Lake Laudemio lies at 1525 metres above sea level on the slopes of Monte Papa, one of the highest peaks of the Southern Apennines, and part of the Sirino Massif. Located in the southern Italian region of Basilicata it was once known as Lago Remmo and is the southernmost lake of glacial origin in Europe.
Covering an area of 25 hectares, Lago Laudemio is fed by the waters descending the slopes of the Sirino Massif, which is covered in snow for around five months of the year.
During the quaternary period, which began 2.6 million years ago, the ice-age resulted in this area being covered in glaciers, the largest of which formed Lake Laudemio.
Due to the geological age of this southern Italian mountain landscape, it has become a protected area, along with the Lago Laudemio nature reserve. It is believed that the first human settlements in Basilicata were formed here and many fossils have been found, including mammoths, bears, hyenas, rhinos and giant lizards.
Because of its age, the surface of Lake Laudemio is covered in algae and grasses. These die down in the winter months and the water is clear, but in summer they cover the surface and make the lake look green, giving it the nickname 'Emerald Lake'.
The banks of the lake are heavily wooded with very tall, gnarled, ancient beech and alder trees. Within the woods there is an abundance of strawberries, raspberries and blackberries.
There are many beautiful wild flowers growing in this unspoilt, natural area and in spring the floor is carpeted with delicate crocuses. There are two plants that grow only in this area, Vicia sinnicae (a species of vetch) and the Astragalus sirinicus.
Wolves and salamander still live here and trout can be found in the lake.
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