Campanile di Curon – Schnals, Italy - Atlas Obscura

Campanile di Curon

Schnals, Italy

Bell tower juts out from a village buried under a lake. 


Flooded by the waters of Lago di Resia, situated in Val Venosta in the Trentino-Alto Adige region of Italy, the Campanile di Curon is a vestige of the old town of Curon Venosta.

This small alpine town was demolished and the flooded shortly after World War II when three pre-existing lakes (Lago di Resia, Lago di Curon, and Lago di San Valentino alla Muta) were joined together to create one bigger artificial lake. The foundations of the town are still sitting under water, but the tower was so tall that it juts out, marking the central location of a place many once called home.

The city was rebuilt at Curon Venosta nearby at a higher location in the valley. Still, the bell tower, built more than 700 years ago, was restored at a steep cost in July 2009 because it stands as an important historic symbol of the region. The restoration project focused on various cracks on the north and northeast faces and on the century-old roof. In order to fix the sides of the tower, which had been damaged over the years because of water leaks, officials had to drain some water from the lake.

In winter, when the lake freezes over, it’s possible to walk right up to the tower and explore the site. Legend has it that on some days, nearby visitors can still hear the bells ringing inside of the tower even though they were removed before the lake was created.

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