Fabbriche di Careggine, near Lucca, has been submerged in the lake created by a dam since 1947

The 146 villagers of Fabbriche di Careggine abandoned their village in 1947 when a dam was built to collect the waters of the Edron river. The 92-meters damn created a hydropower reservoir that conserves at its bottom the stone buildings that once were homes, workshops, and a church.

The lake of Vagli.
Credits: archivio Unione Comuni Garfagnana

Next year, the reservoir will be emptied for a few months for maintenance works, so the village will be once again visible.

In the XIII century, a group of blacksmiths from Brescia founded Fabbriche di Careggine in Garfagnana in the province of Lucca. They moved to the area to be closer to the Alpi Apuane from which the iron they worked was extracted.

In 1755, it was conquered by the House of Este. And it soon became one of the most centers for iron supplies in the state. Thanks also to the construction of via Vandelli, the historical commercial road connecting Modena with Massa. Following a period of decline, the country experienced new luck with the exploitation of marble in the neighboring area. However, after WWI, in order to create the 32,000,000-m3 reservoir, the villagers moved to Vagli Sotto. A new village that reflected the same urban layout as the abandoned one.

Since the construction of the dam, the reservoir has been emptied four times for maintenance work. The last time the village has been free from the water was in 1994. And the event attracted a million visitors. Now, Enel, the energy company running the hydropower plant, announced that, in 2021, after 27 years, it will empty the reservoir once again. Thus, soon, the medieval village of Fabbriche Careggine and the church of San Teodoro with its square bell tower will emerge again.

Ilona Catani Scarlett

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