Lake Carezza, Trentino-Alto Adige, Italy

Lake Locations:

Italy - Trentino-Alto Adige -

Also known as:  Lago di Carezza, Karersee, Rainbow Lake

Often called ‘The Pearl of the Dolomites’, Lake Carezza is one of the must-see sights in the Trentino-Alto Adige region of northern Italy. Located at the foot of the Latemar Massif, the smallest group of peaks in the Dolomites, the towering, snow-capped peaks are reflected in the small pool of water called Lago di Carezza in Italian and Karersee in German. The name means ‘the caress’ in Italian, and the clear, ever-changing waters certainly add a visible caress to the stunning landscape.

Less than nine acres in size, the glacially-carved lake has no visible inlet for water, being supplied by underground springs and snow melt. Pictures of the Dolomites reflected in the lake’s surface have graced the pages of such publications as National Geographic and are often used in tourism brochures. But nothing reflects the true beauty of the lake like a visit in person.

Small but deep, the lake is also known as the Rainbow Lake. The colors displayed in the waters are stunning and attributed in an old folk-tale: a spurned sorcerer formed a rainbow to seduce a nymph who lived at the lake and when eluded, ripped down the rainbow and threw it into the water. In truth, many of the colors are reflected from the surrounding evergreen forests, colors of the mountain rock faces, and the sky above. The size of the beautiful pool varies according to the season and is largest after the spring snow melt. The fame of the lake continues to grow, with most local tours of the area including a stop at one of the viewing platforms near the lake. The entire area is a holiday favorite, so plenty of lodgings such as hotels and guest-stays are found nearby. Several spa resorts are located in the area.

The nearby town of the same name is a popular holiday destination during all seasons. In winter, Karerzee hosts guests to two ski resorts guaranteed to produce great skiing amid beautiful mountain backdrops. One includes the first snow park for children-a big hit with families. Located in sunny Val d’Ega, the Village of Carezza or Karerzee is geared to tourists, with plenty of lodgings, restaurants and resort areas featuring miles of walking paths and outdoor adventure activities. The Village of Karerzee is often the beginning point for mountain climbing treks, and several horseback riding facilities in the area offer horseback tours of some of the most scenic areas.

The entire Val d’Ega is home to small picturesque villages where tourists are welcomed and entertained. Sunny pastures filled with wildflowers give way to forests and the rocky foothills of the Dolomites. Besides Latemar Mountain, the valley is walled by the red cliffs of Rosengarten (Rose Garden) Mountain. This mountain has a pinkish hue due to the mineral composition of the rock, with romantic legends attached to its color. Between legends of destroyed rainbows and the also-thwarted Laurin, King of the Dwarves whose rose garden turned the mountain red, the area near Lake Carezza is steeped in folklore and offers a glimpse into the rich legends of South Tyrol. The scenic beauty and environmental richness of the Dolomite Mountains are why the UNESCO Council nominated them in 2009 as a Natural World Heritage site.

No visitor to Lake Carezza should pass up an opportunity to visit some of the most interesting locations in South Tyrol. Only about an hour-and-a-half north of the lake, the South Tyrolean Museum of Mines is a hands-on museum of mining near Ridanna. Until recently a working mine, visitors can see the history of 800 years of mining technology and the complete production process involved in extracting minerals from the dolomite and mining dolomite itself. The natural environment within the mine tunnels is reputed to be good for colds and sinus problems.

Only an hour from Lake Carezza, the City of Bolzano holds many historic buildings and castles, highlights of a far different era. Late Middle-Ages Sigmundskron Castle is now in ruins, its vast fortifications a mere shell of its former glory. But it remains an important reminder of South Tyrol’s fight for freedom. The castle holds one of the four mountain museums established by famed mountaineer Reinhold Messner. Open for daily tours, nearby Maretsch Castle was built as a private residence rather than for military purposes. The oldest part of the castle dates to the 13th century.

