The Battle of Lake Trasimeno took place on the morning of June 24, 217 BC, between the army of Hannibal Barca of Carthage and two Roman legions under the command of Consul Caius Flaminius Nepote.
It was a terrible massacre. 15,000 Roman soldiers, including Flaminius himself, lost their lives before Rome fell into deep economic crisis and fear.
The stream which flowed at the exact spot of the battle was renamed 'Sanguineto'.
Today, the scene of events can viewed close up thanks to the 'Historical and Archaeological Route of the Battle' which features nine stops detailing information from the battle.
A dedicated visitor center in Tuoro sul Trasimeno also takes you through the background, protagonists and recent research.
Our visit was on a gloomy, misty morning very much like that fateful June day as our images on this page demonstrate.
Until recently it was thought Lake Trasimeno at the time was much larger than it is today, but it seems its dimensions may actually have been similar.
What is more certain is that the crucial phases of the battle took place in the Tuoro valley.
The army of Hannibal had been heading steadily south and the Roman Consuls and Senate were certain he was planning to attack Rome.
Although the famous elephants had all died by the time he reached Tuoro, he could still call upon 40,000 men consisting of Numidian, Libyans, Gascons, Asturians and other tribal warriors who had followed him from Spain, as well as Celts, Insubri and additional enemies of Rome such as Ligurians.
Hannibal had outflanked and overtook Consul Flaminius' army in the Chiana Valley and decided to lure his rival to the northern shore of Lake Trasimeno, an ideal spot for an ambush.
Passing through a narrow road known as Malpasso, he camped where present day Tuoro now stands.
It seems Flaminius was convinced that Hannibal's forces were more than a day's march ahead and did not order scouts to check the route before them.
So, 25,000 Romans marched in a single column along the Malpasso and entered the flat land below Tuoro under a thick layer of fog,
With his light cavalry and the Celts positioned at the entrance to the valley to block any possible Roman retreat, and the Libyans and Iberians protecting his camp, the Carthaginian cavalry and infantry charged down en masse engaging the enemy from all sides.
The battle continued for three hours, and 15,000 Roman soldiers, some of whom sought escape in the waters of the lake, were killed.
The Romans did not even have time to draw up in their usual battle positions and were forced to fight in open order with no possibility of escape.
The ensuing wars against Hannibal lasted for a further fifteen years and it was only after the final victory over Carthage that Rome was encouraged to embark upon an imperialistic and expansionist policy which, in turn, layed the foundation for the birth of the Roman Empire.
ESSENTIAL LAKE TRASIMENO LINKS