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Lake Resia, located in the autonomous province of Bolzano in South Tyrol, is a fascinating place of natural beauty and enigmatic history.
The lake is located 1,498 meters above sea level and is a place rich in history, legends and natural beauty.
A huge body of water dominated by a submerged church steeple, rising lonely from the clear waters, creating an almost fairy-tale atmosphere. But don’t be fooled by its surreal charm-this lake hides a painful history.
In this guide, we will explore the history of Lake Resia, its legends and some of the activities that can be done in this fascinating destination.
The Sunken Bell Tower
The submerged bell tower at Lake Resia is undoubtedly one of Italy’s most iconic images. It emerges from the crystal clear waters of the lake, attracting visitors from all over the world with its charm and history.
But what is behind this mysterious bell tower?
The bell tower belonged to the Church of St. Catherine of Alexandria, dating back to the 14th century. Located in the village of Curon, the church was a local landmark and an important place of worship.
In 1950, this mountain area underwent a radical change. The Italian government, together with a local power company, decided to build a hydroelectric reservoir to supply power to the region. To do so, it was necessary to merge two existing lakes, Lake Reschen and Lake Curon.
The construction of the reservoir involved flooding the surrounding areas, including the entire village of Curon. Residents were forced to leave their homes, and historic buildings, including the church and its bell tower, were submerged by the waters of the new lake.
Nevertheless, the upper part of St. Catherine’s bell tower remained visible, poking out of the water. Since then, it has become a silent symbol of Curon’s past and the difficult history of this region.
The exterior of the bell tower has been preserved over time, and the structure remains almost intact. What once housed the bells that echoed across the valley is now empty-the bells were removed before the formation of the reservoir.
In winter, when temperatures drop, Lake Resia freezes over and the bell tower becomes the centerpiece of a huge skating rink, offering visitors a one-of-a-kind experience.
Although the submerged bell tower is a tangible reminder of what has been lost, it is also a powerful representation of resilience and adaptability. Its image, reflected on the waters of the lake, has become a symbol of triumph beyond tribulation, and it continues to fascinate visitors with its sunken stories and aura of mystery.
The Legends of Lake Resia
Lake Resia, has since time immemorial been the focus of numerous local legends and folk tales. These stories, passed down from generation to generation, give the lake a mystical and fascinating dimension.
Legend of the Ghost Bells
It is said that on cold winter nights, when the lake is frozen and snow covers the surrounding landscape, it is possible to hear the bells of the submerged church ringing from the depths of the lake.
However, it is known that the bells were removed from the church before the flooding of the valley. Nevertheless, the ringing of bells has become an integral part of local legends and is considered a symbol of the indomitable spirit of Curon residents and their memories sunk in the waters of the lake.
The Ghost Village Under the Waters
Another legend states that during particularly calm and clear days it is possible to glimpse below the surface of the water the ruins of the old village of Curon.
Difficult to prove, this story asserts that the houses, streets and life of yesteryear are still preserved in a submerged and inaccessible environment. This belief has increased the curiosity and tourist attraction of the lake.
The Curse of the Bell Tower
Some local legends tell of a curse associated with the submerged bell tower. Stories vary in detail, but the most common version claims that Curon residents at the time opposed the reservoir project.
In response to the forced flooding of their land, the village residents allegedly cast a curse on the bell tower, thus causing bad luck to arise for those who damage or hinder the structure.
The combination of history, legend and breathtaking natural scenery makes Lake Resia a unique and unforgettable place of timeless beauty.
What to do at and around Lake Resia
Lake Resia offers not only breathtaking views but also a wide range of activities to explore.
From outdoor activities to local art and culture, there is definitely something for every type of visitor.
We begin our day by walking along the path around the lake. Take some time to enjoy the breathtaking view of the Alps, and of course, take some photos of the bell tower, the icon of the lake.
For a panoramic view, climb up to Mt. Curon. From there, you can see the entire lake, as well as fantastic views of the surrounding valley and mountains.
Lake Resia is a hub for outdoor activities. In summer, the crystal clear waters of the lake are perfect for kayaking, windsurfing and sailing. On land, you can hike, biking or run along the trails surrounding the lake.
In winter, the frozen lake becomes a natural skating rink. The surrounding region also offers fantastic ski slopes and cross-country ski trails.
Just a few kilometers from the lake, visit Valentine’s Chapel. This Romanesque church, located in San Valentino alla Muta, boasts well-preserved medieval frescoes.