The South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology in Bolzano holds the area’s oldest inhabitant: the mummy of famed Otzi, the Iceman. Carefully preserved in a temperature-controlled chamber, Otzi’s naturally mummified body was found in the mountains by hikers and had been frozen immediately after death about 3300 BC. With Otzi were found tools, weapons and stored food. The information gained from studying Otzi and his belongings has been translated into a series of displays and hands-on activities that will awe children and adults alike. Did Otzi visit Lake Carezza? We can only speculate. The capital city of South Tyrol, Bolzano is one of the few Italian-speaking cities in the area and holds Free University of Bozen-Bolzano, where lectures are held in German, Italian and English. Some of the highlights of interest to tourists are Museion, museum of contemporary and modern art, Muri-Greis Benedictine Monastery with baroque paintings by Martin Knoller, and several historic churches. The city is home to several popular sports teams.

The history of South Tyrol is one of changes. First ruled from Rome, the area was taken over by Bavaria and was home to a largely German population ever since 700 AD. Before World War I, the area was ruled by the Hapsburgs and became a county of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. South Tyrol fell into Italian hands during the war where it has remained. Concerted efforts by Mussolini to change the area into a more Italian territory were largely successful, although highly discriminatory. Now, the autonomous province by law protects the rights of the German-speaking minority. Meanwhile, underneath all of the world turmoil, little Lake Carezza has held its own dramas in the form of elusive lake nymphs, drowned rainbows, thwarted dwarf-kings and the former inhabitants of Otzi’s mountainous homelands. Lake Carezza stays the same: hauntingly beautiful and a magnet to visitors the world over.

Things to do at Lake Carezza

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Hiking
  • Mountain Climbing
  • Horseback Riding
  • Museum
  • Ruins

Lake Carezza Photo Gallery

Lake Carezza Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Not Dammed

Surface Area: 9 acres

Shoreline Length: 1 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 4,984 feet

Maximum Depth: 56 feet

Drainage Area: 2 sq. miles

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Trophic State | LakeLubbers

Trophic State measures the level of algae and nutrients in a lake.

An oligotrophic lake is very clear (blue in color) and does not support much plant or fish life. A hyper-oligotrophic lake is the clearest of all lakes, and is nearly devoid of plants and fish.

A mesotrophic lake is slightly green and supports a moderate degree of plant and fish life. A lake's most desired trophic state is generally this mid-point - the mesotrophic state.

A eutrophic lake is somewhat murky and supports a large amount of plant and fish life. A hypereutrophic lake is clouded with algae, plant life, and fish life. A eutrophic or hyper-eutrophic lake can be difficult to navigate by boat - and is often an unpleasant place to swim.

The use of phosphorus-rich and nitrogen-rich fertilizer on lawns and golf courses surrounding a lake can cause it to become eutrophic or hypereutrophic.


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Catchment or Drainage Area | LakeLubbers

This is the surrounding area that drains into a lake, including land, rivers and their tributaries. This is also known as the lake's "catchment basin".

Small lakes at the highest peaks of mountains have small drainage areas. The world's oceans have the largest drainage areas.


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Lake-Area Population | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated number of people who live in a house with a view of a lake, plus those who self-describe the lake as their home, for example: "I live at Smith Mountain Lake."


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Water Residence Time | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated time that it takes for an amount of water equal to the entire volume of a lake to flow out of - or evaporate from - the lake.

Residence Time can be as short as a few days for fast-flowing small lakes, and can exceed 100 years for slow-flowing large lakes.


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Completion Year | LakeLubbers

This is the year that a reservoir was first filled to the reservoir's normal elevation - or the year that a natural lake was first dammed. A large reservoir can take more than a year to fill after its dam is first closed.

The Grand Anicut in southern India is generally considered the world's oldest dam that still operates. Grand Anicut was constructed in the second century BC. It now impounds an irrigation network that includes roughly one million acres.

You can find many of the the world's newest reservoirs on LakeLubbers. Many of the world's oldest reservoirs appear on the last page of that list.


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Water Volume | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated volume of water that a lake contains -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. By this measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal.

You can find many of the the world's largest lakes (by water volume) on LakeLubbers.

Water Volume can be measured in acre-feet, in cubic miles, or in cubic kilometers. One acre-foot is the amount of water needed to cover one acre (43,560 square feet) to a depth of one foot. One cubic mile equals 3,379,200 acre-feet. One cubic kilometer equals 810,713 acre-feet.

1 acre-foot is equal to 325,851 US gallons. Siberia's Lake Baikal contains about 6,276,367,740,000,000 gallons of freshwater - nearly 1 million gallons for every living person on earth.

The other - and more widely used - measure of a lake's size is the lake's surface acreage. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is North America's Lake Superior.


