The Marmore Falls, or Cascada della Marmore in Italian, is the tallest man-made waterfall in the world. Enjoy an impressive hike to the top of the falls to enjoy the best views of the Nera Valley.
The History of Marmore Falls
Marmore’s Falls (or Cascata dell Marmore) is the world’s tallest man-made waterfall at an incredible 165m! There are 3 sections of the waterfall, the highest being the top one. Making Marmore’s Fall even more incredible is that it was constructed during Roman times and dates back to 271 BC! Guess building the Rome Coliseum for the gladiators weren’t the only things keeping the Romans busy!
Originally the waterfall was meant to divert the Velino River away from the Rieto Valley which was once a wetland. At the time the Romans believed that the wetland was a source of bad luck because it brought disease. This was probably true as residents that reside near wetlands are usually subject to diseases like Malaria.
If you think about it, the entire idea behind it was pretty innovative considering this was long before modern engineering existed.
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Marmore Falls Today
For the last 20 years, Marmore’s Falls has been used to generate electricity for the Umbria region and so miraculously the falls turn on and off – off when the water from the canals above the falls is being diverted to the hydroelectric power plant and only on at certain times of the day.
Our group missed the waterfall by 20 minutes, not able to pull ourselves away from our amazing lunch at Hotel Cursula where we dined on Umbrian dishes made with local ingredients like truffles and surprisingly, saffron.
Even when Marmore’s Fall is off, water is still coming, but just not nearly as much as when its turned on. It was beautiful off and I can only imagine how beautiful it would be turned on. I plan to return to find out – then head to Hotel Cursula for another dinner!
Hiking At Marmore Falls
There are a few observation decks that you can hike to that will give you the best views of the Nera Valley. As you make your way up the side of the mountain you will find a tunnel leading into the waterfall. It is a spectacular way to get a different perspective of the falls but be aware you will get sopping wet while you’re on the observation deck.
If you hike up to the top of the falls there is an observation deck that will leave you considerably less soaked. The observation deck at the very top of the falls is considered to have the best views of the valley. The Romans didn’t only create something innovative and effective, but inadvertently they created one of the best features in the region.
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Know Before You Go To Marmore Falls
- The most important thing is to check the schedule to see when the falls will be turned on. For the month of May, Mon – Fri it’s on between 12:00 – 13:00 and 16:00 – 17:00, on Sat and Sun it’s on between 10:00 – 13:00 and 15:00 – 22:00.
- You can check the schedule at Marmore’s Falls official site.
- There are 5 different routes visitors can choose, each providing a different vantage point of the falls.
- All 5 routes combined take ~ 2hours. The balcony from Route 4 is popular with painters.
- Best Time to Go to Marmore’s Falls according to our guide: June, July and Sept. Avoid August, especially Aug 16th which is a holiday in Italy meaning large crowds.
- There are over 300 caves at Marmore’s Falls. Caving tours can be arranged.
- An adult ticket to Marmore’s Falls costs €8. Tours can also be arranged in a variety of languages for an extra cost.
- Marmore’s Falls is located ~ 7.7km from the medieval town of Terni
- Located ~77km of Marmore’s Fall is the amazing Monti Sibillini National Park, the only national park in Umbria
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Accommodation in Terni
The Residence Bizzoni is an aparthotel that has an exceptional rating. Each apartment is spacious and has a fully equipped kitchen. If you love trying out the local produce when you travel then this is perfect as you can try out some of the famous Umbrian recipes. The aparthotel also offers free wifi and it is perfectly situated to explore Terni.
Hotel Valentino is a 4-Star hotel that is highly rated. It is located in the heart of Terni, perfect for exploring. Enjoy a meal at the Fontanella restaurant which serves local cuisine that will tickle your tastebuds. You can inquire at the front desk about tours in the region.
Take part in this special tour that will take you through the towns of Cascia and Norcia. You will also spend some time admiring the Marmore Falls. The day will be filled with site seeing and locally produced treats such as truffles and wine from the region.