photo © Louise Shapcott
The Lake and Nature Reserve of Posta Fibreno
The Lake of Posta Fibreno is a protected Nature Reserve of approximately 400 hectares. The lake is fed by thawing snow and rainwater that has flowed down from the slopes of the surrounding mountains. As the rock is limestone much of the rainwater is channeled underground through karst systems. Where a pool of water collects the water becomes dispersed through a large number of karstic springs into the lake. Thus the water in the lake is icy cold and crystal clear, and remains at a constant temperature all year round. Together with its unique natural beauty and eco-system it provides is an ideal environment for many species of flora and fauna.
At the narrow end of the lake it meets a brook named Carpello and forms the river also bearing the name of Posta Fibreno. It is sometimes known as Cicero’s river as the Roman orator had a villa in this area and wrote about the river in his text “De Legibus”. The river Posta Fibreno flows on until it eventually merges with the river Liri.
The Floating Island
The lake has a curious floating island known la Rota, which has developed over the course of thousands of years due to an accumulation of peat, rhizomes, tree roots, plants and algae. The thick mat of vegetation is not rooted to the bottom of the lake, so it drifts according the undercurrents and the strength of the wind. Pliny the Elder wrote about this back in 77 AD in his “Naturalis Historia”.
Local fishermen use flat-bottomed boats, known as naue, which were traditionally made of oak and propelled by the use of a pole or an oar. It is thought that this type of boat was first utilised thousands of years ago by the Samnites. The lake contains an abundance of fish such as trout, carp, eels and freshwater crayfish which thrive in the cold well oxygenated water.
The water is lined by weeping willow trees, rushes, reeds and other aquatic plants. There is a variety of wildlife that inhabit this natural environment. It is a popular haunt of photographers, nature lovers and bird watchers. Several nature trails have been created through the park. The wildlife includes foxes, badgers, squirrels, hedgehogs, coypu, butterflies, damselflies and dragonflies. There are also numerous types of aquatic birds such as ducks, coots, moorhens, cormorants, herons and kingfishers.
Photo Tour of the Lake of Posta Fibreno
The water mill, for the milling of flour, was built in 1810 in the locality of Sorgentina by two noblemen named Lecce and Ruggeri. In 1851 the mill was bought by the Ferrante family of Alvito. Between 1905 to 1908 the structure was enlarged and next to the original building, Giovandiego Ferrante built a small hydroelectric plant, to power the local villages. The mill was still working until the early 1980’s. Then it was purchased by the Municipality of Posta Fibreno, and the structure was restored and the original machines (turbines, generators) put in place to function again. The mill can be visited as part of a guided tour, which can be booked at the offices of the Lago di Posta Fibreno Regional Nature Reserve.
The Museum of Local Culture
The Museum of Local Culture and Tradition / Museo Naturalistico Etnografico is divided into five rooms. The entrance hall has a reconstruction of the lake’s ecosystem and an exhibition of fossils and photographic panels that present the nature reserve during all the seasons. The second room contains fishing tools and a typical boat known as the nàue. In the third room there is a model of the municipal territory; in the fourth the reconstruction of a kitchen, which recalls the culinary habits and customs of the past; in the fifth there are more photographic panels and images. The Museum is located in the historic centre of Posta Fibrena in Piazza Cesare Battisti. It is only open by appointment.
Scuba divers also enjoy exploring the lake due to crystal clearness of the water.
In the deepest section of the lake, at a depth of 15 meters, stands a large crucifix constructed of steel and platinum. The cross was placed there in order to protect the lake and all those who visit it.
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