In the province of Varese, near the towns of Maccagno with Pino and Veddasca, there is a lake that overlooks Lake Maggiore.
Lake Delio, a small water-catchment at the foot of Mount Borgna, is 930 meters above sea level and overlooks from one side the Italian shore and from the other the swiss shore of Lake Maggiore. To get there we depart from Maccagno and climbs up a narrow uphill road (provincial 5) that offers breathtaking views, including a stunning view over the Cannero Riviera Castle. The reflexive games of the surrounding mountains on the surface of the lake, the unconventional nature and the view of the great lake below make Lake Delio a worthwhile visit, but if we add a veil of mystery, well, a visit is now dutiful.
In fact, there are not one but two legends about this lake but let us take a step back in time to understand the origin.
Lake Delio, or Lake of Elio, is a lake of glacial origin whose shape has been radically changed since the construction of two containment dams in 1911. Its name probably comes from the god of the sun of Greek mythology, Helios, and from this peculiarity the legends that tell the story of the submerged village at the bottom of Lake Delio are born.
It is told that in the 4th century, during the time of Christian evangelization, Saint Silvestro went to this area trying to convert to Christianity the population of a small village that worshiped the sun god. The inhabitants of this village of warlike nature did not like the action of the holy man and accused him of mischief on their lands. The saint was driven away and fatally managed to save himself after a tough pursuit but the divine wrath broke out on the village of pagans causing a waterfall of mud and debris that submerged the small village forever.
The second legend tells of a very rich town named Elio located on the shores of a small mountain lake. This place of high beauty had arid the souls of the inhabitants who were known among the surrounding towns for their arrogance and selfishness. One day a poor beggar came to the village to look for alms and hospitality, but knocking at all the doors did not get anything unless being dispelled. Awkwardly, the poor man made an additional attempt by knocking at the door of the last house that was more distant from the others from the center of the town. In this house, a woman and her daughter were preparing a soup. The man knocked and this time hospitality was granted. The woman offered the poor the soup and invited him to warm up by the fire.
In gratitude, the beggar who was in fact a powerful seer, confided to the two women that a catastrophe would happen on that same night and invited them to flee as soon as possible. The women believed him and along the paths of the woods, during their hasty "escape", heard the bell ringing from the town accompanying a tremendous roar and looking back they saw Elio sink into the waters of the dark lake.
At Campagnano, the two women saw the traveler again, who turned out to be Saint Rocco, who asked them to erect a chapel in his name.
Some say that even today, during the silent nights, one can hear the sound of the bells.