Apr 21

Umbria’s Cascata delle Marmore: Majestic Italian waterfalls

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Set in the centrally located province of Umbria, the cousin province of Tuscany, lies deep forests, wide glens and mystic waterfalls. Umbria is called the land of saints and magicians, it possesses a natural intrigue of ever deepening beauty and quiet corners of countryside.


An hour or so from Rome on the train will get one to the industrial city of Terni. It is a bit of civilization surrounded by the wild forests, but a town that is not lacking in attractions like boutique shops, pleasant churches, fascinating parks and ancient ruins. Tourism here is not as common for outsiders, but in summer one will see many Italians exploring the inner workings of their own countryside.


terni 110The city is the dropping off point to get to the fantastic falls. The national park region begins just outside town where tunnels and towering cliffs ascend by the roadways. The Cascata delle Marmore is a waterfall with a curious past and present. The falls are some of the highest in Europe and they are in fact man made. Made by the ancient Romans that is, in order to provide adequate drainage to a high located river. The drop is 165 meters and it has been perfected over the years. Now it serves as a source of hydroelectric power and the waterfalls are turned “on” and “off” each day during regular park hours, as water flow is controlled by electric gates.


Arriving to the park early is one of the more recommended experiences so that one can see the first rush of water over the dry cliff face. For visitors coming from Terni bus station and Train station, use the line 7 and line 21 city buses. It is just a 10 minute ride from town. They run between 5am and 8pm, roughly similar to the park hours. Park hours are generally changeable each month, so be sure and check the official website, but it stays around natural daylight hours. There are slight park fees for access to special areas. There is also a bus that connects the upper panoramic viewpoint to the lower one. It is a small bus that costs 1.10 Euro, but the lines are long and it is often quicker to take the 20 minute trek up the mountainside on foot.


The falls are the main attraction of course. The water is swift and rough so no swimming is allowed. However the windy breezes will bring plenty of refreshing mist of a hot summers day. There are trails to hike, lookout points, places to rent white water rafting gear for the Nera river at the bottom and a tunnel carved into the mountainside that leads to a deck underneath the falls. There are guided tours and plenty of nature to experience at this breathtaking Umbrian display.


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