Italy’s rivers are in critical condition amid the worst drought to hit some areas of the country in 70 years. Water levels are so low that archeological treasures, until now submerged, are being revealed.
Findings emerged in several areas including along the Tiber river, which flows through Rome, and the Po river in Piedmont as a result of the arid conditions.
Prehistoric animals and Bronze age remains in Lombardy
From the dry bed of the Oglio river in the northwestern region of Lombardy, foundation stilts dating back to the Bronze age have appeared. The wooden stakes driven into the river bed have been dated to the prehistoric period ranging from 2300 to 700 BC.
The drought has caused fossils from several millennia ago and a 100,000-year-old skull belonging to a large deer to re-emerge from Lake Como. The remains of rhinos, hyenas and lions have also come to light.
World War II boats in Emilia Romagna
In the northeastern region of Emilia Romagna, the wrecks of sunken Second World War boats have emerged in the natural reserve of Isola degli Internati. The two wrecks were built in the Giudecca shipyard in Venice and were hit and sunk by the Germans in 1943. A 55-meter-long barge sunk by WWII American bombing in 1944 has also resurfaced along the Po river.
A medieval bridge in Piedmont
In northern Piedmont, the Sesia, one of the most important tributaries of the Po, is revealing archeological secrets. The ruins of a red brick structure that resurfaced from the water have been identified as a medieval bridge and defensive bastions. Along the Po river near the city of Alexandria, a brick house built in the medieval period has appeared.
Ruins of a lost castle in Verona
In March, the remains of the ancient medieval walls of the Morando di Bonavigo Castle came to light along the Adige river. The ruins were thought to have been lost, but they appeared from the water as floods in previous years had washed away layers of silt and mud.
A triumphal bridge in Rome
With Rome’s Tiber river at critically low levels, the remains of an ancient bridge have emerged. It is thought to be the triumphal Bridge of Nero dating from the 1st century. Emperor Nero built it to improve connections to his properties on the right bank of the river, including his mother Agrippina’s villa. Although some of Rome’s ancient bridges are still in use, this one fell into disrepair.