The legend of Lake Accesa in Massa MarittimaMysteries & Legends
The legend of Lake Accesa in Massa Marittima
Just minutes from Massa Marittima you can find a genuine natural oasis, Lake Accesa, on whose shores lies an Archaeological Park. The lake has a curious horseshoe shape and is fed by a spring located on the lake bed: despite popular beliefs claim it is a bottomless lake, it is actually about 40 metres deep, although mud and sediments have made it very difficult to measure it.
In Etruscan times, a small mining village was located not far from the lake. Silver, lead and other ferrous materials used to be processed here, as testified by the many artefacts found by archaeologists in the nearby woods. This area is also the location of another village nowadays scarcely inhabited: 'Forni dell'Accesa', where you can visit what remains of the kilns used for metalworking during the eighteenth century.
But what makes this lake so interesting? Legend has it that in 1218, in the same place we now see the lake, there was a cultivated valley with a small village. Expecting a bountiful harvest, the landowner forced his servants to prolong the threshing season until July 26th, the Feast of St. Anne protector of harvesters; a day which had always been devoted to rest and prayer. Around lunch time the sky grew dark and suddenly a cyclone destroyed the plantations: while everyone screamed in fear, the ground trembled and split apart, opening up a large chasm which swallowed up houses, crops and poor farmers. Huge tongues of fire elongated from the depths and could only be quenched by a torrential rain that unleashed violently. And so, in just over half an hour, what was once a flourishing valley became a small dark lake that exuded a reddish glow.
It is said that even nowadays, if you go to the lake on July 26th, you can hear the cries of farmers and animals fleeing the disaster that struck their village that distant day... and, by listening carefully, you can even hear the sound of the village bells!
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