The most tempting option around Perugia – whose surroundings are generally pretty bleak – is LAGO TRASIMENO, an ideal spot to hole up in for a few days, and particularly recommended if you want to get in some swimming, windsurfing or sailing. The lake is about 30km from Perugia and is easy to get to on public transport. It’s the biggest inland stretch of water in mainland Italy, and, though you wouldn’t think so to look at it, never deeper than 7m – hence bath-like warm water in summer.
A winning combination of tree-covered hills to the north, Umbria’s subtle light, and placid lapping water produces some magical moments, but on overcast and squally days the mood can turn melancholy. Not all the reed-lined shore is uniformly pretty either; steer clear of the northern coast and head for the stretches south of Magione and Castiglione if you’re after relative peace and quiet.