Vagli lake and the “ghost town”

Vagli lake is a man-made-lake formed after the construction of the dam on the river Edron. In 1941, the Selt-Valdarno power company decided to build a massive dam on the existing river and to create a lake in order to feed the big turbines of the hydroelectric power plant below. The dam was finished in 6 years (from 1947 to 1953); it has a height of 92 meters and can hold 36 millions cubic meters of water. Under the artificial lake there is the medieval village of Fabbriche di Careggine whose population was transferred in the 50’s in new homes, in the village of Vagli di Sotto which overlooks the basin.
The “ghost”village reappears every 15/20 years when the lake is drained for the dam maintenance; this event causes a great curiosity in thousands of visitors and a bit of nostalgia in the local population who saw Fabbriche di Careggine many years before, in its full splendor.

The historical origins of this village date back to the thirteenth century when a colony of blacksmiths from Brescia choosed this site as a place to live and work. Under the domination of the Dukes of Este (lords of Ferrara and Modena), the village became one of the major iron suppliers of the state and it enjoyed a period of prosperity thanks to the construction of the Vandelli road, commissioned by Duke Francis III to connect and to allow commercial traffics between Modena and Massa. Even the marble minig on the local mountains helped to sustain the population of the small village till the construction of the dam.

The evocative and poetic documentary below was produced in 1994 with the contribution of Enel (power company actual owner of the dam). It shows the rebirth of Fabbriche di Careggine, the great interest of many visitors and the several events which were organized for the occasion: