News & Events

The travertine of Marmore and its millennial fame
December 07, 2017

  • The travertino of Marmore and its millenial fame: from the Naturalis Historia of Plinio to the Vite of Vasari “In exitu paludis Reatinae saxum crescere”, or“Where finish the Reatina swampy area grows the stone”, wrote Pliny the Elder, famous naturalist of the ancient time, author of the monumental Naturalis Historia. To understand his statement is necessary to know that Pliny was a geologist ante litteram, animated by the curiosity that dead poisoned by the smoke of the Vesuvius during the very well-known eruption dated back to the 79 AD that destroied Pompei and Ercolano; attracted from the extraordinary phenomenon, Pliny decided in fact to take a ship and arrived to the interested area to observe better the eruption and spent the night in Stabia, in a friend's house, where found the death becuase of the gas. The stone where Pliny wrote, that he knew they formed spontaneously through a process of precipitations of carbonate of calcium (travertine), of whom the Velino's waters are riched, should be confused, from the inhabitants of the place, with the marble. This is the real cause of the historical mistake that the Waterfall has the toponomy with whom is became famous all over the world. But we try to understand better the peculiarities of this stone: it is travertine, made by a spongy solidity; the most known term is spongy stone, from latin Spongia=Spugna. This kind of stone has been used since the ancient time both in Terni and Rieti, or the two main populated centres near the Waterfall, the calcareous stone of Marmore has been found a large use as a material for building up to the seventies of the XX century, for example in the several buidlings designed from the Roman architect, but Ternan of adoption, Mario Ridolfi. This kind of particular travertine was appreciated by Ridolfi, because was a very light stone and of good work, but on the contrary becomes resistant and solid with the contact of the air. For these resons it is conceivable that as soon as the cliff of Marmore, that was continually full of stagnant waters of the Velino river, was released, the ancients had to start to extract blocks for the construction, with the possibility to admire the hardness and the white colour. Characteristics recognized by many scholars. The monuments of the ancient Interamna Nahars (the name of the Ternanan Municipality of the Roman time) is a result of a large use of the travertine of Marmore, an evident sign of the intensive use of the caves since the III century BC. Great blocks of rough and irregular form are easy to recognize in the wall of the bridge called "Del Toro", near the Waterfall, and in the wide tract of the citizen walls that are still there in that street that once had tha name of "Via delle Mura" (a title that the toponomastic office has cancelled without a good reason), between piazza Briccialdi and the entrance to the Park “Gianfranco Ciaurro”. Without considering that other visible tracts are included in the medioeval Walls that from the entrance of the park arrive up to Viale della Rinascita: some blocks have still today carved the signs of the cave, as for example taht is extracted from the Marmore Plain. Centuries later, we find the same spongy stone, but in a more refined way and form, to obtain square tiles (cubilia) that form the barrier in opus reticulatum of the Roman Amphitheatre, so as the external perimeter of the Theatre (the bulding technique still evident in the finds, today unfortunately degraded, located in Via del Pozzo). In the Middle Age, moreover, the Marmore's stone, has been extracted in loco and wasn't expensive for the purchase ans the transportation, was the unique building material that we could find in the city and around. We find it in all the worship buildings of medieval foundations (the Ternanan churches as San Salvatore, San Pietro, San Lorenzo, San Tommaso, San Cristoforo, San Francesco, San Marco, Sant’Alò, the monastery of San Benedetto in Fundis near Stroncone, the parish church of Santo Stefano near Collescipoli,the Sanctuary of San Francesco in Piediluco, the Abbey of San Nicolò in San Gemini, ecc.) and the civil construction building (the medioeval walls, the tower-houses, the most ancient palaces in the historic centre). In coclusion, all the great works, since the Roman domination up to the end of the XV century, have been realized only thanks to the rich deposits of spongy distributed both in the Marmore cliff and at valley. there were different caves, between whom one is still perfectly recognized near the Upper Outlook, along the trail n.5 of the excursio-tourist area. Another marble mine of the same origin for calcareous rainfall has been remembered in the natural cavities sources that remember Cesi, where the German writer Johann Jacob Volkmann admired “the solitified drops that for its clearness seemed to the crystal" (critical-historic information of Italy, 1770-71). Par excellence moreover, also the calcareous rocks used in the northern Nerina Valley, for example that are used for the construction of the Sant’Eutizio Abbey in Preci, are called from the Historicians of the Architecture the so-called spoongy stones. For centuries has been used also another vocabulary, by now obsolete, or “tartar”: it has been defined in nature thanks to the crystallization of the limestone on the vegetable organism as musk and lichene that grows up in the humid environments as lakes, swampy areas and Waterfalls. A famous French writer, the marquess De Sade illustrated by words about the result of the calcareous action in the Voyage in Italy, 1775-76. Speaking bout the use of the the spongy stones in the history, we know that in the XVI century the fame of the travertine in Marmore crossed the local borders. We can date the historical goal because we know the exat day in which the florentine architect Antonio da Sangallo il Giovane (author of the extraordinary buildings as Palazzo Farnese in Rome, Forte Michelangelo in Civitavecchia, the St. Patrick Well in Orvieto, the Rocca Paolina in Perugia), axcepted the Pope Paolo III Farnese assignment who ordered him the construction of a new emissary of the Velino river, deeper that the Canale Reatino, to improve the downflow of the stagnant waters in the Nera river. On 11 December 1545 Sangallo was in Marmore for the beginning of the works, and few months later in Florence, as gift to Cosimo I de’ Medici, the future Grand Duke of Toscana, some “tartar” blocks, that maybe has been used for the rustic decorations of the Boboli Garden Fountains, that has been designed by the architect Niccolò Tribolo right in that period, after the Palazzo Pitti passage of propoerty to the Medici family (1549). In a letter dated 22 March 1546 (on 3 August of that year Sangallo would be died of malariawhile he was working in the Marmore Waterfall for the construction of the Paolina channel), the brillant Tuscan architect celebrated enthusiastically that stones. At the moment is cenrtainly that the quote that for centuries has passed under the silence of Vasari, tells about the glorious history of the italian Art during the Renaissance period and is included in the cultural heritage of Terni.
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ALL IN A week-End: 8 - 9 - 10 December
November 24, 2017

