The lost lake of Val Cogena


The beautiful emerald-colored lake of the Val Cogena, near Belforte, now only a good memory, in an old slightly faded slide.

It was November 1960 when suddenly, after many days of uninterrupted rain, a landslide broke off the mountain and obstructed the course of the Cogena stream, a small stream that flows into the Taro near Ostia Parmense. An entire mill was completely submerged, and many surrounding houses were completely destroyed. A lot of damage, a lot of fright, but no victims.

Over time, the surrounding land settled and the waters created a beautiful pond on whose banks the typical lake vegetation grew, over time the pond was populated by fish, shrimp and frogs, in short, a new and balanced ecosystem was born, a enchanted place where man was now little more than a ghost, a faded memory testified only by the remains of the old abandoned buildings.

In November 2000, again after incessant and heavy rains, a new landslide unexpectedly freed the stream from debris, and the lake disappeared as if by magic, in a single night, leaving only the memory of itself, now also disappeared. that.

Luckily I was able to find this old slide, which I had taken when I was still a beginner, and full of enthusiasm I was exploring our valleys.

I must say that the enthusiasm has not disappeared !

Recently (March 2022) Davide, a friend from England, seeing this image on the site, wrote me these words, which I report literally:

"My Italian grandparents emigrated from Italy over 100 years ago, my father's parents from Ravello and Minori, my mother's parents from Belforte (La Galla, in fact) in Valtaro.

We know Belforte well, and Gorro and Caffaraccia and Bedonia, Berceto, Tornolo, Tiedoli, Tarsogno and all the others. We have been there frequently in the summers of the past 20, 25 years or so. My maternal grandmother always lived with us and she often spoke of Belforte, so I feel I have always known him.

In 1933, for a few months, mother and grandmother returned to the family village: their house is still there, the last building coming out of La Galla, with Belforte behind and Il Groppo in front. However, no family lives there anymore.

Mom had just met the man who would become my father (in 1939) and she wrote to him in England every day. She walked the path that followed La Cogena, through those beautiful woods, to reach Ostia Parmense, then ran back home in the evening, before the onset of darkness.

They did their laundry in La Cogena, before the lake was formed. Clothes and bedding were loaded in baskets onto a donkey, a layer of clothes, then a layer of wood ash from the fire, then other clothes and so on.

No wonder you love it. I grew up there, then I saw it, then I lived there for a while. As you say, it is a little corner of paradise (and also with porcini mushrooms) ".

They are small tales of a life of other times, memories that evoke emotions, and it is suggestive when you visit these places, to perceive that every stone, every house, every path, every place, no matter how dumb it appears to us now, has its own stories. , which he jealously guards. Then it happens that from time to time these stones come back to talk, to recall, as in this case.

Today we see many desolate and lonely places, but once life took place here, as we cannot even imagine today.