The Marmore Falls, in the heart of Umbria
Less than ten kilometres from Terni, in Umbria, are the Marmore Falls, among the highest waterfalls in Europe, at a whopping 165 metres. These are actually artificial waterfalls that form where the Velino River, starting from Lake Piediluco, flows into the Nera River.
The Romans began excavating the canal, specifically the Curiano Trench, in 271 BC. This engineering work aimed to drain the waters of the Velino River, which was overflowing onto the land, creating stagnant, swampy and toxic areas. The water was directed towards the edge of the Marmore cliff, and over the following centuries many alterations have been made to it until it ultimately became what we see today.
Three unique points of view
The Marmore Falls are divided into three jumps, which you can admire from two different points, the Upper Belvedere and the Lower Belvedere.
The first is located on the outskirts of the village of Marmore, on the road leading to Piediluco, offering spectacular views of the first jump, while from the Lower Belvedere you can admire the entire waterfall in all its majesty. A scenic path connects the two points.
From the Lower Belvedere, you can also access the Lovers' Balcony, a small terrace located in front of the first jump of the waterfall, embedded in the rock. It is so close you can reach out and touch the water, so don't forget to bring your waterproof! And unlike with other viewpoints, you have to be accompanied by an experienced guide in a small group.
The Falls at night
With the exception of the Balcony, you can visit the Marmore Falls on your own. There are six well-signposted trails, so you can admire the jumps from every possible angle. In the summer months, opening hours are extended past sunset to allow you to admire the views long into the evening. An LED lighting system brings a whole new charm to the Falls at night, producing special effects with beams of light that enhance the movement of the falling water.
Marmore: sport and culture
The Marmore Falls are also an ideal destination for water sports: from rafting to soft rafting, from canyoning to hydrospeeding, from kayaking to river walking, you are sure to be spoiled for choice.
Near the Upper Belvedere you will find the Industrial Archaeological Park of Campacci di Marmore, which preserves objects from the Narni and Galleto hydroelectric power stations.
The caves of the Archeological Park in Marmore
The Marmore Falls also have another nice surprise in store for its visitors. The park to which it belongs has karstic caves, which have been excavated by water over millennia. The main ones, in terms of both speleological interest and beauty, are set in three distinct complexes: the first includes the Grotta della Morta and the Grotta delle Diaclasi, the second is the Grotta delle Colonne, while the third, extending over 190 metres, is the Grotta della Condotta, named after the ancient conduit that once fed the hydroelectric power station system.
How to organise your visit
Visiting the Falls is a truly unique experience. So you can best enjoy its beauty, we highly recommend planning to be at a good viewpoint the moment the gates are opened so you can watch the powerful rush of water.
Otherwise, the Falls are still open, but with a reduced jet of water. The Falls also serve the Galleto hydroelectric power plant, meaning it is not only an environmental asset of rare beauty, but also a valuable resource for the area.
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