Vico lake is a caldera lake in northern Lazio, central Italy. It is one of the highest Italian lakes, with an altitude of 510 m. Administratively, it is part of the municipalities of Caprarola and Ronciglione. The lake is surrounded by the Cimini Hills, in particular the Fogliano (965 m) and Venere (851 m) mountains. It is part of the Vico Lake Nature Reserve.
A legend that is lost in the mists of time
According to legend, the lake was created by Hercules, who challenged the local inhabitants by exercising his stick. When he did, a stream emerged and formed the lake. The lake is fed by the Vicano river. Before the construction of a tunnel by the Etruscans, the lake was probably deeper than today, Monte Venere was an island inside. The area is famous for its vast beech forest, which is one of the southernmost in Europe. The elevation, in addition to the surrounding sides of the crater, creates fairly cool conditions for the survival of the trees. A large part of the northern side of the crater is a nature reserve to protect this forest.
Photo by Simone Frangipane