North of Lake Trasimeno in the Italian region of Umbria, near the battlefields of the Second Punic War, a tower leans perilously in the woods above the village of Vernazzano.
The tower is among the few visible structures that still remain from a prosperous and sprawling medieval village that once called the region home. The village was progressively abandoned during the 18th-century as a result of the area’s ongoing erosion.
Originally constructed along an ancient road in the foothills above Lake Trasimeno, the fortified site controlled the lake’s northern shores and the road that linked Perugia, Arezzo, and Cortona.
However, by the 1600s it became progressively marginal and isolated. Additionally, erosion caused by the Rio stream resulted in significant damage to the castle and village. By the mid-18th century, the local parish church had to be abandoned and demolished. A terrible earthquake followed and the new settlement of Vernazzano was built farther below, leading to the abandonment of the medieval settlement above.
The tower, which is held in place by an impressive structure of steel cables, is now set at a 13 degree lean. Today, outside of the tower, all that remains of the village is one of the churches, Santa Marie delle Trosce.
Know Before You Go
A 30-minute trail leads to the tower from the new settlement. You can park your vehicle near the church of Santa Lucia.