Lake Resia: Italy’s Submerged Church Tower

Near the border of Austria and Switzerland, the Italian waters of Lake Resia are home to a lone church tower that rises out of the serene lake like the final remnant of an enchanted city. The church tower is the last standing piece of the 14th-century Church of Santa Caterina di Alessandria—which many locals refer to as the church of Old Curon. The church of Old Curon was once part of an Italian city named Curon Venosta which was inundated with water in 1950 after a Swiss power company decided to create a giant man-made lake by marrying two smaller natural bodies of water.

The flooding caused by the power company’s artificial lake threatened to upend the residents of Curon Venosta and those who lived in a handful of other surrounding villages. The residents did their best to save their beloved villages. Residents of Curon Venosta even asked the Pope to help protect their village. The people lost, and the power company won. 5 years after World War II, 163 homes were inundated with water.

The only thing that the power company thought had any historical merit was Old Curon’s church tower. The powers that be allowed Old Curon’s partially submerged bell tower to remain as a monument to the quaint villages which once thrived on previously dry land. The residents of Curon Venosta ultimately founded a new village fairly close the site of their former home.

Old Curon’s waterlogged church tower is surrounded by breathtaking mountains. Ample hiking and biking paths attract outdoor enthusiasts from around the globe. In the winter, it is not uncommon for Lake Resia to freeze solid so that visitors may walk directly up to the church tower and stand in its shadow. Most onlookers report that Old Curon’s desolate church tower is an eerie sight. Locals report hearing the sound of church bells chiming in the distance—even though Old Curon’s bell was removed long ago.

Lake Resia

Lake Resia

Curon Venosta’s newest incarnation features the Alta Val Venosta Museum—which tells the story of Curon’s great flood and eventual migration. The museum features photos, artifacts, and a vivid history of the unsuccessful fight to save Curon Venosta from the clutches of a Swiss power company. Old Curon’s solitary submerged church tower is a surprisingly melancholy sight. If you’re a fan of haunted places. Old Curon’s ghostly bell tower is a must-see. If you listen closely, you may hear a muffled chime.

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