The town of Fabbriche di Careggine dates back to the 12th century – but it’s spend most of the last century underwater.
2020, eh? We’ve already had threats of possible nuclear war, a global pandemic, a nationwide lockdown, and a painful yet necessary confrontation of institutionalised racism, and we’re not even halfway through the year yet. Headlines we’d never have thought possible have already been written this year, and quite frankly, it means some of the smaller “sorry, what?” stories are getting lost – like this one. The Italian town of Fabbriche di Careggine, which has been submerged beneath a man-made lake for over 70 years, is set to emerge from the waters next year, offering you the chance to wander around a literal ghost town. [Featured image: @artribune]
Before you starting thinking this resurfacing is some sort of supernatural revenge plot, with the cursed town rising to seek vengeance on those who plunged it beneath the waves (hey, it’s 2020, nothing is really out of the realms of possibility anymore), the truth is far less sinister. Fabbriche di Careggine was flooded in 1946 when a hydroelectric dam was built nearby, submerging the historic town beneath a man-made lake, and forcing residents to relocate to the new town of Vagli di Sotto.
Since there was little point tearing down the buildings of Fabbriche di Careggine, they were left standing when the floods came, and still endure to this day. The remains of the San Teodoro church, several houses, and a stone bridge sit upon the lake bed, eerily preserved over 800 years later. Of course, you rarely see them anymore, as the town only resurfaces when maintenance on the dam means the lake must be drained – which has only happened four times since the town was flooded, and not since 1994, when approximately one million visitors turned up for a gander.
However, in a rumoured bid to reboot the local tourism industry, local officials are considering draining the lake once more and offering visitors the chance to wander around the ruined town. CNN reports that Lorenza Giorgi, daughter of the mayor who oversaw the 1994 draining, revealed on Facebook that the lake would be drained in 2021 – following similar calls in 2015 to help local employment and tourism. The idea is reportedly under wider discussion, but with Italy’s tourism economy suffering a major setback as a result of the coronavirus-inspired lockdown, it could gather even more urgency.
Meanwhile, have you seen this Austrian lake which turns into an underwater park every summer?
Also published on Medium.