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The House on a Rock

Italy is peppered with tiny mountain villages, and Dezzo di Scalve is one of the smallest. The picturesque River Dezzo runs right through the middle of this small village. On each side of the village is a row of attached houses, as is common in the area. However, the row on the eastern side stands out, as one of the houses is built on top of a massive boulder. The boulder projects out of the ground and the two houses on the left and right of the boulder are actually built around its contour.

The oldest record of Dezzo di Scalve consists of a report compiled by a land surveyor in 1586 and it includes a drawing of the village. A prominent feature of the drawing is the same boulder, surrounded by a cluster of houses. This means that the boulder has been an integral part of this village for more than 400 years.

The large Gleno Dam was built above the village in 1923, but the project was immediately cursed by poor materials and poor workmanship. Sure enough on December 1, 1923, the tragedy happened. The central section collapsed, causing a mass of over 1.1 billion gallons of water to flood into the valley below.

Historical pictures of the town in the aftermath of the disaster show massive damage to roads, bridges, and the village itself that was almost completely washed away with 356 lives lost. However, among the few houses left standing are those that were constructed in and around the rock.

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