4. Lago di Carezza

4 Lago di CarezzaDolomites048

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This has been a popular tourist spot for more than 120 years now. The 1905 Baedecker Guide to the area notes it as “picturesque”. The attraction is the deep translucent green of the little lake. This is cause by the clarity of the water itself and the bright green of the algae on rocks beneath the surface. The lake is spring fed, and levels depend on snow melt etc. My visit for the photo above was in September, which accounts for the low water level. I would estimate the Zardini photo was taken at the same time of year, judging by the amount of lake shore visible, and the absence of snow on the Latemar mountain in the background.

Surprisingly, tree growth in the 100+ years since the Zardini photo was taken has not obscured the view, and I was able to recreate the Zardini view very closely, from the modern-day tourist viewing platform beside the lake.

I would not want to try to capture the lake in black and white. Its whole point is its deep greens. From a photographer of Zardini’s skills, I had always found the shot above something of a disappointment, despite the undoubted difficulty of photographing the place with the equipment and film-stock available at the time. Therefore, it was a delight to find that, in the guide to the Road from Cortina to Bolzano, Zardini treats travellers coming towards the end of their journey to this altogether better and more striking picture:

Karrersee - Book 2-32001

This is, I think, a late spring shot. Snow remains on the summits of the Latemar peaks, but the lake itself has had enough fresh meltwater to fill it completely. It is one of my personal Zardini favourites. I was fortunate to be able to visit the lake in September 2013 the day after it had snowed on the higher peaks, and took this picture, which is a fair match for Zardini’s great photo, except for the water level. And yes, that really is the colour of the lake!


I have managed to trace a few early postcards showing other sections of the Road in this area.

Here is possibly one of the most boring postcards ever produced, from the 1940s, of the Road below a prominent hairpin bend above the Hotel Karrersee. In August 2014 I was able to identify the spot. The circular stone feature is a large flower-bed. It is glimpsed on the right side of the road at about 4 minutes into this piece of
video here, taken that day. However, the trees beside the road have grown so tall that the view of the mountains is obscured. No doubt this makes it a far safer place to drive!

Above Karrersee001

This more evocative shot looks to be from the 1930s, and shows the Latemar peaks above the forest:

1930s nr Karrersee001

A little further up the Karrer Pass, before the summit, one passes the Hotel Latemar, still looking very much as it did in 1942, when this postcard was sent:


Hotel Latemar001


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