The creation of the Falls dates back to271 AD and is an incredible work of Roman engineering, designed to favour the out flow of the Velino waters, responsible for frequent and disastrous flooding and transformation of extensive areas of land into unhealthy swamps. Afterwards, up to the Renaissance, further improvements were carried out until reaching its current form.
The great availability of water made the creation of numerous industrial sites possible in the area.
The area of the Falls is formed by travertine deposits, a naturally friable and non compact rock that, with the intense water circulation, favoured the formation of “karstic” cavities and caves.
The main cavities of speleogical interest as well as for the beauty and evocative power of the environment, are enclosed in three distinct complexes: the first includes the Grotta della Morta (Cave of Death)and the Grotta delle Diaclasi, and spreads over 287 m. with a maximum depth of 23 m.; the second is the Grotta delle Colonne (Cave of Columns), developed in two main parts, that afterwards collapsed forming two non-communicating environments; finally with a spread of over 190 m., theGrotta della Condotta, partly collapsed with an old water pipe passing through it.
The vegetation along the entire course of water is luxuriant and flourishing.
The area of the Falls features fine examples of willows, alders and holm oaks. The Aleppo pine often clings to the calcareous emergences of the slopes while the hill sides are covered with holm oaks, oaks, maples and beeches.
The Botanic Garden inside the Regional Nera River Park (2460 hectares) is well worth a visit where different plant life of the area can be admired.
There is an abundant water fauna. The woods are populated by several bird species such as the mountain swallow and redtail. The harrier eagle and kestrel are important examples of the birds of prey
Inside the dedicated tourist-excursion area of the Marmore Waterfalls there are 4 signposted trails where the visitor can admire the Falls from enchanting viewpoints.
Duration: 40 minutes uphill, 25 minutes downhill
Difference in level: 150 metres.
This trail links the Belvedere Inferiore (lower viewpoint) to the Belvedere Superiore (upper viewpoint) where one can find the Specola, a tower with a great view overlooking the first drop of the Falls. Along the trail there are natural caves to be admired and there is also a tunnel that leads to the Balcone degli innamorati (Lovers’ Balcony), right below the first drop of the Falls.
Duration: 20 minutes (circular)
Difference in level: 40 metres
This trail takes you to the heart of the Falls. By means of wooden steps and walkways the visitor crosses over a secondary canal of the Falls, hidden amongst the rich vegetation. A small waterfall at the side of the second drop.
Duration: 20 minutes (circular)
Difference in level: 15 metres
This trail leads the visitor to the lower part of the Falls as far as the Nera riverbed. In this area, due to the force of the water crashing onto the intermediate terraces, an aerosol is formed creating a particular habitat that has brought about an abundant plant growth and large in size.
Duration: approx. 20 minutes (uphill)
Difference in level: 90 metres
This trail is made up of steps and the Marmore Waterfalls can be admired from two scenic viewpoints at different heights. From here one can observe the Falls frontally and even go on as far as the Batteria Park, near the village of Collestatte
For Times and prices: www.marmorefalls.it