Graun, a drowned village on Lake Reschensee – Having been underwater for decades due to flooding, an old village in Italy has now reemerged and is catching tourists’ attention. Only a few miles from the Swiss and Austrian borders, a fourteenth-century medieval tower rises out of Lake Reschensee.
Graun’s once-thriving village is now dotted with only the steeple of its submerged bell tower visible. The entire town and 163 homes, along with the 14th-century church, were sacrificed for a hydroelectric dam that increased electricity production in the middle of the last century.
Several villages, including Graun and part of Reschen, would be submerged in the 22-meter-deep lake being built by Montecatini in 1939. There was none too much happiness in the local community. Flooding was fought tooth and nail, but the plan was approved and the land was flooded in 1950.
The flood drowned 523 hectares of cultivated land and 163 houses. Many families do not have a future in spite of receiving a small amount of money from the company. Due to maintenance work requiring the draining of Lake Reschen near the Austrian border, the ruins in the Vinschgau Valley near the Austrian border have reappeared after years of being mostly submerged. Over several weeks in 2009, the church tower of St. Katharina had to be restored. In order to accomplish this, water levels were lowered until the work was completed.
As one of the most loved places for taking pictures in Vischgau, the picturesque bell tower peeking out of the water of Reschen lake is one of the most photographed spots. Earlier, Netflix released the “Curon” mystery series set in Graun im Vinschgau (the Italian name of the village).
The tower can be reached on foot in the winter when the water freezes. People’s hearts haven’t healed from the wounds caused by nature, especially those who saw their home sink. There is a legend that suggests that church bells can still be heard ringing during winter.
Despite the bells being removed from the tower, the church nave was demolished and a lake was created a week before the bells were removed. Locals say that life in the village must have been like before the dam was built. This is because life continued to move on, I had never seen the lake this low before.