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 | Restaurant Bistro Porta Senese in Castiglione del Lago

Castiglione del Lago

Castiglione del Lago is on the eastern shores of lake Trasimeno. It used to be an island, the fourth island of Lake Trasimeno. Now it is a peninsula with its castle overlooking the lake. The town is surrounded by its fortified and castellated walls with three gateways, a main street and a piazza.

In high season many tourists spend a lot of time in Castiglione del Lago. Along the lake you’ll find free beaches, bars and restaurants. This place is also an ideal location for those who love walking and swimming. You can take a walk with your dog on the shores if you want, but only on leads. If you prefer leaving your dog without leash, than the former airport of Castiglione del Lago is an ideal and spacious area to walk your dog.

The historical centre of Castiglione del Lago has cosy restaurants, bars and souvenir-shops. If you’re a wine or beer lover, you can eat your heart out here! There are also some gelateria’s offering a good selection of flavors.

The impressive fortress “Rocca Leone” is worth a visit, with or without children. The views over the Trasimeno Lake from the towers are just stunning!

Perhaps the most busiest day in Castiglione del Lago is Wednesday because of the weekly market in the historical centre. During the summer many festivals are held in the villages along the Trasimeno Lake. In July – August for example is the famous Trasimeno Blues music festival.

A well known Jazz & Blues event where famous artists from all over the world perform. At least 3-times is Trasimeno Blues in Castiglione del Lago. The concerts are free, but it may happen that you need to buy an entrance ticket.

Restaurant

Recently I’ve had dinner in a modern, refined and stylish restaurant in Castiglione del Lago: Bistro Restaurant Porta Senese. This restaurant is just around the corner behind the city gate of Castiglione del Lago. Porta Senese prepares and serves food in a modern style and setting.

Near my dinner table were people from Belgium. For them it was definitely not the first time to eat in this cosy restaurant. The waiter and co-owner is very attentive and kind. It is a wonderful location to spend an evening.

Pasta alla carbonara with guanciale (pork cheek), almonds and tomatoes.

Carpaccio Porta Senese with tomatoes, capers, olives, pepper, salt and good olive oil.

The food is excellent and the wine pairings are great. Local wines from Umbria and Tuscany are served. The Sangiovese wine from the winery Madrevite was perfect to combine with my pasta and meat dish. 

Porta Senese is not a big restaurant, but a small bistrot with some tables. The menu they offer is divers but most are meat dishes. Consumers can choose between cooked beef, raw carpaccio or “meat” sushi. But there are also vegetarian plates like the parmigiana and pasta with pecorino. Even the dolci are from the house! 

Crostata with ricotta, fruit and chocolate.

Personally, I think that Restaurant Bistrot Porta Senese is one of the best restaurants in Castiglione del Lago. It is 5 years that I live in this town and I have never been … until now! An eye opener. It is worth eating here. Even if this restaurant is not really a cheap restaurant, but you’ll be surprised about the quality of the food they serve and the wines they serve are excellent.

The meat supplier of this restaurant is butcher Burico Ottorino. They are just outside the historical centre and sell their own selected meat coming from this area.

Address restaurant:
Via Vittorio Emanuele 2
06061 Castiglione del Lago (PG)
Tel. + 39 075 953331

Reservation is recommended, by phone or by mail. This restaurant has only a few tables available. Parking space is easy to find just outside the city walls of Castiglione del Lago. There is free parking along the fortified walls of the village. 

Enjoy!

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