Curon Venosta

Curon Venosta

An alpine village inundated shortly after World War II due to the construction of a dam.
Curon Venosta is a municipality in South Tyrol in northern Italy, located on the border with Austria and Switzerland. This alpine village was inundated with water shortly after World War II when officials decided to join two pre-existing lakes into one large man-made lake.

The origins of the lake

Plans for a smaller artificial lake date back to the year 1920. In July 1939 a new plan was introduced for a 22 m deep lake, which would unify two natural lakes. The point of joining the lakes together was to create a hydroelectric dam. The creation of the dam started in April 1940, but due to the second World War and local resistance did not finish until July 1950.

The village and lake today
With the capacity of 120 million cubic metres, this artificial lake is the largest lake in the province and its surface area of 6.6 km² makes it also the largest lake above 1,000 m in the Alps. During the project, 163 houses and nearly 1.300 acres of cultivated land was flooded. The entire village of Curon Venosta is still down there, filled with sand. All that remains of the old Curon Venosta is the tip of a bell tower, emerging from the lake Lake Reschen. A new village was rebuilt at a higher elevation.

The church steeple
The Lake Reschen (Italian: Lago di Resia) is famous for the steeple of a submerged 14th-century church. The steeple has been left to stand as a historic memorial, and was restored in 2009 to repair cracks. In the winter months, when the lake freezes over, it’s possible to walk right up to the spire. A legend says that during winter one can still hear church bells ring. In reality the bells were removed from the tower on 18th of July 1950.

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