The luxury ships disappeared from history, but their legend has persisted throughout the centuries.
Indeed, two wooden ships, one measuring 230 feet in length, the other 240 feet, were first spotted at the bottom of the lake in the 15th century. They were finally brought to light in the late 1920s under Italian dictator Benito Mussolini, who ordered the lake to be partially drained.
Unfortunately, nothing remains of the ships, as they were torched under mysterious circumstances.
But Caligula’s ships are difficult to forget: Rumors persisted about Mussolini leaving behind a third, 400-foot-long pleasure vessel.
To solve the boat mystery once and for all, authorities in Italy have mounted an in-depth search, which involves researchers from the Environmental Protection Agency of Calabria, Carabinieri divers of Rome, Port authorities of Fiumicino, Rome, and ISPRA, the Italian National Institute for Environmental Protection and Research.
“The survey actually began as a search for illegal dumping,” said Luigi Dattola, at the Environmental Protection Agency of Calabria.