Umbria Blog | A day trip to the Marmore Falls in Terni

The Marmore Falls, Cascata delle Marmore, are situated in the Valnerina near the town of Terni. The total height of the waterfall is about 165 m. This park is used by men and women, young and old. It yearly attracts quite a number of visitors in Umbria. The Marmore Falls is the tallest man-made waterfall in Europe!

The story about the origins of the hand-made waterfalls you can read in a previous blog.

The waterfall can be reached from two different points: one is Belvedere Superiore, and the other is Belvedere Inferiore. You can walk from one viewpoint to the other by taking the walking trail, or alternatively by car or bus service. At the lower part of the waterfall you can observe in full the three falls from the river Velino into the Nera River. From here you have a complete view of the waterfall. At the upper part is a spectacular panoramic view of the first cascade.

In the water park of the Cascata delle Marmore is a hiking trail made up of 6 different paths suitable for all ages. The paths allow you to see the three drops of the waterfall closeby. They all bring you to the most beautiful points of the park, like the the Lovers Balcony and Specola.

Path nr 1 is one of the most challenging paths of the park: The historical journey of the waterfall which connects the Lower Belvedere to the Upper Belvedere. This path is not suitable for small kids, as it is quite long and steep. But, you can also think to go through half of it, and go back. Just to enjoy the beautiful nature.

Paths n. 2 and n. 3 are similar and more suitable for (small) children. Within 20 minutes they will take you via little steps and small wooden bridges, right into the hart of the waterfalls. The starting points from both path routes are from the Botanical Garden, located in the area of the Lower Belvedere. 

The Balcony of lovers : “Balcone degli Innamorati”

In front of the first drop of the waterfall there is the balcony of lovers, located at the end of the tunnel. A must see for the whole family. To cross you may need a raincoat because there’s a lot of vapor. At the terrace you can stand behind the waterfalls and virtually touch the water. The view is amazing and especially the kids will get enthusiastic!

The Obervatory : “La Specola”

The Specola is a loggia, a sort of tower, at the end of Belvedere Superiore of the waterfall. An amazing stop. Everybody goes into this tower to enjoy the view it offers over the waterfall, the vegetation and the surrounding villages.

In the park are picnic areas and bars, ideal for a quick lunch, coffee or a snack.

 

Rafting down the waterfall

If you’re looking for water sports and more adventure there is also a club in the waterpark which organizes rafting, hydrospeed and canyoning tours. A unique experience for professionals and even (sportive) beginners!

Information

For information on tickets have a  look at this link.
Important: check also the timetables and opening of the water before departure. The waterfall is open for a few hours when they open the dam on top.

It is recommended to wear good walking shoes or trainers and a waterproof jacked. There are free car parks available both at Upper and Lower Belvedere. 

In the weekends the waterpark is crowded with visitors, weekdays visits are more recommended.

Umbria Blog | a visit to the San Francesco woodland “Bosco di San Francesco”

Recently I visited one of the most beautiful places in Assisi: the “Bosco di San Francesco”. The famous woods where the saint patron of Italy meditated and prayed.

The woodland of Saint Francis can be accessed next to the Basilica di San Francesco. You will see a large stone wall to the right and a wooden door. Through this door one can access the woodlands. You can also access the trail midway from the Santa Croce Visitors’ Centre in the valley below.

There are three different historical landscape itineraries:

1) the “landscape” route
2) the “historical” route
3) the “spiritual” route

In the summer season Assisi is crowed with tourists and visiting the woodlands of San Francesco is a good alternative to avoid the hustle and bustle. Since November 2011 the woodland is open to public and is managed by the FAI National Heritage Fund, the Fondo Ambiente Italiano. The FAI is a non profit foundation that operates thanks to the support of individuals and businesses to defend Italy’s art, nature and landscapes. 

A visit to the Bosco di San Francesco is much more than a simple stroll through the forest. It is a wonderful example of the Italian rural landscape encompassing 64 hectares and more than 800 years of history. The wonderful landscapes and the silence are an  experience for all the senses to find inner peace with nature. An enchanted area where nature is something magical. 

