come un’eternità, per ingoiare
tutto che incontra, di spavento l’occhio
beando, impareggiabil cateratta
Lord Byron 1788-1924, poet, politic and English writer
L’impareggiabil cateratta orribilmente bella of whom Lord Byron speaks about, always an inspiration source for the artists, who represented and sung the magnificence, strength, the thunderous clamour.
The first witness of the Marmore Falls in history and literature dated back to the Roman period: Virgil, in the VII book of the Aeneid, tells us of “una valle d’oscure selve e tra le selve un fiume che per gran sassi rumoreggia e cade”.
Also Dante Alighieri in the song XX of the Paradise writes “Udir mi parve un mormorar di fiume – che scende chiaro giù di pietra in pietra – mostrando l’uberta del suo cacume” probably refers to the Falls.
But it is only at the beginning of 1600 that the Falls starts to be a relevant role in the figurative culture and in the European poetic, affecting the imaginery of the poets and painters. Many travellers, who come from Florence to Rome, arrived to Marmore: the difficulties of the visiting of the place were easily conquerable with the help of the local guides who lead the traveller with horses up to the Pennarossa Mount that today we reach walking along the trail n. 4. The Neapolitan painter Salvator Rosa is one of the first to witness the admiration for the wonderful scenery - defined as a “cosa da far spiritare ogni incontentabile cervello” - and one of the first to have said the definition of the “horribly beauty” exalted by the romantic poets.
The Waterfall conquered its definitive role in the figurative and poetic culture of the XVII-XVIII thanks to the location of the city of Terni along the route of the Grand Tour, the travel of nobles and intellectuals through Europe, starting form Paris and crossing the centre of France, also Switzerland and finally Italy where end the training with further studies and researches. For this reason the Falls became one of the beauties inevitably to see.
Its raimbow has been considered between the wonderies as Pompei and Vesuvio,considering the great number of paintings and engravings dedicated to it. The definitive consacration in the European culture was thanks to the versus of George Byron,that in the song IV of "the pilgrimage of the young Harold" reclaimed and exalted the concept of "horribly beauty”. In the travel and guide books, the Waterfall, has been exalted for the reachness and impetuosity of waters, the intensity of its rainbow, the thunderous clamour, the landscape around.