In the middle of Lake Resia in the South Tyrol, in the Trentino-AltoAdige region of Italy is a fourteenth-century church steeple. (Photos by Celia Abernethy)
It’s a stunning sight to see but a bit of a sad story.
In the 1940’s, local authorities decided that by building a dam and creating an artificial lake, they would be able to produce and provide hydroelectric energy. In the process, the town of Curon Venosta would have to be sacrificed.
Don Alfred Rieper, the local priest, protested the local authorities and institutions and even went to the Vatican to make a personal appeal to the Pope Pio XII in order to save the village and the church. Unfortunately, his efforts were to no avail.
In 1949, the dam was ready, but the town had to be evacuated and the families displaced. Residents were offered a miserably low amount of 1 lire per square meter for their properties. As the water slowly rose, the houses were demolished one by one. Considered a precious work of art history, the church steeple was spared from demolition.
A newsreel from August 22, 1951, reports that twenty-two residents refusing to evacuate perished beneath the waters.
I visited Lake Resia during a trip exploring the Christmas markets of South Tyrol.
The town and church have since been rebuilt on the new shoreline and it is a popular vacation resort in both summer and winter.
The beautiful landscape is perfect for hiking, cycling and skiing.
Click photo to view
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How to get there
There aren’t any train stations or airports nearby. The easiest way to get there is by car.
Curon Venosta is found on the SS40 between the towns of Monteplair and Resia.
In front of the steeple there is a lodge where you can eat something and in town, there are a few small hotels.
Click here to find a B&B in Curon Venosta.