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The lakes of Avigliana between mysteries and fantasy

Wednesday 14 november 2018

A few kilometers from Turin we find the town of Avigliana, a famous village located within the Natural Park of the lakes of Avigliana, next to the Mareschi swamp.

The lakes of Avigliana between mysteries and fantasy

The lakes of Avigliana, besides being considered among the most beautiful in Italy, are surrounded by a thick curtain of arcane mysteries and supernatural truths.

There is who maintains that the mirrors of the water is nothing but the headstone of a rich and flourishing village sunk into the abyss of the earth because of the inhabitants' selfishness, others say that the depths of the water are the home of a magical fairy wearing pearl, maker of kaleidoscopic variation of breathtaking colors that the lakes reflect as the hours and seasons change. Some, on the other hand, testify to having spotted on the jagged surface the specter of Philip II wandering over the same waters in which he was executed.

The blue-eyed wayfarer

A few steps from the Marshes of the Mareschi family, in Piedmont, in the era of the feuds and the great castles, of armor and chivalrous ballads, stood the walls of a flourishing village, wrapped in pomp and opulence. With time, prosperity and prosperity, they corrupted the minds of the inhabitants by drying up their hearts to the point of getting lost in the darkness, too far from the tortuous path dictated by the good and love of neighbor.

One winter evening, a traveler, exhausted by the fatigue of his long journey and hungry by the endless fast, trudging, finally reached the gates of the village in search of shelter. Desperate to escape death and the icy cold, knocked from door to door begging for a warm bed and a ration to refreshment. The inhabitants of the village, seeing no profit in carrying out such a charitable action, refused to the poor man every act of mercy, leaving him in the hands of fate, which now seemed engraved on the hardest stone on earth.

On the verge of accepting what his destiny was reserving him, he came to the doors of a dilapidated house and was welcomed by a humble widow who offered him, within the limits of his possibilities, a warm meal and a place next to her fireplace.

At dawn the traveler was gone, and with him also the winter. From the window of the modest house the light of a new sun filtered, full of hope and warmth. The old lady, astonished by the premature departure of the old stranger, appeared at the window to admire the unexpected advent of spring and noticed that the village was gone. No trace of the streets or the rich houses of the inhabitants, only two blue lakes that filled the void left by the village, blue as the eyes overflowing with love of the humble wayfarer. And so that mysterious man rewarded the goodness of the widow, sparing her and punishing the wickedness of the inhabitants of the village, now condemned by their avarice and pride.

The noble wandering ghost

To enter into the merits of the legend of the wandering spectre of Avigliana we must go back in time to six and a half centuries ago, when he was executed, in the icy waters of Lake Grande, Prince Philip II of Savoy, son of James and cousin of the Count Green.

The young prince, after having been ousted from his throne, gathered an army, with the help of the Viscounts of Milan and the Marquises of Monferrato, declaring revenge to his usurper, the Green Count. In 1368 the company of Philip was defeated near Fossano and, as a traitor, was imprisoned in the castle of Avigliana. After the trial, the young man was sentenced to death by drowning in the icy waters of the large lake. The sentence was made on September 21, 1368 and it is said that, since then, Philip's spirit has always infested the waters and shores of his aquatic tomb, manifesting itself periodically on the anniversary of his execution.

In reality there is a double version of the defeat of Prince Philip, who would not have died drowned, but was saved by the Blessed Umberto of Savoy, ancient ancestor born in Avigliana, of whom the young prince wore a votive medallion around his neck at the time of 'execution. It is said that the young Philip found refuge in Fatima, Portugal, land that in the twentieth century became famous for the Marian apparitions, and died in 1418.

The water nymph

In the heart of the cold and glaucous waters of the Avigliana lakes, between the submerged slopes and the jagged rocks, there is a fairy-tale creature that gives charm and poetry to those who can read between the ripples of the waters dictated by the currents below the surface.

A nymph, a lady, a fairy adorned with candid draperies, they say she is the architect of the sudden chromatic variations of the waters through her sublime spells. She reveals herself as having arrived from another dimension, and like a painter with his canvas, she paints the surface of the water with gaudy notes, from deeper blue to peach pink.

It is not for me to suggest to you what legend to believe, my humble intent is to pass on to you this three unusual stories, leaving their conclusions to posterity.

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