Lago di Alleghe – Alleghe, Italy - Atlas Obscura

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Lago di Alleghe

Alleghe, Italy

A devastating landslide accidentally created this tourist hotspot. 


Alleghe is a small village tucked between the Dolomites, a mountain range part of the Alps in Northern Italy, and is located just below the large Monte Civetta. It is now a renowned tourist destination thanks to its beautiful lake, but a tragic story hides behind this serene location. 

On January 11, 1771, a huge landslide broke off from nearby Monte Piz, destroying three villages and killing 49 people. The landslide obstructed the path of the Cordevole stream that runs through the narrow valley, so water accumulated below the fallen rocks. Five villages were submerged by the surging water, forcing over 200 people to flee their homes during the harsh Alpine winter.

Engineers were sent to study the area and find a way to avoid the formation of a lake, but the amount of material that came down with the landslide was too much to move or even to build a canal to let the water flow downstream. A few months later, a new landslide hit the lake creating a wave that destroyed part of the surviving village.

Although at the time, the landslides that hit the area were regarded as major and shocking tragedies, today, the lake is the main characteristic of Alleghe and a tourist hotspot for people visiting the Dolomites.

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September 24, 2021

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