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The Sideshow

Bell tower emerges from Italian lake

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The bell tower of Curon Venosta. (Diego Villa)

A surreal sight greets visitors in the northern Italian town of Curon Venosta: The steeple of a church submerged in the water.

As Slate reports, the people of the town had moved to higher ground soon after World War II to make room for an artificial lake. The abandoned city is now underwater, with the steeple the only hint of what lies beneath. The 700-year-old church, a tourist attraction, is even pictured on the town's coat of arms.

Repairs have been made over the years to keep it standing. The bells from the tower were long ago removed, but urban lore, says Slate, has it that some in the town, population under 3,000, can still hear them.

Underwater wrecks have long fascinated Austrian artist and scuba diver Andreas Franke, whose fantastical photographs, digitally composited, have showcased sunken ships. Perhaps a sunken town could be the setting of his next project.

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