Bracciano and its lake

The town of Bracciano stands on a hill above the clear waters of its eponymous lake, which is of volcanic origin. You can take a dip to cool off on the hot summer days, or practise scuba diving, canoeing and many other water sports.

One of the most interesting tourist points in the town is the medieval Castello ​​Odescalchi, which is shown in the photo below. The castle retains many of its ancient furnishings and possesses a collection of weapons and medieval armour.

Bracciano - Castello Odescalchi

The historic centre around the castello is rich in churches, old buildings and narrow medieval streets. Not to be missed: the stunning views of the lake and the surrounding countryside from the Belvedere della Sentinella or from the Church of Santa Maria del Riposo.

A short distance from the historic centre, on the banks of the lake, is the Italian Air Force Museum, based in what was some time ago an important experimental centre. The big hangar now hosts a collection of airplanes, equipments and a lot of material concerning Italian aeronautics.

Lake Bracciano

Lake Bracciano is located within a nature park, so there are strict limits regarding navigation and very few motor boats are allowed, which makes it an ideal place for water sports.

The park also includes the smaller Lake Martignano. It too is of volcanic origin and is characterized by an almost perfectly circular shape. Lakes Bracciano and Martignano are considered to be ‘brothers’, as they were created by the same volcano. Lake Martignano arises from the main crater, while Lake Bracciano derives from a secondary one. The surrounding area has good terrain for hiking and cycling.

Two important events – which although of relatively recent origin are deeply rooted in the history of the country and region – are held in Bracciano. The theatrical show of the Passion of Christ involves a parade through the streets of the town and has taken place annually for almost 40 years. The Corpus Domini flower festival has, since 1983, displayed the skill of Master Florists of Bracciano and draws a large number of worshippers and visitors from all over Italy.

Article text contributed by Alessandra Andreani. The photograph of Lake Bracciano is by Russ Willey for Hidden Lazio. The picture of the Castello Orsini-Odescalchi is adapted from an original photo by Blackcat at Wikimedia Commons and made available under the Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported licence. Any subsequent reuse of that image is freely permitted under the terms of that licence.