Lake Reschen’s underwater town

Discover the little Atlantis of South Tyrol, Italy, where a lone bell tower still emerges from the dark waters of oblivion.

I’m highly impressionable: particular images, colors, sounds or music pieces have almost a transcendental effect on me and on my imagination. I remember with extreme precision the day in which my middle school music teacher introduced me to Debussy, the impressionist par excellence: she turned on her old stereo and the notes of La Cathédrale Engloutie ( The Submerged Cathedral ) softly spread through the classroom. Those were six minutes of pure evocation, of vibrations and dissonances imitating the tolls that seemed to be propagated underwater for real. I think that was the precise moment I started to cultivate an almost perverse fascination with myths connected with sunken cities, world and churches.

When I discovered that in South Tyrol something like that existed – a small town with a little sunken church – I was dazzled and I ardently wished to go visit it. Not long ago I’ve realized my dream.

HOW TO REACH LAKE RESCHEN WITH PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION

  • Reaching our destination with the public transport requires some work: once in Merano, a lovely town which once was a favorite retreat for royalties and artists, you have to catch a local train directed to Malles, a small village of 5000 souls and seven Romanic bell towers, better known for Castle Fuerstenburg.
  • In Malles you have to catch the bus n. 1037 directed to Vallelunga, that goes up the Vinschgau, a valley famous among tourists for its emerald meadows, apple orchards and its bell towers which seem to be cut out by giant sharpeners.

Alta Val Venosta, campanile aguzzo

  • Get down at Curon Venosta (Graun in Vinschgau), which is the village situated in the western side of Lake Reschen.

FINALLY OUR DESTINATION!

The modern residential area of Curon Venosta is basically the reconstruction of the old village submerged in the fifties in order to create the big artificial basin. The old houses lie at the bottom of the lake, but one thing still remains: the  famous bell tower that, proud like only a survivor can be, bravely emerges.

resia

I must be honest: as it often happens when you visit a place which you have imagined for a long time, I was expecting different emotions. I was convinced the view of this bell tower would have stricken me with a sense of disquietude, of past history fighting the dark waters of oblivion in order not to be forgotten. In reality, despite the grey clouds in the background, I found a typical summer Italian panorama with vivacious colors, turquoise waters and happy tourists aboard their wind- and kite-surfs.

Immergendosi nel lago di Resia

Even though my personal creepy expectations weren’t entirely satisfied, Lake Reschen is a very beautiful holiday destination: there’s a wonderful 15 kms long pedestrian and bike path around the lake, equipped with camper parking areas and peculiar resting places.

A spasso lungo il Lago di Resia

Resia

Resia, capanno

Meditazione in riva al lago di Resiathe ‘relax area’

During the summer the breathtaking view of the wonderful Vinschgau and the cool breeze represent a solace from the heat of our cities. During the winter, it’s possible to enjoy great ski slopes and maybe reach the bell tower by foot, since the lake freezes! Don’t miss it!

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10 thoughts on “Lake Reschen’s underwater town

  1. I have on my to-go list Lago di Vagli with a similar story – a sunken town. It doesn’t seem to be the same destination as yours though. They promised to get rid of the water this year is but now it seems it’s been postponed again. In any case, looking great.

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    1. Yeah, they are two different destinations: Lago di Vagli is in Tuscany, whereas Lake Reschen (or Lago di Resia in Italian) is up in the North, near the border between Italy, Switzerland and Austria. South Tyrol is a great area to visit if you enjoy lakes 🙂 They’re turquoise and surrounded by magnificent pine forests ❤

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      1. Oh, Resia! This is a region with descendants of Slovenians living there! When I was little, we watched a program ‘Little beasts from Resia’ on TV Slovenia most gladly. I still know the opening tune.

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  2. We now live very near the lake in the Val di Non. Before we moved there from the USA, we visited Lake Reschen for the first time. Our emotions were of disbelief and beauty. In our tiny village of Tret, there are three families who were forcibly moved from the town where the bell tower now sits above the water in order to make way for the lake. They were paid a pittance for their homes by the Italian government. As frequent visitors to the lake, we now have a completely different view of the bell tower

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    1. When I was a kid and I wanted to go there, I wasn’t aware of the story behind it, but now I totally get what you mean. The Government surely made some debatable decisions concerning the exploitation of the waters…see also what happened with the Vajont 😢

      Liked by 1 person

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