Across the world, there are dozens of towns and villages that lie forgotten beneath the waters of local dams. Residents were forced from their houses and left to start a new life, while companies flooded the land they once called home. All in the name of progress. More often than not, these towns are never seen again. However, one ancient Tuscan village is soon to emerge from its watery resting place.
Located in the Lucca province, Lago di Vagli is nestled in an expansive valley surrounded by a thick blanket of forest. The lake was built in the early 1950s to bring hydroelectric power to the surrounding area. It was also used as a reserve in case a fire ever broke out. However, the tiny village of Fabbriche di Careggine stood right in the center of where this 34 million cubic meter water container was to be built.
Fabbriche di Careggine dates back to the 1200s when blacksmiths settled in the valley. Though it was in an isolated area, the town survived well into the 20th-century. By the time the dam project came about, Fabbriche di Careggine had over 30 buildings and 146 residents who still practiced many of the ancient farming methods their ancestors had. This tiny village didn’t stand a chance against the power of industry and progression. All the inhabitants were forced from their land and relocated to the nearby town of Vagli Sotto.
Since the town disappeared beneath the depths of Lago di Vagli, there have been four occasions where former residents and curious tourists caught a glimpse of the ancient city. Over the years, the dam has been sporadically drained for maintenance work, which allows Fabbriche di Careggine to be a part of the surface world once again.
The dam was last drained in 1994 and is reportedly set to be drain again later in 2020. This will be the fifth time the town has been visible since the dam’s construction and should be visible for some time heading into 2021. Onlookers will be able to see the stone houses, the cemetery, and the old bell tower.
For now, spectators can take a boat out on the lake and try and imagine what 70 years underwater will do to a town.