If you’re not sure where to find a bit of Paradise on earth, just settle for Eden on a lake, the Hotel Eden of Lake Bolsena. Just about an hour and a half from Assisi, Lake Bolsena has been drawing us for years when we have a free weekend.
We’ve stayed in various spots, but our favorite? The family-run Hotel Eden right on the lake where immense palm tree fronds shade the hotel’s sandy beach of black sand (Bolsena is a crater lake of volcanic origin).
You’ll start off your day at the Eden with a tasty buffet breakfast set out in the main dining room. Pick up a plate and decide if the homemade cakes and frittata entice more than breads, jams, yogurts and then head to a lakeside table surrounded by pastel-colored, balloon-sized hydrangeas. Wait-staff Livia, Bozena (from Poland) or Mauro will take your coffee or tea orders – and you’ll see them again at lunch and/or dinner.
Some guests head to the pool afterwards but what’s better than reading under those palms as the breeze wafts in after a lake swim?
Or… why not head into a Bolsena for a wander through the castle or the village?
And when it’s lunchtime, feast on the coregone (white fish of the lake) – but not only – at lakeside tables. And the Hotel Eden’s carpaccio al coregone is an enticing antipasto: marinated in wine vinegar for about a day and a half, the fish fillets are then seasoned with olive oil, lemon juice, peppercorns and shredded sweet Tropea purple onion.
The hotel serves tasty meat or seafood pastas but you can’t miss the pasta with a minced coregone sauce. Grilled whitefish for second course is always our choice: either with a capers sauce or grilled or (my favorite) “in cartoccio” (“wrapped up” – in aluminum foil and then baked).
Host Luigi wanders the tables at lunch at dinner, greeting guests. I remember when his heavyset jovial father, Vittorio – called “de’ Spacca” – used wander the tables, chatting with all, after coming out of the kitchen where he and his wife Giovanna cooked up the goodness. I recently asked Luigi the specialties of his father? “He made everything – homemade pastas, too but his specialties were the desserts: mimosa cakes, zuppa inglese.”
Vittorio died some years ago, but you’ll see Signora Giovanna there at the hotel, sitting in the entryway – or in the garden – chatting with guests or friends who come to visit. Luigi’s wife Sandra now joins him in hosting guests, too. It’s all a “family affair” at the Eden.
And the Hotel Eden family welcomes year after year many longtime clients: on our last visit, I met a young Belgian couple and the young woman spent family holiday vacations for years at the Eden, first coming when she was seven.
And we’re glad to be longtime clients, too – having celebrated many a family birthday here, taking many friends for a weekend at this little slice of Eden on earth.
Read about a favorite eating spot in Bolsena, lakeside
Read about Bolsena’s many treasures.
To read about Lake Bolsena’s July Living Tableaux, click here.
Read about a memorable day at Lake Bolsena
Click here to read about another Lake Bolsena gem.
Don’t MISS our favorite Bolsena gelateria!
Read about the “singing washerwomen” in Bolsena