The History of Brenta river
The story of the river begins with a legend from the lakes of Caldonazzo and Levico, near the historic city of Trento. It is said that the origin of the first lake derives from a curse made by an old man who was chased out of the towns of Susa and Càldon and taken in by a kind old woman in the woods. Angered by the people of the valley, the old man caused a landslide on the mountains and submerged the two towns with water.
Another legend instead tells of how the tears of regret of the wicked children of Monte Fravort gave rise the thermal springs of Levico.
Historically, the name Brenta has roots linked to ancient Germanic settlements in the Trentino valley whose people baptised the river with names like Brint, running water, or Brunnen, fountain. In the Roman era, the river was baptised Medoacus, from the ancient Gallic colony of the Mediaci who settled in the modern-day Valsugana, or perhaps as testimony of the river springs between the two lakes.
In the Mediaeval era, the river took back its ancient toponym, and from the Latin term “rumoreggiare”, it was known as Brintesis, until in more recent times it was baptised as the Brenta, the name that identified reserves of water used in the event of fire and that in popular culture was always used in the female form, la Brenta.
The river that carved out the valley brought life into it and along its course gathered testimonies of civilisations that followed one after the other in time, unique landscapes and works of great artists who found inspiration there, populations with a wealth of culture, legends and traditions, ancient trades and crafts that still exist or have disappeared, like the timber trade, rafts and factories.
Local people have often had a conflicting relationship with the water here, particularly during the devastating brentane floods which have deeply scarred buildings and people’s memories since ancient history.