Visitors center of Erto and Casso (PN)

Opening time

Exhibitions “The Vajont Catastrophe – A space for memory” and “Vajont: images and memories”

The Visitors Center of Erto e Casso (PN) is located in the village of Erto, in the building of the former elementary school of the village.
It is one of the most important and complete documentation centers on the Vajont disaster and valuable point of reference for studies and research.

  • First section: “Vajont images and memories” hosts a vintage photo collection.
    The route will take you back in time to discover the traditions and customs of the Vajont people before the tragic events of 9 October 1963 until that fateful night when the huge landslide broke away from Mount Toc and fell into the artificial lake unleashing the fury of the water that caused 2,000 victims.
  • Second section: “A memory space” describes in detail and scientifically the whole story from the design of the hydroelectric reservoir of the “Great Vajont” until the tragic event. Everything is told through descriptive panels. Also you can see charts, graphs and compare three-dimensional models. In the multimedia room a CD-ROM allows you to have a global vision on the disaster and observe the graphic reconstruction of the landslide with also original footage.
    The double cd-rom of the exhibition can be purchased at our info points, or online.


A space for memory


The Visitors Center of the Park offers visitors a memory of the catastrophe of October 9, 1963.

The natural environment of the valley was upset and the community suffered:

  • death and ruin;
  • poor management of the risk level, both “before” with an excess of optimism and “after” with an excess of prudence;
  • poor management of the emergency and reconstruction.

For decades the community was expelled from the valley, deprived of its economy and pushed up to the split of its original unity. A third of a century has passed, but justice has run its course just a few years ago.




In the late ’50s, the community was deeply bound to a traditional agricultural economy, integrated with a small street trading. The narrow gorge of Vajont suggests to SADE the idea of ​​using the valley as a reservoir. It is thus realized a double curved dam of 265 meters, the highest in the world at the time. In 1960, coinciding with the start of the reservoir, two landslides took place. It is arranged a monitoring of the unstable slope, an extension of two million square meters. So it is settled an accurate diagram of the relationships between the increase of the lake level and the rise of the landslide movements.


In October 1963 the imminence of the landslide is obvious. There are not taken adequate measures to protect the population.



On the 9th of October 1963 a landslide of 300 million cubic meters collapses downstream within a time frame of 40 seconds, with a speed of 65km / h. The impact of the landslide in the lake moves a mass of 48 million m³ of water:

  • with a wave of 80 meters which spreads in the lake, devastating the settlements of the banks;
  • with a wave of 170 meters that crosses the dam and, rushing to the valley from a height of 400 meters, destroys the underlying villages.



After the landslide there is no more control of the lake level. In the bleak scenery of the shocked valley, “after” the disaster, institutions overestimate the risk. The entire population is evacuated.

When, three years later, the lake has been completely emptied, the institutions insisted on forcing the inhabitants to leave their villages. This ended up in a strong internal conflict between those who accepted the relocation and those who wanted to regain their valley and live there. In 1971 took place the traumatic split of the community through the  establishment of the new village of Vajont.

The Reconstruction Plan extends its action on an area  ​​22 times larger than the damaged one and almost “forgets” the Vajont valley.
Except for the restoration of viability on the right bank, the only intervention plan consists in the abandonment of the old part of Erto, to build a new settlement nearby.
No other intervention has been implemented in the valley. The whole left side of the valley is still burdened by inaccessibility constraints never removed.



Criminal case
The criminal case has been lasting over 8 years:

  • are committed for trial 11 defendants;
  • in the first trial, the prosecutor required a sentence of 158 years in total;
  • the judge in the retrial states that “the landslide does not exist from a legal point of view …” and sentenced, for the mere failure alarm, 3 defendants, for a total of 12 years;
  • on appeal the sentence, for the mere failure alarm, of 3 defendants, for a total of 12 years;
  • on appeal the sentence was reduced to a total of four years and six months;
  • Supreme Court of Appeal expanded the responsibility and reduced the sentence for two defendants for a total of 2 years and 8 months

Civil case

Filed against the ENEL company by the municipalities of Erto and Casso and then by that of Vajont. In 2000, 37 years after the catastrophe, the final ruling obliged ENEL to pay damages in the amount of 6,109,685 Euros.