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Osteno Gorge

The Ceresio Canyon loved by scholars

Italia, Regione Lombardia, provincia di Como, Claino con Osteno

Positioning

Osteno

COORDINATES
(CH 1903) E   727507 N   96201 H   296.0
(WGS 84) Long.   9.085 Lat.   46.005
GENERAL EVALUATION
DIFFICULTY E-T2/T3
SCIENTIFIC INTEREST PRIMARY:
Hydromorphologie

SECONDARY:
Glacial morphology
OTHER INTERESTS Naturalistic, Historical
GEOSITE   GEOMORPHOLOGICAL - canyons

DESCRIPTION

The Osteno Ravine, or “Fisherman’s Gorge”, is a magnificent example of the erosive power of water which over the millennia has dug a valley of steep, very narrow walls enclosing a meandering course. Entering the narrow gorge, which constitues the end of the River Telo valley, several embedded twists and turns of the river may be observed. These become ever more narrow, while above them are the remains of old mazes, signs of the previous base level.

INSIGHT

The ancient valley now occupied by Lake Lugano deepened by several hundred meters during the Messinian Age (circa 5 million years ago), when, as a result of the temporary closure of the Strait of Gibraltar, there was a gradual drying up of the waters of the Mediterranean, which were no longer connected with the Atlantic, and a consequent lowering of the base level. Moreover, the wide valley was occupied several times during the Neozoic Period by glaciers slowly descending towards the south, carving the sides of the valley and deepening and widening its bottom. The Telo River, having to connect quickly and ever more deeply at the base level, thus dug a deep gorge by exerting an erosive linear action.

CURIOSITIES

For much of the ninth century and the first decades of the 900s, the “Fisherman's Gorge” was a frequent tourist destination, a special boat even going there from Lugano. At the point where the valley began to narrow, an artificial dam obstructed the course of the Tela River, giving rise to a small lake. Visitors were able to continue in rowboats along the narrow and seemingly threatening bends of the ravine to a grotto style restaurant, where they could relax right next to the river. This site was made famous by the writer Antonio Fogazzaro, who described it and recreated its enchanting ambiance, character and atmosphere in his novel “Malombra”, published in 1881. In 1940 the book was made into a film for which some scenes were shot inside Osteno Gorge.
scala temporale periodi geologici

HOW TO REACH THE SITE

This geological site, located at the entrance of the small inhabited area of Osteno, can be reached from Val d’Intelvi along S.P.14 in the direction of Porlezza, continuing to Osteno. Coming from Porlezza, go towards Val d’Intelvi on S.P. 14. Park in the large car park at the entrance of the town, located on the right bank of the river before the bridge.

USEFUL INFORMATION FOR THE VISIT

Unfortunately, the site is privately owned. Until a few decades ago it was open to the public, but it is now closed and in a state of neglect.

http://www.osteno.it/

project | contacts | links | partners
Programma di cooperazione transfrontaliera Italia - Svizzera 2007 - 2013 Progetto cofinanziato dal Fondo Europeo Sviluppo Regionale (FESR)
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