  • ALL in a Week - End: 8 - 9 - 10 December It's the right time to admire the magic of the Autumn in the Waterfall, in tris week-End becomes unuque. Only in the days: 8,9 and 10 December, the Marmore Falls water will be opened ALL day long from 12,00am to 4,00 pm without interruptios of the flow. And moreover Fino out and book the guided Tours, the excursion in the cavea and the trekking that se propose. Preview - news 2018 Full trek Waterfall - The ring of Marmore / mini trekking: Saturday 9 December - at 11,00am de partire for the ticket-office of the UPPER Outlookduration: 4 hoursAltitude profile: 4000 mt.; difference in height: 350 mt. Cost: € 10,00 each per don ( Beyond the entrance ticket to the park of the Marmore Falls).The booking is compulsory. For further information click here: SPECIAL naturalistic guided tour to the tra il n.4: everyday ( Friday 8, Saturday 9 and Sunday 10 December) - at 11,30am and 2,30pmDeparture from the LOWER Outlook ticket office.Duration: 1 hourAltitude profile: about 500 mt. Difference in height:150 mt.Cost: SPECIAL PROMOTIONAL RATE visitS included in the entrance ticket Full € 10 (for children € 0,50, beyond the entrance ticket to the park of the Waterfall). It is no possible to book this kind of visit. Ask to the ticket-office. (for further information, click here: ) Visit to the Marmore Caves: Friday 8and Sunday 10 December - at 11.30amDeparture from the UPPER Outlook ticket office.Duration: 1 hour and halfCost: € 10,00 each person (the price doens't include the entrance ticket to the park of the Waterfall). The bookin is compulsory. for further information click here: Visit Smart 100 steps: everyday (Friday 8, Saturday 9 and Sunday 10 December) - at 12.00am, 3.00pm and 3.30pmDeparture from the entrance A of the LOWER Outlookduration: half hourCost: SPECIAL PROMOTIONAL RATE visit included the entrance ticket Full € 10 (for children € 0,50, beyond the entrance ticket to the park of the Waterfall). It is no possible to book this kind of visit. Ask to the ticket-office. For further information, click here:
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Andrea Vici, the architect that modifies the look of the Waterfall
October 28, 2017

