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Lakes in Central Italy

February 28th, 2009 Category: Lakes

Rome, Italy - February 26th, 2009

Rome, Italy - February 26th, 2009

Several lakes north of Rome (lower right quadrant) and west of the Apennine Mountains, capped by snow, can be observed here.

Lake Trasimeno or Trasimene, the lake green with algae towards the upper left, is the largest lake in the Italian peninsula south of the Po with a surface area of 128 km².

The Tiber River flows some thirty kilometers to the east of the lake, but the lake and the river are separated by hills. In fact, no major river flows directly into or out of Lake Trasimeno, and the water level fluctuates significantly according to rainfall levels and the seasonal demands from the towns, villages and farms near the shore.

South of Lake Trasimeno is Lake Bolsena, a crater lake  of volcanic origin. Its total surface is 113.5 km², and the altitude of its surface is at 305 meters above sea level. It is 151 m deep at its lowest point and 81 m deep on average.

The large lake to the southwest of Lake Bolsena is Lake Bracciano, in the Latium Region and 32 km northwest of Rome.

With a surface of 56.76 km² it is the second largest lake in the region (second only to Lake Bolsena) and one of the major lakes of Italy. It has a circular perimeter of approximately 32 km; its surface is 160 meters above sea level and its deepest point is 165 m.

It is a crater lake of volcanic origin; the collapse of the main magma chamber created the caldera now occupied by the lake. Some small craters are still recognisable around the lake and in the immediate vicinity.

As it serves as a drinking water reservoir for the city of Rome it has been under control since 1986 in order to avoid pollution of its waters. The use of motorboats is strictly forbidden, and a centralised sewer system has been built for all the bordering towns in order to avoid any spoiling of the water quality. This makes Bracciano one of the cleanest lakes of Italy.

Finally, between the Bolsena and Bracciano lakes, the smaller Lake Vico is visible. It is a volcanic lake and the highest among major Italian lakes, at an altitude of 510 m. The Lake is surrounded by the Cimini Hills, and is famous for its extensive beech forest, one of the most southerly in Europe. The elevation plus the surrounding walls of the crater apparently supply cool enough conditions for the continued survival of beeches here. A large part of the northern side of the crater is a natural preserve to protect this forest.

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