It’s no secret that my relationship with Italy brought with it a newfound love of the mountains.
There’s something about the beauty of the mountains and the elation I feel after spending the entire day outside that keeps me coming back, despite what I threaten during the long hike up.
So though a strong cold kept me from hiking, I still didn’t turn down the chance to head to the mountains on vacation this past summer. We went to Foppolo, to the same peak where I had a slight injury snowboarding last winter. The ski lift leading to the top of the ski slopes has a spectacular view but that wasn’t our final destination.
After taking the lift we hiked about ten minutes on a rocky path, aiming for the crest line ahead of us. As our path flattened out we were greeted with a small mountain lake.
Called Lago Moro, the lake is reachable both from Val Brembana, where we came from, and Valtellina, where our friends hiked from, serving as the easiest middle ground to meet at – and a beautiful middle ground at that!
The lake was formed in a natural mountain basin, filled by the mountain glaciers that surround it. The water is clean, the top glittering crystals, yet the lake’s depth gives it a dark color, possibly contributing to its name, Moro meaning Moor or dark in Italian.
It is said that during a full moon a cradle would appear in the middle of the lake. The most famous of the various legends that surround Lago Moro says that in the past a woman and her newborn lived in a house exactly where the lake now stands. One day a traveler knocks on the door asking for food and, after being harshly sent away, curses the house. That night the pouring down rain collected in the basin, flooding the house and taking the woman and child with it, ultimately creating the lake. Now, every full moon the crib with the baby appears, rocking on the waters of the little lake.
The legend comes from the local dialect: Lac de la Cuna, which means the cradle of Camonica (the valley that the lake is found in), though others say that it is simply a mistaken translation from the archaic dialect with the original name lac de la guna, guna meaning pit or deep basin.
On the cool, cloudy August day I didn’t yet know about the legend. Instead, I spent my time enjoying the chilly kiss of the mountain air, the color of the wildflowers and the view of hikers the size of ants summiting the peak that rises above the lake, passing the surprisingly docile Alpine Ibex on the way.