The Val di Non in northern Italy is one of the most beautiful areas in the entire region of Trentino. Unique landscapes of the Dolomites, fresh air, castles, and crystal clear lakes await you in every season of the year. One of the hottest destinations in the summertime is the man-made Santa Giustina Lake which offers everything from kayaking to a beach.
A Dam Created for Hydroelectric Power
The artificial Santa Giustina Lake was created between the years of 1946 and 1951 when the Noce river was dammed creating valuable jobs just after the war. For quite some time, it was actually the highest dam in all of Europe.
It was named after the small hermitage which is found in the valley just below the dam. Dedicated to martyrs Saint Justina and Cyprian, very little remains of the building that was probably built prior to the 15th century, but it is still a lovely hike.
What to See and Do at the Lake
In recent years, as tourism in the region has continued to increase especially in the summertime, Santa Giustina Lake continues to attract visitors with its beauty and water sports.
From the lakeshore in Plaze del Dermulo, you can witness the bridges of Pont dei Regai and Pont dela Mula reappear when the water level is low, typically around March or April. Both bridges predate the lake by centuries with Regai dating to the mid-1800s and Mula to the Middle Ages. A third bridge, Ponte Alto originally dated to Roman times and is not always visible unless the water level is extremely low.
If you want to see the lake in its entirety then enjoy the spectacular panorama from the Dos de Pez hill in Cles. The Cles Castle is also located here but is a private residence and cannot be visited. (Click here for other castles you can visit in Val di Non).
The Beach and Kayaking
If you want to enjoy the lakeshore then head to Le Plaze, a restaurant/bar that is open all day in the summertime and is a great place to listen to music and enjoy an aperitif in the evening. There is also a small beach here with umbrellas even though the lake is technically not open for swimming.
Kayaking is an absolute must here as excursions depart from the lake and head to the Novella River Canyon and gorges. This adventure is best enjoyed in the mid-day sun when the sedimentary rock’s colors appear in varying shades of red and orange. You’ll enjoy views of the Cles Castle, surrounding vineyards and apple orchards as well as the Brenta Dolomites. You can venture out alone by renting a kayak and safety equipment but if you are not an experienced kayaker, then you should hire a guide. This is appropriate for families as well.
Of course, hiking is extremely popular in the region and can be enjoyed by people of all ages and abilities throughout the entire year.
Santa Giustina Lake should be on your must-see itinerary when you visit Trentino’s fabulous Val di Non.
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