History of Italy: South Tyrol

Emerald blue water, luscious green grass on the Tyrol hillside, and white snowy mountains – nature at its very best. But what’s the bell tower got to do with it?…


This fabulous vista on the Italian border with Austria has a past hidden underwater. The only giveaway is the top half of the bell tower poking out from the lake – it is the only visible remaining structure from the town of Curon Venosta in the region of South Tyrol which was sacrificed in order to build a dam and artificially unify two natural lakes high up in the alps. Prior to the creation of Lago di Resia this land was dotted with 163 homes and 1,290 acres of cultivated land. The original town had to be abandoned when the dam was completed in 1950 and now lies completely submerged, with the exception of the ancient bell tower which has become a landmark, and is even featured on the coat of arms of the new town which was rebuilt on the shores of the lake. The tower is still accessible on foot when the water freezes. Legend says that you can hear church bells ring during the winter; an unlikely story considering the bells were removed prior to the demolition of the church nave!