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The Brasimone System

Lake Brasimone

The basin has an area of approximately 0.5 km², a maximum depth of 29 m and a capacity of about 6 million cubic meters of water, which are retained by the Scalere dam (35 m high). The Enea Brasimone Research Center is located on the southern shore of the reservoir, next to Villa Ruggeri (an early 1900s residence now housing the Agency’s offices). There are small picnic areas along the shores of the lake, which is inhabited by fish species that were mostly introduced here in the past and by a plankton population similar to that of Lake Suviana, resulting from the continuous mixing of the waters from the two reservoirs. Even in the Brasimone basin, the dam was constructed along a narrow stretch of the valley against solid sandstone walls at the start of the Brasimone gorges and it flooded a large hollow of clay-rich land.

The upper course of the Brasimone Stream

The stream banks are flanked by vegetation that is typical of mountain waterways, including various species of willow shrubs, especially rosemary willow and purple willow. In the spring the undergrowth blooms with the scented blossoms of the dark columbine and the small white, bell-shaped flowers of the snowline wintergreen (Pyrola minor). Numerous aquatic macroinvertebrates inhabit the cool waters: you can easily spot caddisflies, insect larvae that live along the stream bed in protective cases made from gravel, twigs and plant residues.

The Brasimone Gorges

Immediately below the dam, the left bank of the stream  is dominated by majestic rocky cliffs, known as the Cinghi delle Mogne, where you can see the rhythmic and regular stratifications of the turbidite sandstones that are covered in low-lying and discontinuous vegetation, including European hop hornbeams, manna ashes, oaks, sweet chestnuts, beeches and various shrubs. The sheer rock walls are inhabited by kestrels, peregrine falcons and other raptors, which you’ll see flying swiftly along the cliffs as they perform spectacular aerial acrobatics. Along the mountain ridge, at an altitude of 950 m, you’ll find the opening to the Grotta delle Fate, a natural cave which originated from a fracture in the sandstone layers. The cave is about 70 m long and 3 m deep and it features a fascinating subterranean fauna.