Along the Arni provincial road, which connects Castelnuovo di Garfagnana to Versilia, there is a small artificial lake for the production of hydroelectric energy, which looks like a sparkling emerald set in the bottom of the Turrite Secca valley. The dam, built in 1949 by the Selt-Valdarno, submerged the bridge and the Molino di Mosceta, while the ancient village of Isola Santa has been reflected, since then, in the green waters of the lake.

Isola Santa has its roots in prehistoric times. Archaeological excavations testify to a settlement already in the Mesolithic. Tribes of Liguri Apuani positioned their villages on the top of the hills around the course of the Turrite stream and sheltered in its narrow gorges when they were conquered by the Roman legionaries. The village was an important “hospital” built, as tradition dictates, by the Countess Matilde for the shelter of pilgrims and wayfarers who went up to the Foce di Mosceta.

The construction of the dam gradually led to the abandonment of the houses, made unstable by the continuous variation of the water level, until, in the 1980s, only the goats remained to live in the village.

Today many houses have been recovered with the typical stone slab roofs and the village has become a real hotel with the “fisherman’s house”, a bar-restaurant serving the many fishermen who frequent this specific regulation area for brown trout fishing. From Isola Santa there are several hiking trails that reach Monte Sumbra or the Panie Group, an easy walk runs along the right bank of the lake to reach the Pollaccia, a mighty karst source that feeds the lake itself.

Borgo di Isola Santa
lago di Isola Santa

Where to eat

Other interesting places to see: