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Place Moulin Lake

A paradise for photographers, a dream come true for foliage lovers

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Where is

Valle d'Aosta

Lago di Place-Moulin, 11010 Bionaz AO, Italia (0m s.l.m.)


What it is and where it is

In one of the side valleys of the Aosta Valley, Valpelline, there is an enchanting place, a natural wonder that gives in every season such vivid colors that it seems to have just come out of a painting. To be perfectly honest, however, we should put quotation marks to that adjective, "natural," since we are actually talking about an artificial lake: the Place Moulin lake, created by damming the Buthier stream. But the beauty of this place is such that, despite the huge dam, one quickly forgets the role man played in all this, taken by the view of the forest and the Alps reflected in the perfect mirror of water.

Why it is special

The scenic beauty of this corner of the Aosta Valley is special in itself, especially for lovers of sharp colors, and photographers. Yet, even number crunchers can find satisfaction here, as Place Moulin Lake boasts several firsts: for starters, its 4-kilometer length makes it one of the largest lakes in the region. Added to this is the grandeur of the dam that contains it: it is one of the largest arch dams in Europe, built in 1965, 155 meters high and 678 meters long. A true engineering giant to be gazed upon with admiration.

Not to be missed

There is nothing to be done, you would never stop taking pictures, there are too many wonderful views and nuances! To complicate matters further thinks a path that, starting from the dam, runs along the entire lake, sometimes exposed on the shore, others guarded by huge larches, a very pleasant 4-kilometer walk that also leads to the nearby Prarayere Refuge. Enchanting!

A bit of history

Until the mid-1900s there was a verdant valley of pastures and alpine meadows in this area. In the middle of the century, however, things changed: it was the time when several dams were being built in order to create reservoirs functional for the production of electricity, and in this context the Valpelline and the Buthier stream were also selected. Construction of the dam began in 1961 and was completed in 1965, totaling 1,510,000 cubic meters of concrete. A monstrous figure, but one that created a spectacular lake, capable today of attracting visitors in love with its colors and landscapes.


The more curious, those who are not content to look at things from the outside, will be happy to know that it is possible to visit the dam inside between May and September, moving through various levels and closely observing machinery useful for the operation of the reservoir and its safety. Be careful, however: reservations must be made by contacting CVA - Compagnia Valdostana delle Acque.

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Alessandra Lana

What a sight! Once you get there, it's hard to leave.


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