  • The studies carrier of the architect from the Marches Andrea Vici (Arcevia/AN, 1743 – Roma, 1817) was atypcal: he learnt the notions of architecture by his scholar, collaborator and successor of Luigi Vanvitelli, Carlo Murena. Vici in fact was near Vanvitelli in the period of his last efforts, that relating to the churches of Naples to the Palazzo Reale in Milan, and also in the Reggia di Caserta. Since that time Vici was the First Engineur of the Water Congregations of the Papal State. In 1782 went for the first time to Terni, that frequented until 1795, accepting the ambitious challenge to modify the aspect of the Marmore Falls thanks to the excavation of the so called "diagonal cut", known also as Channel Pius VI. The great success of the difficult task allowed to avoid the threat of continuos overflows where Terni and the villages of the ternanan Nerina Valley were always interested since many years. Saverio Ricci Arts Historical and Tour Guide * The immages 2 and 3 are by the volume “L'Opera della Cascata. Guida dei beni culturali della. Cascata delle Marmore. tra archeologia, storia e cultura industriale”, a cura di Miro Virili, testi di Miro Virili, Stefano Notari, Gianni Bovini. Arrone, Edizioni Thyrus, 2015
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A week-end to the discovery of the mosses of the Waterfall
October 27, 2017

  • Two appointments to don't forget for the environenmental lovers and of the biodiversity evaluation of the territory, with a particular focus to the naturalistic area of the Marmore Falls. There is in programme for Friday 26 and Saturday 27 November, in fact, “The garden of the mosses. Unknown microcosm in Marmore”, that is the continuity of the inauguration, that was last year in the trail n.3 of the Marmore Falls, of the first trail on the briofite in Italy. The evnt is organized in collaboration with the University of Study in Perugia, the Ciav Valnerina, the Environmental Education Centres of the Municipality of Terni and the Garden Club Terni. The first appointment is Friday 27 by the Stae Archive in Terni, where the conference takes place: the peculiarity of the botanical garden of the Waterfall. Saturday 28 October: appointment at 10,30am by the Lower Outlook ticket-office of the Marmore Falls to go inside the naturalistic area where will be the guided tour. For booking is possible to contact the organization to the +39 348 5840658.
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Guided tours in the cave - 1 November
October 27, 2017

  • Wednesday 1 November at 11.30am Guided tour in the cave, only on booking: The details in the link:
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TRAVVELLERS DURING THE CENTURIES #6_ The Waterfall discovered again
October 14, 2017

  • In a fresco of the XVI century in a sconsacrated church of Spoleto is possible to identify an ancient view of the Waterfall and above all, the landscape, for the first time, of the swamp formed by the Velino river. Incredibly, the landscape during the ancient time is not so different from the landscape that today we can admire. The former church of San Lorenzo, actually called Sala Pegasus, is situated in Spoleto along via delle Terme, in front of the Rosari-Spada Palace. It is a very small church sconsacrated that until 1825 had a religious function. In 1972 some consolidation and restoration structural works gave the possibility to transform it in a place where organize exhibitions, meeting and cultural events of the city. Dedicated to san Lorenzo Illuminatore, a Syrian monk, bishop and local martyr dead in 576, arrive to Spoleto maybe after Isacco and Brizio to escape to the persecutions. He has called "the illuminated" for the miracle, relating to the blindness, that the tradition conferred him. It is certified in the Sassovivo Abbey's documents because subject to it from 1138. Then became parish church in undefined time, suppressed by the pope Leone XII from Spoleto in 1825 and unified to the church of San Domenico, in that time called church of San Salvatore. At the beginning of the 1900s the church, the sacristy and the parish house, was totally abandonned, refugee for the homeless persons. I, I discovered a fresco with the landscape of the Piediluco Lake and the Marmore Falls dated back to the XVI century with Madonna and the Child in glory, between two angels bringing roses (the conventional title of the fresco is in fact the Virgin of the roses) and the Saints Giovanni Battista and Antonio da Padova in adoration. The date of the work is certain and the presence of the lake landscape of an irregular form where is the territory could be the Piediluco lake, that is what was the ancient and missing Lacus Velinus, dried out after the reclaim of the piana reatina did by Curio Dentato in the 271 BC. The analogies of this representation with that we find in the so-called Sala delle Vedute of the Bishop Palace in Terni (first half of the XVII century) and also in the map intitled Cadatupa Velini (pubblihed inside the volume Specula Physico-Mathematico-Historica in 1696), are clear. In all the three cases the lake is rich of water and the town is reconized by the presence of the two towers. We can testify that the orography of the Marmore's cliff and the appearence of the Waterfall is similar to the nowadays conformation of the same. We can recognize the monte Mazzelvetta, on the right side of the river (in the frescoof the left side, where practically find the San Giovanni Battista's feet) and the rock spur on the other side (near where San'Antonio da Padova lies on), on the peak where in 1781, the observatory-tower called Specola of Pius VI was built. In fact, for the first time, in an ancient art work has been depicted the swamp over the Marmore's cliff, where today we find only the depression of alluvial origin that is peculiare of the Marmore territory. Moreover the fresco shows us that the Waterfall wasn't so different, in its form, from today. this new identification opens interesting sceneries of research, where I tell you about anoter time. Saverio Ricci Art Historic and Tour Guide
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TRAVELLERS DURING THE CENTURIES #5_the romantic charm of the Waterfall
October 07, 2017

