Parco Gola del Tinazzo

Forra del Tinazzo


Useful Information

Location: Parco Gola del Tinazzo, Via Corna, 24063 Castro BG. Via Corna, Castro, on the western side of Lake Iseo, turn off at the cemetery.
(45.804285, 10.063910)
Open: no restrictions.
[2008]
Fee: free.
[2008]
Classification: GorgeGorge SpeleologyTectonic Cave
Light: n/a
Dimension: L=100 m, H=40 m.
Guided tours: self guided
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography: Alessio Amighetti (1897): La Gola del Tinazzo, Lovere, Tipografia Editrice L. Filippi, 1897. Italiano - Italian pdf
Address: Legambiente Alto Sebino, Via Rocca 6, 24063 Castro (BG). E-mail:
Massimo Rota, Tel: +39-348-7965880.
Patrizia Danesi, Tel: +39-348-5411746.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.

History

1535 flood.
1590 flood.
1692 flood.
1737 flood.
1820 flood.
1882 flood.
1905 flood.
1915 artifical gallery constructed and river diverted.
1980 non-profit club Legambiente Alto Sebino founded as ecological and anti-nuclear movement.
2008 Legambiente Alto Sebino founded in Castro.
31-JAN-2009 agreement between Lucchini RS and Legambiente signed.

Description

The Parco Gola del Tinazzo (Tinazzo Gorge Park) is a nature preserve with an extraordinary gorge. Normal gorges in the Alps are a result of the last cold age. After the glaciers were gone the drainage did not work any more, because the ice was replaced by rivers. Obstacle which were ignored by the ice, or sometimes created by the ice, were blocking the way and the rivers started to cut fast and deep into those obstacles. The result are narrow gorges.

The Gola del Tinazzo was created by the Borlezza stream. And since the stream exists it transported enormous amounts of debris, sand and gravel, though the narrow gorge into the lake. During the last 12,000 years it formed a peninsula protruding into Lago Iseo on which today the large industrial settlement of Lucchini RS stands. And that's quite a feat, because if you have a look at the surrounding shores of the lake: the lake is quite deep and the coast is in general a vertical cliff, which continues underwater. Even the fact that this place is used for industrial purposes is easy to explain. The water of the Tinazzo has for centuries supplied the power to work the iron ore which was mined in the surrounding valleys. Numerous mills and forges were built both upstream and downstream of the gorge.

The gorge influenced the life in the area massively. The river which powered the mills was important, but the gorge was actually a disturbance, even a danger. The water was flowing into the gorge, but if the inflow was blocked by logs and dirt, the water was dammed and flooded the surroundings, destroying human installations in a blink. The water could rise for 10 m and then, when the choke was broken by this enormous pressure, the results were even worse: the water flooded through the gorge with a deafening roar and an enormous force, unloading itself on the village of Castro and into the lake. So the gorge was actually a permanent threat of devastation.

Probably the best documented flood happened in 1590. The scholar Achille Mozzi from Bergamo, wrote “Vicus Oliveri Castri Memorabilis olim, Corruit, immensae turbine raptus aquae”. This translates "Castro, rich in olive trees and once worthy of memory, devastated, by immense water currents". After this flood a huge wall was built along the river below the gorge, intended to protect Castro. It is first shown on a map from 1626 and still visible today. The early industrial development of the area in the 18th century was destroyed by the flood of 1784. It completely destroyed the blast furnace which Ludovico Capoferri di Castro had built at the exit of the gorge. The problem was finally solved in 1915 by the construction of a tunnel and a canal and the diversion of the course of the river Borlezza. Instead of flowing through the gorge and across the peninsula, the water was channelled southwards into the lake near the Orrido di Castro. As a result the gorge became completely dry. To make sure all the water was redirected, even during high water levels, the entrance to the gorge was closed by a huge reinforced concrete wall. The wall became known as muro della vittoria (victory wall), because it was inaugurated in 1918, the year of the victory and the end of World War I.

The first idea to make the gorge accessible to visitors was made by Don Alessio Amighetti, a priest and scholar of nature from Sebina. In 1897 he published a book named La Gola del Tinazzo (see references) explaining the geology and speculating about making a visit to the gorge available to all. The construction of the diversion made such a development possible, but it never happened. The whole area is owned by the Lucchini family or actually the Lucchini SA, a steel company. They never had ambitions to own a tourist venue.

Since 1980 the non-profit club Legambiente Alto Sebino acted as an ecological and anti-nuclear movement. In 2008 the Castro subbranch Legambiente Alto Sebino was founded. On 31-JAN-2009 they signed an agreement with the owner of the land, Lucchini RS, for a free loan for 60 years of an area of 20,000 m² for the establishment of a public park. This was the day the Parco della Gola del Tinazzo was actually founded. During the next years the park was developed with trails and explanatory signs. The Gola del Tinazzo is a narrow cleft, between 1 m and 4 m wide, typically 40 m deep and it is visited for 100 m. The locals have cleaned the gorge for this purpose from gravel and sand, which allows to walk in on almost level ground. Educational signs were erected. You can walk the trail in the park self guided, but they also offer guided tours.

Finally a word on the river Borlezza. The gorge is called Gola del Tinazzo because Tinazzo is the local name of the river. Actually this river, which is only 25 km long, has six different names. Its spring is at the foot of Monte Pora and the river and its valley are named Pora. The next section from Castione is called Tede and the valley Valle di Tede. Then the name becomes Gera, Valeggia, and between Cerete Basso and Pianico Borlezza. At Poltragno it changes its name for the last time into Tinazzo.