Lake Bolsena (Italian: Lago di Bolsena) is a crater lake of central Italy, of volcanic origin, which was formed 370,000 years ago following the collapse of a caldera of the Vulsini volcanic complex . Roman historic records indicate activity of the Vulsini volcano occurred as recently as 104 BC, since when it has been dormant. The two islands in the southern part of the lake have been formed by underwater eruptions following the initial collapse of the caldera.
The lake has an oval shape typical of crater lakes. Its total surface is 113.5 km²; the altitude of its surface is 305 m; it is 151 m deep at its lowest point and 81 m deep on average.
The lake lies within the northern part of the province of Viterbo that is called Alto Lazio ("Upper Latium") or Tuscia. It is bordered mostly by the Roman consular road Via Cassia. Lake Bolsena has numerous tourist establishments, particularly for nature tourism, largely in the areas of camping, agrotourism and bed and breakfasts.
The Romans called it Lacus Volsinii, adapting the Etruscan name, Velzna, of the last Etruscan city to hold out against Rome, which was so thoroughly eradicated after 264 BC, and its inhabitants translocated, that its site has not be securely identified.
One third of the lake was donated to the Church by the noble family Alberici of Orvieto. In recognition of the generous donation the Alberici family was honored with a three times a year observance performed by the Bishop of Orvieto.
There are two islands in the lake: Bisentina and Martana.
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