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The Cascata delle Marmore is the highest artificial waterfall in Europe and among the highest in the world, relying on a total difference in height of 165 meters divided into three jumps. The name derives from the calcium carbonate salts present on the rocks and similar to white marble. Its spectacularity is such as to form rainbows in several points due to the refraction of the surrounding drops with sunlight.
There are six itineraries of varying difficulty, the first four for a fee. Particularly beautiful is the second path, which offers numerous close-up views of the waterfall. The use of a raincoat is recommended for those who do not want to get wet.
The Marmore waterfalls are part of the Nera river park and are formed from the confluence of the Velino river into the Nera river, starting from the Piediluco lake. In 271 BC the Romans began excavations of the canal, on which all the waters of the swamp that covered the current Rieti plain could flow, bringing them towards the edge of the Marmore cliff. In the following centuries, the waterfall underwent further modifications and canalizations, which determined its current appearance.
Today the waterfall has a regulated flow and, at fixed times, the flow of water is increased, to offer a unique spectacle to visitors. Part of the water is used for hydroelectric power generation. The waterfall can be experienced through paths immersed in lush vegetation.
In the evening, a relaxing dinner is recommended in Piediluco, whose lake gives rise to the waterfalls.
The hiking trails around the Marmore Falls allow you to see its spectacularity from numerous perspectives. Path 4 allows a direct view and at the same height as the waterfall, starting from the opposite side of the paved road, while the other paths are near the waterfall."Upper Belvedere" is the upper part of the waterfall, while"Lower Belvedere" is the lower part.
Path 1:"Ancient passage"
Path 1 is a challenging path, just under a kilometer long with a difference in height of 150 meters, and is the only one that leads to the upper part of the falls. Along the way you can admire the natural caves and walk through a tunnel that leads to the Lovers' balcony, just below the first jump of the waterfall. In the upper part is the “ Specola ”, a small panoramic tower built in 1781 by Pope Pius VI.
Path 2:"Ring of the Nymph"
Path 2 is a simple and short path that leads into the heart of the Falls, via a system of stairs and wooden walkways. The various panoramic and close-up views, with the addition of rainbows visible from multiple points, make it one of the most exciting.
Path 3:"The meeting of the waters"
Path 3 is another path with a low degree of difficulty and truly enchanting. This path will lead you to the lower part of the waterfall until you reach the bed of the Nera river. In this area, due to the pressure with which the water falls on the intermediate steps, a habitat particularly rich in vegetation has been created.
Path 4:"The majesty"
Also known as the Pennarossa path, path 4 is the only path that climbs the hill opposite the Marmore Falls. Here you can admire it from two balconies on different heights, for a postcard view.
Path 5:"The cliff and the man"
The easy route 5 is about one kilometer long, starting from the Upper Belvedere, has a flat course and develops on the edge of the Marmore cliff, offering breathtaking views.
Path 6:"The wise laws"
Path 6 is about 2 kilometers long and connects the Lower Belvedere to the Upper Belvedere and is suitable for expert hikers, equipped with trekking shoes because it has a bumpy and sometimes steep and wet ground. It starts near the main car park.
There is a legend about the origins of the waterfall, usually told by Gnefro. A fairy creature, a nymph named Nera, fell in love with the young shepherd Velino. It was difficult for the two to meet because they belonged to two too different worlds. Juno, furious, transformed the Black nymph into a river because she had transgressed the rules that did not allow love with human beings. Velino threw himself headlong from the cliff of Marmore believing that Nera was drowning in those waters that were not there before. Jupiter, to avoid certain death, during the flight transformed him into water, so as to be saved and reunited with Nera for eternity.