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The red Tovel Lake

Lago di Tovel is a lake in Trentino, Italy. At an elevation of 1178 m, its surface area is 0.38 km². The lake has been recognized as a wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention in 1980. The lake is also known as Bear Lake because some brown bear live here; and as Red Lake because of the phenomenon that colored the water red until 1964 which happened because of a special alga.

Many fish inhabit the lake like the arctic char, the common minnow, and the stone loach. Around the lake, you can also find some grass snakes, a species non-toxic for humans.

The Lake became famous due to its biological unique feature; until the mid-1960s, the lake turned dark red during the warm summer days this is why it became known as Red Lake. The discoloration was due to masses of a special kind of microalga with the size of 20/100 mm.

Legend has that the red discoloration of the lake is due to a romantic love story with tragic ending. At that time, a princess named Tresenga daughter of the last King of Ragoli lived in this area. Many princes and kings proposed but no one was good enough for her. One of the Kings, Lavinto king of Tuenno did not want to take no for an answer and when she refused to marry him for the 100th time he send his army to Ragoli with the intention to change Tresenga’s mind. Neither the princess nor her people were willing to bow to the arrogant King of Tuenno and so it happened that they faced up to the attack even though being in an inferior position both in numbers and by force. The princess did not stay in the background but led her people.

The battle occurred on the lakeshore where the people of Ragoli succumb to the blows of the soliders of Tuenno. The princess finally suffers death by the hand of Lavinto who killed her with a dagger thrust. After the battle, the lake was discolored red due to all the blood shedding and they say that the lake changes its color to red to remind of the heroic people of Ragoli and their princess. Still today, her ghost supposedly wanders around the lake at night and cries for the fate of her subjects.