Lake Piediluco, one of the Umbrian destinations of the en plein air painters of the 1800s

View of Lake Piediluco and the mountains surrounding it. On the left bank of the picture, a group of houses is illuminated by the sun rays and, next to it, there is a small group of pine trees.

Lake Piediluco is an alluvial lake that extends mainly in Umbria, but it has also has a small branch entering the Lazio region. Thanks to the breathtaking views that the lake offers over the surrounding landscape, it was one of the destination for the en plein air painters in the 1800s and the summer solstice is celebrated on its banks every year with the Festa delle Acque (Water Festival).

The second largest lake basin in Umbria

With an area of about 1.5 km² and a maximum depth of about 19 metres, Lake Piediluco is the second largest natural lake basin in Umbria, after Lake Trasimeno. The lake is formed by an elongated central body (located in Umbria) from which several branches branch off, one of which borders on the province of Rieti, in Lazio.
Together with Lake Lungo, Lake of Ripasottile and Lake of Ventina, all in the province of Rieti, Lake Piediluco is part of the ancient Lacus Velinus, a lake area reclaimed starting from the 3rd century BC.
Its main natural tributary is the Rio Fuscello (River Fuscello), while the other two tributaries have artificial origin; the first connects the lake with the Velino river, while the second conveys the waters of the Nera river into the lake.
The name of this lake recalls the small village of Piediluco, located on the banks of the lake itself. The name "Piediluco" has Latin origins and literally means "at the foot of luco", or "at the foot of the sacred wood".

A natural scenary painted by the en plain air painters of the 1800s

Piediluco Lake is surrounded by rich vegetation and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains; in fact, it presents an alpine lake landscape nestled between the Apennines. It is precisely the breathtaking landscape that this lake offers that attracted the French painter Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot, who used this natural scenery in his oil paintings made en plein air (in the open air). In 1826, he made the canvas entitled Lago di Piediluco, Umbria which is now kept in the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. The presence of the en plain air painters in this area of Umbria in the 1800s is due to the fact that artists arrived in Italy to study the ancient ruins and the artworks of the Renaissance masters during the period of the Grand Tour and the Trip to Italy, an important occasion for any artist’s training.

Festa delle Acque (Water Festival) in Piediluco

Every year at Lake Piediluco the summer solstice is celebrated with an event that takes place between the end of June and the beginning of July. This festival takes the name of Festa delle Acque (Water Festival) and has very ancient origins. In the past, the inhabitants of the towns near the lake paid homage to the sun, symbol of life and the divine, with dances, songs and banquets. In particular, the nocturnal parade of boats decorated with garlands of flowers was an auspicious ritual for the summer harvest. Today, the event offers concerts, theatrical performances, games and various types of excursions, as well as the parade of allegorical boats.

Rowing, one of the main sports practiced on the lake

Lake Piediluco hosts national and international rowing championships; in fact, it was chosen by the Italian Rowing Federation as the seat of the National Rowing Center. The lake is suitable, besides to competitive competitions, also for an amateur approach to this sport.t.