1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Fucino, Lago di

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20197311911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 11 — Fucino, Lago diThomas Ashby

FUCINO, LAGO DI [Lat. Lacus Fucinus], a lake bed of the Abruzzi, Italy, in the province of Aquila, 2 m. E. of the town of Avezzano. The lake was 37 m. in circumference and 65 ft. deep. From the lack of an outlet, the level of the lake was subject to great variations, often fraught with disastrous consequences. As early as A.D. 52 the emperor Claudius, realizing a project of Julius Caesar, constructed a tunnel 31/2 m. long, with 40 shafts at intervals, by which the surplus waters found an outlet to the Liris (or Garigliano). No less than 30,000 workmen were employed for eleven years in driving this tunnel. In the following reign the tunnel was allowed to fall into disrepair, but was repaired by Trajan. When, however, it finally went out of use is uncertain. The various attempts made to reopen it from 1240 onwards were unsuccessful. By 1852 the lake had gradually risen until it was 30 ft. above its original level, and had become a source of danger to the surrounding countryside. A company undertook to drain it on condition of becoming proprietors of the site when dry; in 1854, however, the rights and privileges were purchased by Prince Giulio Torlonia (d. 1886), the great Roman banker, who carried on the work at his own expense until, in 1876, the lake was finally drained at the cost of some £1,700,000. The reclaimed area is 121/2 m. long, 7 m. broad, and is cultivated by families from the Torlonia estates. The outlet by which it was drained is 4 m. long and 24 sq. yds. in section.

See A. Brisse and L. de Rotrou, Le Desséchement du lac Fucin, exécuté par S. E. le Prince A. Torlonia (Rome, 1876).  (T. As.)