wonderful early spring day. Here is an impression:

Do you enjoy a walk in nature with trained guides in mostly undiscovered parts of Umbria and Tuscany? Follow the Anime Pioniere: they organise interesting walks all year round, mostly on Sunday or on Italian bank holidays. We were quite a group with almost 50 participants, all Italians. They hope they will also have tourists to join them during the summer period. During the walk we learned about the area, its history and its fauna. They also speak English. It is recommended to wear proper shoes for walking and also ask for the difficulty when making a reservation, especially when you have kids.

Have fun!