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- Leonardo 500
In Varenna, discover the shortest river of Italy and visit its source surrounded by nature.
Fiumelatte, Varenna (LC)
The Fiumelatte is one of the shortest rivers in Italy, running for 250 m from its source to the lake. It gets its name from the milky-white color of its waters during floods.
The specificity of this river is its intermittence: it appears towards the end of March and disappears, almost magically, in October. This singularity led scholars to speculate that the Fiumelatte, which springs from a natural karstic source, may act as an “overflow drain” for a large basin located inside the glacial accumulation zone of the Montecodeno (Grigna Settentrionale). Some kinds of rocks, like the ones of the Grigne, are subject to a disintegration process over time when getting in contact with water, called “karst phenomena”.
The river has piqued the interest of many, among which N. Stenone, D. Vandelli, L. Spallanzani, A. Stoppani, M. Cermenati and even Leonardo da Vinci, who mentioned the “Fiumelaccio” in sheet 214 of the Codex Atlanticus.
Fiumelatte, the hamlet crossed by the river and named after it, is reachable by walking along the "Greenway dei Patriarchi" for around 20 minutes from the center of Varenna. The source of the Fiumelatte river, in a picnic area inside the woods, is located above the hamlet and is reachable in 10 minutes by walking along a mule track.
(Adapted from a text by Paolo Ferrara and Alfredo Vago)