The Damming Power of H2O

The vicissitudes of the tiny village of Isola Santa is linked to the power of H2O.

Located above the banks of the Turrite Secca river in northern Garfagnana, Isola Santa was once a thriving medieval town. It was a key place along the Foce di Mosceta, an old roadway that runs through the Apuan Alps. In 1950, a dam was constructed on the Turrite Secca. Half of the town disappeared under the water and the remaining beautiful stone-built buildings roofed with schist slabs were abandoned. It was – and still is – referred to as a ‘ghost town’.

A few years ago, some of the old structures above the waterline were restored as guest houses and B&Bs. Parts of the Foce di Mosceta now function as recreational hiking trails and trout are stocked in the lake for fishing. This new development is a slightly ironic twist to the town’s history that harks back to its reputation in the 13th century as a hospice place – a place of rest for travellers.

Isola Santa seen from the dam.


An opposite point of view of the lake from the inside of an abandoned building.


The dam for hydroelectric power – making use of all that H2O.


H2O: The Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge



  1. What a beautiful spot, Ironic indeed. I love the way you keep finding these gorgeous places in the Grafagnana, making me want to return soon.


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