20 – Tour Of The Lakes

Sources: Wikipedia, Google Maps

From Cocullo, a short drive will take you to Abruzzo’s loveliest lakes and their environs…


The Lake of San Domenico is located near the hermitage di San Domenico (a church built next to the cave where San Domenico lived for several years). It is in the territory of Villalago, in the province of L’Aquila. The lake was created in 1929, when a dam was built to generate hydro-electricity and enable the state railways to electrify the Roma-Sulmona line. The waters of this lake are directed along a 6-km course, mostly through channels excavated in the rock, and are used to power the Sagittario generating station, just under Anversa degli Abruzzi. The lake is fed chiefly by the waters of the Sagittario River, which flows out from the dam, and to a very limited extent by the waterfall at the end of the Sega Spring and by the Prato Cardoso stream, which flows largely underground and discharges the runoff from rain and snow.


The Lake of Scanno, three quarters of which is actually in Villalago territory, is located in the valley of the Sagittario River. It was formed when a landslide on Mount Genzana blocked off the Tasso River between 12,820 and 3,000 years ago.


The Lake of Salto is the largest artificial lake in the Lazio Region. It is located in the province of Rieti, and was created in 1940 by the construction of a dam on the Salto River that flooded the deep valley by the same name in the Cicolano area. Its waters are connected to those of the Lago del Turano by a 9-km long artificial channel excavated under Mount Navegna (1508 m). The two artificial lakes power the Cotilia generating station, built in 1942 to provide electricity for the Rieti area.


The Sinizzo Lake is a small, volcanic lake located just outside the town of San Demetrio ne’ Vestini, in the province of L’Aquila. It is named after one of the two springs that empty into it. The lake is round, with a diameter of 120 m and a maximum depth of 35 m. It is a popular weekend destination for locals and tourists, who come here to bathe, camp on its grassy and forested shores, and fish for trout, pike, carp and chub. The disastrous 2009 earthquake severely damaged the lakeshore, causing large crevices that raised concerns about the very survival of the lake, but shoreline restoration work made it possible to save it.


The Lake of Barrea is an artificial lake located in the province of L’Aquila. It was created in 1951 by the damming of the Sangro River near the Barrea ravine. The village of Civitella Alfedena and the town of Villetta Barrea overlook the lake. The Lago di Barrea wetlands, which in 1976 were added to the list of areas protected under the Ramsar Convention, correspond to the portions of the lake located inside the Parco Nazionale d’Abruzzo, Lazio e Molise, in the Comunità Montana Alto Sangro e Altopiano delle Cinquemiglia. The wetlands are administered and managed by the park authority, headquartered in Pescasseroli (AQ).


The Lake of Turano is an artificial lake located at one end of the Rieti Plain, in the Lazio Region, at an elevation of 536 m. It was created by the construction in 1939 of a hydro-electric dam on the Turano River, near the villages of Posticciola and Stipes. It is about 10 km long, with a shoreline measuring about 36 km. A 9-km-long tunnel connects it to the Lago del Salto, with which it powers the generating station in Cotilia. The lake lies at the base of Mount Navegna (1508m) and the forested nature reserve of the same name, and is overlooked by ancient towns and castles.


The Lago di Serranella was created in 1990 at the junction of the Sangro and Aventino rivers, in territory administered by the towns of Casoli, Altino and Sant’Eusanio del Sangro, in Chieti province. It constitutes a controlled and protected nature reserve of about 300 hectares, one of the largest in Abruzzo.


The Lake of Penne is an artificial basin created in the late sixties by the construction of the Penne dam on the Tavo River. It is located near the town of Penne, just downstream from the place where the Gallero Stream flows into the Tavo River. In 1987 the lake was turned into a nature reserve, the Riserva Naturale Controllata Lago di Penne.


The Sant’Angelo Lake, also called the Lago di Casoli, is an artificial basin created in 1958 by the damming of the Aventino River to power the Acea generating station at Selva d’Altino. It is in territory administered by the town of Casoli, in the province of Chieti, near the border with the towns of Gessopalena and Civitella Messer Raimondo. Despite being an artificial lake, it has become a thriving habitat for flora (cattails) and fauna (great crested grebes, kingfishers, mallards, bandicoots, moorhens, dippers, wagtails, herons, storks and cormorants). The lake is surrounded by a large oak wood (the Lecceta di Casoli e bosco di Colle Foreste), is overlooked by the Prata tower (the Torretta), and affords a splendid view of the western side of the Majella massif.


The Lake of Provvidenza is an artificial lake that follows the SS 80 (Strada statale 80 del Gran Sasso d’Italia). It was created by damming the Vomano River with a dam 52.2 m high. The lake serves as an intermediary basin that collects the waters from the Provvidenza power station and directs them to the San Giacomo power station. Water from the lake can also be pumped uphill from these two power stations to ensure an adequate supply of water in times of especially high electricity demand: the waters of the Piaganini Basin are returned to the lake through the San Giacomo power station, and the waters of the lake are returned to the Lago di Campotosto through the Provvidenza power station.


The Lake of Campotosto is the largest artificial lake in Abruzzo. It is located entirely in the province of L’Aquila, between the towns of Campotosto and Capitignano and the city of L’Aquila, at an elevation of 1,313 m. It has a surface area of 1,400 ha and a maximum depth of 30-35 m. It is part of the 1600-ha Riserva naturale del Lago di Campotosto, established in 1984 to protect the natural environment, and the Parco Nazionale del Gran Sasso e Monti della Laga.


The Lake of Bomba is an artificial lake created on the Sangro River by the construction of a compressed earth dam in the territory of the town of Bomba for the purpose of generating electricity for Rome. The lake is 7 km long, with an average width of 1.5 km and a maximum depth of 57.50 m. It can hold up to 4,000,000 m³ of water.

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