The bell tolls for a drowned village

This is Italy's most famous drowned village.

Now all that is left of it is the bell tower of the former church of Altgraun, a village that was completely flooded by a dam project in 1950, peeking from the Reschensee lake near Graun in South Tyrol, Italy.

The village residents protested, but they were no match for an Italian power-supplying company's plans to join two natural lakes and create a giant artificial one.

When the company finally got its way, the surrounding villages were flooded. Only Altgraun's bell tower was permitted to survive as a historic site. Some 500 inhabitants were forced to leave their homes, according to The Huffington Post.

Since then, the church's bell tower has served as a memorial of the Vinschgau region.

Local legend holds that on cold nights you can still hear its bells ringing, although the bells were removed on July 18, 1950, a week before the waters came and drowned the church's bottom half.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 30, 2019, with the headline 'The bell tolls for a drowned village'. Print Edition | Subscribe