Resia Pass and the ancient Via Claudia Augusta
Very close to the lake, you can visit the Reschen Pass, an ancient transit route that led from Venice to the Augsburg area of Germany. This pass is part of the Via Claudia Augusta, a Roman road, and offers wonderful views.
A visit to Lake Resia offers much more than a single, iconic bell tower. Whether you are a lover of outdoor activities, a history buff, or simply looking for a quiet way to relax, you will find something perfect for you here. Be sure to add Lake Resia to your list of places to visit on your next trip to Italy!
When to visit Lake Resia
Lake Resia is a fascinating destination throughout the year, offering various seasonal attractions and activities. However, your preferences for when to visit depend on your interests and the experiences you wish to have.
Spring is a great season to visit Lake Resia. The landscape begins to awaken from its winter dormancy, the lake begins to thaw, and the meadows surrounding the lake become covered with colorful flowers. This period is ideal for those who enjoy walking and hiking. In addition, the milder climate makes it possible to explore the surroundings without the summer heat.
Summer is the most popular time to visit Lake Resia, with mild temperatures and longer days. During these months, the lake waters are calm enough and inviting enough for swimming, sailing, kayaking or windsurfing. The surrounding mountains also offer hiking, trekking and cycling trails. Keep in mind that because it is peak season, you may encounter more tourists at this time of year.
Autumn at Lake Resia is characterized by a picturesque landscape, with the leaves changing color and creating a peaceful and romantic atmosphere. This is an ideal time for photography enthusiasts or those who wish to explore the lake and its surroundings in a more relaxed and less crowded atmosphere. Temperatures in the fall are also moderate, although they begin to drop as winter approaches.
For winter sports enthusiasts, Lake Resia becomes a snowy paradise during the winter months. The surrounding mountains offer fantastic ski slopes and cross-country ski trails, while the frozen lake transforms into a natural skating rink. So if you love winter activities and don’t mind facing colder temperatures, winter might be the perfect season for you.
Lake Resia offers attractions and activities for all tastes throughout the year. Choose the season that best suits your interests, and enjoy the magic and wonders of this enchanting place.
Lake Resia: where it is located and how to get there
Il Lago di Resia è situato in Alto Adige, nella Val Venosta.
Geograficamente, si trova vicino al Triangolo di confine tra Italia, Austria e Svizzera. Distante circa 120 chilometri da Bolzano (capoluogo dell’Alto Adige), si trova nel comune di Curon Venosta, compreso nella provincia autonoma di Bolzano.
Per arrivare al Lago di Resia, devi percorrere la strada che risale la Val Venosta da Merano. Questa strada passa poco sotto il Passo Resia, che conduce all’Austria.
La strada che conduce al passo costeggia tutto il lago, offrendo una vista panoramica che può essere goduta anche durante il tragitto in macchina o in moto.
In alternativa, è possibile utilizzare i mezzi pubblici per raggiungere il Lago di Resia. Dall’aeroporto di Bolzano, prendi il treno fino a Merano, e da lì un autobus diretto al lago.
Essendo vicino al confine con l’Austria e la Svizzera, il Lago di Resia è facilmente raggiungibile anche da questi paesi.
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about Lake Resia, along with their answers.
What activities can you do at Lake Resia?
The lake offers various activities such as hiking, cycling, windsurfing, and swimming in summer, and skiing, snowboarding, and ice skating in winter.
Is it possible to visit the submerged bell tower?
Yes, the bell tower is accessible on foot during winter when the lake freezes over, while in summer it can be observed from the lakeshore.
What language is spoken near Lake Resia?
Because of its proximity to Austria and Switzerland, much of the local community speaks German, as well as Italian.
Is it possible to take boat trips on Lake Resia?
Yes, boat rentals are available during the warmer months of the year and allow you to explore the lake from a different perspective.
Are there accommodations in the vicinity of Lake Resia?
Yes, there are several accommodation options near Lake Resia, including hotels, bed & breakfasts, and vacation apartments.
Is it possible to fish in Lake Resia?
Yes, fishing is allowed in the lake. It hosts a wide variety of fish such as trout, pike and perch.
Is it easily accessible for visitors with reduced mobility?
Much of the area around the lake is easily accessible, and there are several flat trails around the perimeter of the lake.
How big is Lake Resia?
The lake is about 6.6 km long and 1 km wide, making it the largest lake in South Tyrol.
What is the depth of Lake Resia?
The lake has a maximum depth of about 35 meters.
How will I know when the lake is safe for walking on ice?
During the winter, local authorities monitor ice conditions and provide safety updates. It is always best to check with local authorities or your hotel before venturing out onto the ice.
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