Italy’s Atlantis: The Ghost Town Beneath 34 Million Cubic Meters of Water

The Italian Atlantis could reemerge from the depths of the lake.

There’s a medieval “ghost town” in Italy’s stunning Toscana region that’s dubbed the Italian Atlantis. Located at the bottom of a lake, the town has remained beneath the surface for decades. Now, the Italian Atlantis could reemerge to the surface, which would become the first time its ruins would become visible in more than 25 years.

The Italian Atlantis is called Fabbriche di Careggine, a 12th-century town that was once home to 150 people, with 31 houses and a stone church. In the region surrounding this medieval Italian town, legend has it that some of the best blacksmiths crafted tools and armor.

In 1946, the small Italian town was no more. After the energy company Enel built a hydroelectric dam in the surrounding valley, the town was submerged beneath the 34 million cubic meters of water.

The inhabitants were relocated to a neighboring town, and Fabbriche di Careggine was flooded, giving rise to the artificial “Lago di Vagli.”

In the 75 years that Fabbriche di Careggine lay at the bottom of the lake, curious visitors had only four opportunities to walk among its inundated ruins: in 1958, 1974, 1983, and 1994, when the lake was drained for the maintenance of the dam.

Now, according to the local tourism council, Lake Vagli could be drained again, and Italy’s Atlantis could rise from the depths of the artificial lake one more time.

An image of the Italian Atlantis after its emergence in 1994. Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain.
An image of the Italian Atlantis after its emergence in 1994. Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain.

According to reports, the medieval town could see the light of day one more time, as experts are planning to drain the artificial lake’s 34 million cubic meters of water for dam maintenance. 

Tourists could, therefore, visit the site that has remained beneath the water of Lake Vagli for nearly three decades.

According to CNN, Lorenza Giorgi—daughter of the former mayor of the local municipality—recently published a Facebook post saying that the lake would probably be drained in 2021.

The Enel company confirmed this by admitting that it is in negotiations with the relevant municipalities to take advantage of this occasion, clear the lake and boost tourism in the area.

Last time Lake Vagli was drained, and the village was revealed, around one million tourists visited the Ghost town. However, it is noteworthy to mention that although Enel is in talks about draining the lake, and 2021 has been set forth as a probable date, no official dates have been announced, Lonely Planet has revealed.

The lake was planned to be drained in 2016, but for unknown reasons, this never happened.

Lake Vagli is located not far from the town of Vagli de Sotto. Italy is promoting responsible tourism in the region which means that various sites will become available to tourists.

The region is also investing in museums that are more focused on local history, as well as the redevelopment of its incredible natural environment, which, in essence, is a tourist attraction on its own.

If you want to follow up on the plans to drain the Lake Vagli, you can learn more about the project on the Enel website, and you can visit the Facebook page and website of the town Vagli di Sotto for more information.

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