The morning arrived with more blue skies and cooler weather. With a shorter day’s walk ahead of me, I enjoyed a few more hours of much-needed sleep, and I began the 20 km trek to Lake Vico.
In the early afternoon, I reached Lake Vico. The Albergo La Bella Venere, a “tourist resort” became my home for the evening. Since my stay occurred during the off-season, I shared the twenty-room “resort” with two additional people.
Having studied a little Roman mythology, the legend of Lake Vico captured my attention as I learned that Hercules, famous for his strength and numerous adventures, created the massive lake. As repeated throughout the centuries, Hercules provoked the local inhabitants by thrusting his club into the earth and daring the locals to pull it out. When no one succeeded, he dislodged the club himself, and a great jet of water burst from the depression, creating a massive lake.
In actuality, the Vico volcano formed the lake about 100,000 years ago when the volcano ceased erupting and over time water from underground springs filled the caldera. Archaeologists believe that before the Etruscans, Lake Vico’s water levels were considerably higher. The Etruscans, known for their engineering expertise, lowered the lake’s level by approximately 66 feet, creating a marshland of rich volcanic soil. Today the shores attract a diverse collection of waterfowl.