Lago di Fimon is a pretty lake only half an hour away by car from Vicenza in Northern Italy.
Surrounded on all sides by the lush Berici Hills, lake Fimon is a great place to head to. Especially, when you need to spend some time in nature but you don’t feel like driving for hours on end.
Visiting the lake gives you a chance both to relax and be active. You can take a picnic and then enjoy a day of peace and quiet on the lakeshore. Or, if you only have a few hours to spare and a burning desire to exercise, then you can stroll (or bike) all around lake Fimon following a pleasant pebbly path.
The latter is exactly what we did this past weekend when the sun was shining bright and we felt like a little walk.
Leaving Vicenza behind, we were soon driving through the small town of Arcugnano and then took the turn over to lake Fimon. The birds were singing and the air felt fresh. It was the perfect day to be outside.
We found the lake looking enchanting as always. Hugged by the lavish vegetation of spring and dotted with hundreds of water-lilies in full bloom, it felt as far away from city life as you could imagine.
A swan gliding past us was all that was needed to create a real fairy-tale ambiance.
Hence, in this blog post, I want to give you some more information about visiting lake Fimon. I want to sparkle your interest and make you feel curious. So that next time that you need to release the tensions of daily life and you are wondering where to head to on a day off (or even half a day off) lake Fimon is the first destination that pops in your mind.
Lago di Fimon –
A Pleasant Lakeside Walk Just Outside Vicenza, Italy
How to Get to Lake Fimon
It’s half an hour drive from Vicenza to lake Fimon. It takes less than 50 mins to reach it from Padua. Just follow the instructions of your GPS and soon you will be driving through the Berici Hills admiring their soft green slopes and natural beauty.
The road will take you through Arcugnano. If you have a few minutes to spare, make sure that you stop there, too. This small town of just under 8000 inhabitants aims to be a centre of street art. All around Arcugnano you can see some very interesting graffiti by world-renowned artists. I particularly like the ones covering the local nursery and school.
Then follow the road to lake Fimon and, before you know it, its waters covered with a dense web of white and yellow water-lilies will be glinting right in front of your eyes.
There is ample parking. On weekends there are parking attendants pointing the cars to the nearest free parking lots and collecting the parking fee. The charge is 2 euros for the day, based on what we paid this past weekend.
What to Do at Lake Fimon (With or Without Kids)
Bring a picnic, your bike, your camera, some sunscreen, your kids and your dogs.
If you want to relax, find a nice shady spot on the lakeshore and set up your stuff. We saw people with small light tents and blankets with sumptuous displays of picnic food.
Otherwise, get on your bike or simply start walking and follow the nice pebbly path that goes all around the lake. It’s about 4 km long.
It took us about 2 hours to walk around lake Fimon.
This is because we stopped often and took pleasure in looking at the stunning views all around us. On one side there were the green luxuriant hills and fields. As well as a ditch with water separating us from them.
On the other was the lake protected by a narrow strip of dense bushes and flowering trees.
Soon, we started to play an improvised game of ‘spot the bug’. We would compete with each other to spot the most amazing and weird spiders, snails and all types of insects.
The more we looked at trees, bushes, grasses and leaves, the larger the number and variety of tiny creatures we saw.
In addition to this rather big boy.
We were particularly mesmerised by the huge number of tadpoles on the edges of lake Fimon. There were so many of them, thousands, millions even, that the water seemed to be boiling with all the frenetic movements of the tadpoles’ tiny tails.
Unfortunately, the tadpoles didn’t photograph well, so here is a picture of a fly instead.
As simple as the game of ‘spot the bug’ sounds, it was enough to keep us entertained for hours. It is a great game to play with your kids or simply with the kids-at-heart in your group.
The bugs, the flowers, the blooming trees, the verdant ferns, they all were also a great excuse to stop and take photos. If you are a budding photographer at heart, lake Fimon will provide plenty of interesting angles and things for you to photograph.
The path was nice and wide, allowing us to pass by other strolling groups without obstructing each other’s way. The cyclists were considerate, too and generally kept to one side of the path so children could run around and really have fun.
You can also use lake Fimon as the starting point for a longer hike. This will allow you to take in the beauty of the surrounding Berici Hills. There are several official and colour-coded hikes starting from the lake. They vary from just under 5 km to almost 13 km in length. You can see their outlines and read some more details about these hikes here. The page is in Italian but you can easily use Google Translate to gather more details.
What Not to Do at Lake Fimon
You cannot swim in lake Fimon.
