The area

Bolsena is a pleasant little town on the shores of the eponymous lake, surrounded by the Volsinii hills.

The medieval town including the Monaldeschi castle (XIII-XIV C) dominates the town from up high. The castle houses the excellent Museum of the territory of lake Bolsena.

The town is best known for the Miracle of Corpus Domini when, in 1263 a Bohemian priest, Peter of Prague, was celebrating mass at the tomb of Saint Cristina when the blood of Christ was spilt from the host onto the altar cloth.

The miracle was declared by pope Urban IV as the festival of Corpus Domini and is celebrated throughout the Catholic world.

In Bolsena the festival is celebrated by a solomn procession which winds through the streets of the town which are decorated with elaborate designs using flowers, a spectacle that attracts tourists and pilgrims from far and wide.

The other important festival celebrates Saint Cristina, a Christian martyr and patron saint of the town. Annually on July 23rd and 24th in the main squares of the town on wooden platforms, scenes from her life are acted out in colourful tableau vivants.

Lake Bolsena has a surface area of 114 square kilometres of clear, clean water, with a circumference of 63 kilometers and is 143 metres in the deepest part. It is the fifth largest lake in Italy and Europe’s largest volcanic lake. There are two islands, Bisentino close to Mount Tabor and Martana where the Ostragoth princess Amalasunta was murdered in the 6th century AD.