  • IL FASCINO ROMANTICO DELLA CASCATA Considerate come minacce incombenti, ostacoli insormontabili alle attività umane, meraviglie naturali da temere e sorvegliare, le cascate verso la metà del Settecento cominciarono a incuriosire giovani e curiosi viaggiatori che cercavano l’ispirazione per nuovi generi di romanzi… Nella primavera del 1739, il poeta britannico Thomas Gray venne invitato dall’aristocratico e allora romanziere in erba, Horace Walpole, a fargli compagnia in un viaggio attraverso la Francia e l'Italia che sarebbe perdurato fino al 1741. I due giovani letterati intrapresero il percorso abituale del Grand Tour. Grays scriveva osservazioni su tutto ciò che vedevano. Dalle sue osservazioni sulle opere d’arte e le antichità e dai suoi schizzi presi dal vivo, si evincono i suoi gusti e le sue inclinazioni, il suo elevato grado d’istruzione e anche, di riflesso, la novità dello sguardo con cui la generazione che per noi oggi è rappresentata dal più famoso romanzo di Walpole (il celeberrimo romanzo gotico Ilcastello di Otranto, unanimemente considerato antenato del genere horror) affrontava un viaggio d’istruzione in Italia che, fino a quel momento, era indirizzato esclusivamente ad ammirare le vestigia classiche. È stato osservato, in particolare, da storici della letteratura anglosassone, che a nessun britannico, dai tempi di Milton, il viaggio in Italia avrebbe potuto essere più congeniale o più istruttivo di quanto non lo fu per Walpole e Gray. Ne sarebbero infatti stati pervasi da sentimenti di trasporto per la natura incontaminata, da una forte passione per l’arte (Walpole è stato un eccezionale collezionista di pittura italiana, francese e fiamminga, e quella che fu la sua collezione privata è stata acquisita nel 2002 dall’Ermitage di San Pietroburgo). La Cascata delle Marmore, molto prima dunque della famosissima ode dedicatagli da Byron, è stata considerata un luogo d’ispirazione per alimentare quella sensibilità che fornì i presupposti indispensabili per il rinnovamento della cultura europea del secolo successivo, quando prese corpo una corrente di pensiero e un movimento artistico di respiro cosmopolita che tutti conosciamo col nome di Romanticismo. Dalla corrispondenza di Gray sappiamo dunque che i due giovani raggiunsero Terni. La notazione è breve, ma significativa, in quanto contiene una dichiarazione d’intenti, tanto espliciti quanto impliciti: “here is that noble cascade, which is allowed to fall from a much greater height, than that at Tivoli, but of this I could form mo ocular judgment, having only seen the latter”. "Ecco quella nobile cascata - annota Gray sul posto, al momento della visita - che si lascia cadere da un'altezza molto maggiore a quella di Tivoli, ma di questo potrei formarmi un giudizio obiettivo solo dopo aver visto quest'ultima.” Purtroppo Walpole non ha lasciato traccia scritta di questa visita, né sappiamo con certezza se videro entrambe le più famose cascate italiane dell’epoca, ma quel che possiamo affermare con certezza è che tali escursioni rientravano nei loro programmi. Vale la pena, dunque, domandarsi perché quello è che considerato il pioniere del romanzo gotico abbia scelto di recarsi a Terni per vedere la Cascata delle Marmore. La fama di questo luogo, così selvaggio e recondito presso l’ambiente degli intellettuali britannici che rappresentarono una generazione di rottura con gli estenuati ideali barocchi e tardoclassici si palesò, in maniera ancora più evidente, quando nel 1765 un altro romanziere innovativo e di grande successo commerciale come Walpole, lo scozzese Tobias Smollett, descrisse con emozione vivida la “famosa Cascata delle Mamore” come un “corpo d’acqua che corre giù dalla montagna; il fumo, vapore acqueo, si solleva formando una spessa foschia bianca. Il doppio arcobaleno che per via della presenza di queste particelle di vapore continuamente si mostra quando il sole brilla; l’assordante rumore della cataratta; la vicinanza di un grande numero di stupende rocce e precipizi, con l'impetuoso, ribollente e schiumante aspetto dei due fiumi sottostanti, produce nel complesso una bellezza tremendamente sublime”. Se si pensa che soltanto al giorno d’oggi, dopo due secoli e mezzo, si discute sulla possibilità che alcuni pamphlet anonimi a lungo creduti di mano di Walpole siano invece stati scritti da Smollett, si capirà ancor meglio come ci furono, nei decenni a cavallo della metà del Settecento, personalità della cultura britannica di così profonda sensibilità che compresero, molto prima di tanti altri che li seguirono nel corso della storia, l’ammirazione istintiva e irrazionale che suscita negli occhi e nei cuori la visione del fiume Velino che precipita, violentemente, nell’alveo del placido Nera La passione per la Cascata si sarebbe presto travasata dai letterati agli artisti, anch’essi provenienti da Oltremanica. Ma di questo vi racconteremo nel prosieguo di questa rubrica. Saverio RicciStorico dell'arte e Guida Turistica
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Sunday 9 October _ "Circuito dell'Acciaio" foot race event
October 03, 2017