The lake’s waters are crystal-clear which favours the abundant growth of aquatic vegetation. The surface of the lake is covered with water-lilies and other underwater plants. Swimming can not only damage them but can be potentially dangerous as you can easily get tangled in their long stems.
What to See at Lake Fimon
Lake Fimon is rich in life. Many birds, fish and plants call the lake home and you can spend long stretches of time trying to glimpse as many of them as possible. Bring binoculars, if you can.
We heard so many songbirds, but (save for a couple of swans and a moorhen) we couldn’t spot any, as they were a master of disguise and hid in the dense thorny bushes. Their songs were really beautiful though and filled our hearts with that joy and lightness you get when you are out in nature and the sun shines brightly.
The following birds can be seen in and around lake Fimon: coots, bitterns, moorhens, great reed warblers, buzzards, grey herons, and swans.
In terms of fish, the lake is populated by eels, largemouth bass, tench, pike, carp, and real perch. We saw quite a few in the water of the ditch that runs parallel to the lake. We also saw a few fishermen at the lake. Just be aware that in order to fish in Italy you need a permit, so, please, don’t head to lake Fimon without looking into the legalities of fishing there first.
Gorgeous plants are everywhere. I was particularly taken with these unusual yellow water-lilies which are called Nuphar Lutea. To my eternal regret, I couldn’t get a good close-up photo of a white lily, though. So, I definitely need to return to lake Fimon soon in order to get one.
History of Lake Fimon
Now, you may wonder how Lago di Fimon ended up there in that valley completely surrounded by the Berici Hills. Well, the lake was formed during the last ice age and it collected water from the alluvial barrier formed by the rivers Brenta, Astico, and Bacchiglione.
It’s curious to note that Lago di Fimon is the oldest lake in Northern Italy. At 35 000 years of age, it precedes the formation of Lago di Garda (Italy’s largest lake). In fact, the experts state that only the volcanic lakes of Central Italy are older than this tiny water mirror reflecting the surrounding Berici Hills.
Yes, lake Fimon is tiny nowadays, but many thousands of years ago its waters covered the whole of the Fimon valley. Unfortunately, the lake then slowly diminished in size as people would gradually reclaim the marshy lands for agricultural use.
In fact, today lake Fimon is the last remaining lake in the Berici Hills after another small lake called Granza (near Lonigo) dried up due to natural causes and after lake Fontega (near Arcugnano) was artificially drained.
Lake Fimon Today
Today lake Fimon has an area of nearly 70 hectares and a depth of just three meters. This is one meter less than hundred years ago.
The lake fills up with earth at a rate of 1 cm per year. This filling up is a natural process for ancient lakes like Lago di Fimon. It is also stimulated by the abundant presence of aquatic plants which (once dead) fall down to the bottom of the lake.
People can’t simply eradicate the aquatic plants though in their efforts to preserve lake Fimon. The presence of these plants favours the presence of many different forms of life – from insects and amphibians to fish and nesting birds. The aquatic plants also guarantee the transparency and the quality of the lake waters. So, the plants need to be protected, yet their growth has to be managed.
People and Lake Fimon
People have lived around lake Fimon for millennia.
Archaeological excavations around the lake have confirmed the existence of human settlements there both in the Neolithic and the Bronze Age. A 19th-century naturalist and politician called Paolo Lioy from Vicenza was the first to commence archaeological works in the area of lake Fimon.
Among the discoveries made since then are remains of huts with a fireplace, flint and bone weapons and utensils, ceramics, carbonised seeds, shells, and the tomb of a 10-12 years old boy.
To learn more about it, you can follow the archaeological hike which starts from lake Fimon and takes you to the places inhabited by people so many thousands of years ago.
Facilities at Lake Fimon
A small bar on the shores of lake Fimon offers refreshments and light lunches.
Along the path circumnavigating the lake there are benches at certain intervals. At one of the picnic spots, there are also tables with benches for people to have their lunch or snack.
The lake is very popular for walks as the area is suitable for all ages and abilities.
On the day we went, there was also a small temporary craft market near the parking lot. We also spotted two donkeys peacefully munching on green grass while people (and, obviously, myself included) were taking photos of them.
The lake is great to see in any season. In winter, wrap up warm. In summer, bring insect repellent. Spring and autumn, it seems, are the best times to visit. The sun is bright but it doesn’t burn. There is a nice breeze that keeps you cool. The lush vegetation offers abundant shade.
Any time you choose to go, enjoy lake Fimon!
Click on the following links if you are looking for more ideas for easy hikes in and around Vicenza, as well as inspiration for hiking in Italy:
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