A few kilometers from L'Aquila there is a submerged place they call "the little Atlantis of Abruzzo". It is the lake of Capo d’Acqua, an artificial basin on the slopes of Mount Scarafano, on the Gran Sasso, built to create an irrigation system that feeds a hydroelectric plant. The reservoir forms a fascinating deep-sea lake.
When the dam was built in 1965 to block the upper course of the Tirino, near Capestrano (Caput Aquae) some lands were submerged, along with some buildings used by the farmers. In fact, in ancient times there was a mill that belonged to a Capestrano family and a paint factory, built near the Capo d’Acqua spring. The paint factory is still visible today on the surface, while the mill, about 400 square meters in size, is completely immersed in the crystal clear waters of the lake. Incredibly, it is still in excellent condition, so much so that the blades that operated the millstones and the ancient construction techniques can be recognized. The remains of two arches, doors and windows are clearly visible.
Always submerged there is another slightly smaller mill, which was damaged by the 2009 earthquake, but which remains the most beautiful, because different structures and environments are still visible. The pavement of the ancient lanes remained intact and was once covered by peasants with their grain load. A sort of road that leads to Atlantis.
Since the temperature of the water, fed by the mountain springs, is cold and constant - around 10 ° C all year round - algae and lake plants did not form and visibility for those who dive is excellent. Yes, because the submerged mills of the Capo d’Acqua lake are a highly sought-after diving spot for scuba divers around the world. Some specialized magazines place this place among the best dive sites on the planet, along with the Red Sea and the Australian Great Barrier Reef. The scenery in which the divers find themselves, in fact, is unique, wrapped in the wonderful frame of the Gran Sasso National Park.
The environmental protection provided by the park prohibits other activities such as snorkeling or even just swimming, the only activity allowed is the underwater activity organized by the Atlantide divers school, the only holder of authorizations for guided dives that manages the lake and guarantees a lower impact on the tranquility of the fauna that winters in the lake during migrations.