  • We inform the visitors that Sunday 9 October 2016, for the occasion of the passing of the "Il circuito dell'acciaio" foot race,the visiting of the Marmore Falls will be the following modification: The trails 1 – 2 – 3 will be closed from 9.00am during the event. The trails opens again at the end of the competition, approximately at the end of the morning. During the event, the visit to the park is the Upper Outlook will be opened the viewpoint "La Specola" and the trail n.5;to the Lower Outlook will be opened the Byron square and the trail n.4. At the end of the event (approximately at 12.30pm) will be reactivated the norma access inside the park. Information: Lower Outlook ticket-officetel. +39 0744 62982 e-mail:
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September 30, 2017

TRAVELLERS DURING THE CENTURIES #4_ The souvenirs of the Waterfall
September 21, 2017

  • The souvenirs of the Waterfall: a story of commercial successes (I part) The Marmore Falls has been praised by poets as Byron, described by famous writers as Andersen and depicted by brillant painters as Corot. But its fame has been generated also commercMa la sua fama ha anche generato flourishing commerces, that are interesting to discover. Today, in fact, we know the names of many artists that we are sure they depicted, for commercial purposes, the landscape of the fascinating ternanan valley. The census of these commercial reproductions become more interesting when we know that artists and artisans used to sell the Views of the Waterfall with tat of the Colosseum, or the Tivoli Falls or of other beauties. As the famous, wordwide, between the monuments of the Roman time, the Waterfall has been considered an identitary element of that nation, still divided in several states, but that for all was already linked under the name of " beautiful village". This is the reason for whom until the modern technique of the industrial reproductions, the Waterfall had a lot of success for the artisan and artistic souvenirs. We see to the most famous and intellectual clients the german Wilhelm Friedrich Gmelin (1760-1820). William Brockedon (1787-1854), painter, explorer, writers and also english inventor (was son of the known londoner watchmaker), went along the Nera goarges, to the research of places to advice to the readers of his Road-books, among them we remember: the Augustus Bridge in Narni and the Marmore Waterfall.
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Timetables October

Opening of
the Area
Opening of
the Water
Working days 10.00am - 6.00pm only on FRIDAY
from 12.00am to 1.00pm
from 3.00pm to 4.00pm
Saturday and Sunday 10.00am - 8.00pm from 11.00am to 1.00pm
from 3.00pm to 6.00pm
Holidays and Specials:
9.00am - 8.00pm from 11.00am to 1.00pm
from 3.00pm to 6.00pm

Choose your guided tour

October 2018

Belvedere Inferiore
P.le F. Fatati 6

Belvedere Superiore
Voc. Cascata 30

Tel. 0744 62982
Fax 0744 362231
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