One of the largest dams in Europe is in Bionaz. The artificial lake holds 105 million sq. m. of water and is fed by a 137 sq. km. catchment basin. Nearly 20% is made up of glaciers.
This spectacular dam, built between 1955 and 1965, 155 m. high and 678 m. long, is a real technological wonder, and, if this magnificent sight is enough to leave visitors standing open-mouthed, its maintenance is much more amazing.
As a matter of fact, the dam has an arch-gravity structure, with a base 47 m. high and a summit 6.43 m. thick. It was designed to ensure an effective inspection system.
Inside, there are two perimeter tunnels and eight horizontal tunnels through which technicians can walk in order to check, thanks to oscillations of plump-lines, “plump-bobs” and other precision instruments, the possible elastic strains of this huge dam.
For further information, you can refer to the original brochure printed in 1967 (PDF format), edited by Enel in Turin. Moreover, the historical photos of the pastures covered by the water of the dam are available in our photo gallery.