The trails are well marked and make sure to reserve plenty of time if you want to walk more then one trail.

Walking trail nr. 1 is a route which highlights the historical role of the Italian rural landscape. The trail leads from the Piazza della Basilica Superiore to the visitor center and Santa Croce complex where nuns used to live. Here is the Osteria il Mulino, which -as its name suggests- was restored from an old mill.

Walking trail nr. 2 follows the valley of the Tescio river to the so-called Terzo Paradiso (Third Heaven, an extraordinary work of Land Art that Michelangelo Pistoletto created for the Bosco di San Francesco featuring 121 olive trees arranged in three circles). You can walk around this work of art. Within the Terzo Paradiso is a 14th century tower that can be climbed using an external staircase. Outside of the Terzo Paradiso, a short trail, there are some picnic tables and chairs.  

From here one takes the same trail back to the visitor’s centre and to head uphill back to Assisi you need to take the same trail back.

Route Garmin

Useful information:
The trails in the woodlands of Bosco di San Francesco are well maintained. You’ll walk on carpets of creaking dry leaves. The walk is pleasant and on your way you will see a variety of points of interest: religious statues, a bridge, a 12th century mill, a 13th century church, a historic tower and a monastery. The footpaths are not easily accessible for buggies and wheelchairs. Wear comfortable shoes and clothes. Water and a sandwich are recommended. Picnicking is allowede, but do take your own garbage with you. Dogs are only allowed on leads.  

Tickets:
The entrance is 5 Euro per person. There are special rates for children.

Opening hours:
Tuesday – Sunday and Italian bank holidays
April – September 10-19
October – March 10-16
July – August open from Monday – Sunday
Closed on January 1, 24, 25 and 26 December, and from January 7 until the end of February
You can still enter one hour before closing time.

Bosco di San Francesco
Assisi (PG)
T. + 39 075 813157
faiboscoassisi@fondoambiente.it
www.boscodisanfrancesco.it
www.fondoambiente.it

Umbria Blog | The caves of Monte Cucco

Many people know the famous caves of Frasassi in the Marche. These are impressive caves visited by many tourists during their holiday in the Marche or in Umbria.

Not many people know that also Umbria has some beautiful caves: the caves of Monte Cucco. The mountain ‘Monte Cucco’ is located in the natural park of Monte Cucco where in the valley are the villages of Fossato di Vico, Sigillo, Costacciaro and Scheggia. This is a beautiful area that is less known and has many opportunities for active holidaymakers.

We visited the caves, but you can also go hang gliding, trekking, canyoning, cycling, horseback riding and more. You can find a lot of information on the website of the park: Discover Monte Cucco.

For the more adventurous tourists the caves are well worth the effort. You need to be fit and healthy and will have to bring good walking shoes and warm clothing. After a walk uphill from about 2 km you arrive at the entrance to the caves where you enter via long and steep stairs descending into the caves. There is a constant temperature of 6 °C and the humidity is 90°.

It is a beautiful experience and impressive to quite literally walk in a mountain where also others left their traces throughout the centuries. There is an inscription found from the 15th century. Today one walks through the caves which are lit and where stairs and bridges are made to be able to pass the most difficult tracks, but at the time one only had a torch and ropes …

We did the “Discovery Trail”, but you can also walk a longer route and even have an introduction to caving. You will be accompanied by experienced guides and can make a reservation via the website: https://www.grottamontecucco.umbria.it

The Discovery Trail you can do without a reservation. In June and September on Saturdays and Sundays and in July and August every day, at 10 am and at 3 pm. At the parking lot is a information kiosk from where a guide leaves for the caves. Also read the instructions on the cave’s web site underneath the price list.

We had problems to find the place, but in the end, it’s easy to find. About halfway the village of Sigillo is a road up the mountain. Somewhat hidden is a brown sign that points to the Monte Cucco. Go up the mountain and keep driving. If you’re near the top, there is a road to the right which you do not take but keep following the same road up and you’ll arrive at the parking lot.