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 | Hannibal and the Romans at Lake Trasimeno

At Lake Trasimeno an important historical event took place in the year 217 before Christ, during the second Punic war: Hannibal won from the Romans in a short but fierce battle in which the Roman Consul Caio Flaminio lost his life.

We all know the story of Hannibal who left Cartago, the city destroyed by the Romans, to vindicate his people. He marched to Rome with his elephants via Spain and the Alps, gathering more men to fight with him along the way and leaving a trail of destruction behind. Arriving at the Trasimeno Lake he already lost his last elephant, but his army was still feared and strong.

The lay out of the landscape in the area where now Tuoro sul Trasimeno is situated, was ideal to trap the Roman soldiers that were following him: hills to one side and the lake to the other side. The Roman soldiers were not used to the tactical warfare of Hannibal and almost literally walked into the arms of the fierce soldiers awaiting them on a foggy morning.

It is an intriguing story and if you want to learn more about it, you may want to visit the museum in Tuoro sul Trasimeno ‘Museo di Annibale al Trasimeno‘. You’ll learn about the history and the background of this bloody battle where 15.000 (!) Roman soldiers lost their lives. There are written explanations and video presentations in English and Italian.

You can also make a tour on foot, by bike, or even partly by car, going through the valley where once the battle took place. There are explanations of the most important facts of the battle along the way.

A couple of years ago the battle of Hannibal against the Romans at Lake Trasimeno was enacted in a great spectacle with participants of other countries too.

In Tuoro sul Trasimeno one is proud of this historical heritage and people come to study the battle here. The yearly village feasts in August remember the presence of Hannibal and the Romans: the 4 quarters of town “battling” each other with games, theatre and cooking. Don’t miss it if you are in the area. The program is available at the local tourist information.