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Maximum Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated greatest depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. The world's deepest lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal; that lake's maximum depth is estimated at 5,314 feet.

You can find many of the the world's deepest lakes on LakeLubbers. If you select the last page of that list, you will find the (maximum depth of) the shallowest lakes in our database.


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Average Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated average depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. If the water volume and surface area of a lake are known, an estimate of the lake's average depth can be calculated:

Water volume ÷ Surface Area = Average Depth

Example: 1,000,000 acre-feet ÷ 20,000 acres = 50 feet average depth


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Maximum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's highest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can occur during flooding. A lake's highest possible maximum elevation is usually the top of the lake's dam or spillway.

At lakes that include residential development, government regulations usually forbid the construction of homes below a lake's maximum elevation.


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Minimum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's lowest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can be reasonably expected to occur. Low lake levels can occur due to deliberate seasonal draw downs for irrigation or impending snow melt, reduced water inflows, drought and evaporation, residential or commercial water demands, and hydropower generation.

Some lakes' minimum and maximum elevations are virtually the same. Lakes that generate hydropower may vary by several feet - according to power demand. Lakes whose primary purpose is to prevent flooding can seasonally vary by 100 feet or more.

When some lakes reach their minimum elevation, their boat ramps may not be long enough to permit boat access - and boats docked on shallow parts of the lake may end up on dry ground. In those cases, kayakers and shore-based anglers may be among the few happy recreational users of the lake.


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Normal Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's normal water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level. For a reservoir, this water level is also known as "full pond" or "full pool".

You can find many of the world's highest-elevated lakes on LakeLubbers. Lakes with the lowest elevations (known by LakeLubbers) are shown on the final page of that list.


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Shoreline Length | LakeLubbers

This is the length of the exterior shoreline around a lake - measured at the lake's normal elevation. The shoreline length can be considerably shorter or longer when lake water levels are lower or higher than normal.

A lake with many coves has a much longer shoreline than a lake of similar surface area that is nearly circular in shape.

When known, the shoreline miles that we report in our statistics include only the lake's exterior shoreline, and exclude the shorelines of islands located within a lake's boundaries. In lakes with many islands, those islands' combined shorelines may exceed a lake's exterior shoreline.

You can find many of the world's longest-shoreline lakes on Lakelubbers.


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Surface Area | LakeLubbers

This is the area (acreage, square kilometers, etc.) of the top surface area of a lake - measured at a lake's normal elevation. The surface area can be considerably smaller or larger when lake levels are lower or higher than normal. North America's Lake Superior is the world's largest freshwater lake by this measure.

The other measure of a lake's size is the lake's water volume. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Lake Baikal in Siberia.

You can find many of the world's largest lakes (acres) on Lakelubbers. There is no widely-accepted minimum surface area that defines a lake. What Lakelubbers describes as a lake, you might call a pond. The smallest lake that Lakelubbers currently includes is Hawaii's 2-acre Lake Waiau.


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Water Level Control | LakeLubbers

This is the organization that controls water releases or outflows from the lake or reservoir. In the USA, this is often the US Army Corps of Engineers, a power company, a municipal water system, an irrigation district, or a paper manufacturing company. In the case of private or gated lakes, a homeowners' association may be the lake's controlling authority.

Many lakes cross borders, including North America's Great Lakes. The control of such lakes and their coveted freshwater may be amicably shared - or hotly disputed.

"Water wars" continue at many lakes as growing populations and crop irrigation needs compete for the freshwater that lakes contain.


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Lake Type | LakeLubbers

There are 3 basic types of lakes that are currently included on LakeLubbers. 2 types may be dammed or not dammed, producing 5 classifications.

- A Reservoir is a man-made freshwater lake that is usually created by damming rivers.

- A Natural Freshwater Lake occurs naturally - often by glacial activity - and has a salinity of less than 30 parts per thousand. It may be dammed to produce electricity or for other reasons.

- A Natural Saltwater Lake occurs naturally and has a salinity of more than 30 parts per thousand (ppt). It may be dammed.

"Brackish" water may be categorized as freshwater or saltwater, depending on its salt content (salinity). Oligohaline water has less than 15 ppt of salt. Mesohaline water has 15-29 ppt. Polyhaline has 30-335 ppt.


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