By Nick Squires
March 11, 2021
There have long been claims that a third barge may still lie on the lake bed, and the recovery of the mosaic has rekindled hopes of finding it.
In order to recover the two existing barges in the 1930s, Mussolini ordered much of the lake to be dredged.
The mysterious third barge could lie in a part of the lake that was not emptied. A sonar survey conducted a few years ago found no trace of it, but that does not mean it does not exist, said Emiliano Belmonte, from the town council in Nemi.
‘Centuries ago there was a rockslide on that side of the lake which means that the legendary third ship could be underneath it,’ he told The Telegraph.
‘The sonar wouldn’t have been able to penetrate beneath the rock. We’re considering different methods of exploring the lake. The mystery remains.’
Alberto Bertucci, the mayor of Nemi, said there were reports dating back to the 15th century that a third barge could lurk under the water, with local fishermen pulling up artefacts from time to time in their nets. ‘There are clues that there is something there. It’s not over yet. These ships display the incredible engineering feats that the Romans were capable of.’
After the barges were recovered from the lake bed during the Fascist era, they were kept in a specially-built museum on the shores of the lake.