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If you are looking for a trip to do in the weekend, or for holiday too, it’s the right moment to discover “Borghi più belli d’Italia” (the Italia’s most beautiful villages). The official website splits by region these selected towns and among them, in particular, there is Arrone, placed 8 km from Terni and nestled in the heart of Valnerina.

The Oil Trail

what to see in umbria

Church of San Giovanni

The concept of the village recalls the typical medieval town and, while walking through the streets, it’s hard not to marvel at the green hills which protect the stone walls; but the origins of Arrone are older and can be discovered through the nature trails that depart from there. One of them is Sentiero dell’Olio (The Oil Trail), which starts from the center and ventures into oaks and pines to ascent to the small village of Tripozzo, located 600 meters above sea level. 
While climbing, you can see how maquis is fast replaced by expanses of olive trees and Roman remains: indeed this site was widely used to grow and process olives, proved by mill’s remains and by the street, now used by hikers, that once was the link to transport oil down to the valley.

The Spring of San Lorenzo

Another confirmation of the anthropological significance of the area is the presence of a source of water, known as fonte di San Lorenzo (The Spring of San Lorenzo), which you can discover at less than 500 meters above the sea level along the way, but also of archaeological finds like a building and ceramic materials, that have been found after some farming works. They date back approximately to a period between I Century b.C. and the I Century a.C. in Tripozzo itself, because of the presence of typical structures and construction techniques of the Roman era, appeared in 2000 after the excavations made by the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage of Umbria.


It is thought that the building was a villa for slaves and by studying this construction it has been possible to ascertain the presence of a beam press, used to squeeze olives. We knowe  that the building was also renovated: so we can suppose that both the crusher construction and the following changes were made by prominent man of the early Empire Age, a sort of entrepreneur who had a large number of manpower for its growing activities.

Marmore

umbrian hamlets

The oil production is now carried out in an organic way, as we can see from some placards placed among the olive trees. Maybe the harvest is made by some discendants of that entrepreneurial figure! 
In Tripozzo, the walk leads to a beautiful scenery that worths the route: we can admire the valley, where you can see a varied landscape of woods, olives groves, some fractions of Arrone like Montefranco and, if you refine your view, you can see on your left the cloud of water rushing down from the Marmore Waterfalls, hidden by another hill. 
With our eyes full of wonder, we can come back to Arrone.


Sources
Parco Regionale Fluviale Del Nera, Itinerari escursionistici a tema. Sulle orme del nostro passato: alla visita di interessanti siti archeologici.
http://www.turismovalnerina.it/itinerario
https://www.nordicwalkingterni.it/eventi.html?start=165
tipicamenteumbria.it

 

More on Arrone

Spring is coming: we can already feel in the air new smells and see the first flowers, everything comes back to life, emerging from hibernation. Including us, who have passed the winter moving from a house to another, to a pub, to a cinema: finally we’re going out. Why not to come and see an outdoor sight that starts again?
In the heart of Valnerina, Marmore Waterfalls are waiting for us.

Marmore Waterfalls | Pic by Giovanni Bicerna

An Ancient Engineering Project

Maybe not everyone knows that the Waterfall is an engineering project dated back to 290 b.C., when the roman Consul Manio Curio Dentato ordered to dig a channel to make Velino River flow in the valley of Rieti, directing it until the cliff of Marmore, where the waters thrown down and merged into Nera River, throughout a drop of 165 meters. This project was made to reclaim Velino River, which formed a brackish marsh so it was possibly dangerous for the people because of malaria.

The Waterfall Now

Today the Fall is used to generate electricity by the powerhouse of Galleto and that’s why the water’s release is controlled;in specific days and moments of the year we can admire it in all its beauty, in particular from March to October, including festivity days in the other months. It’s interesting to discover that the place hots one of Centers of Environmental Education, scattered from there to the valleys of Nera River and Piediluco, areas that fall into the European Ecologic Net Natura 2000 by Project Bioitaly, which is working to promote an eco-sustainable tourism, with the knowledge, the preservation and the promotion of the territory, supprting the development as better as they can.

Curiosity: the name Marmore comes from salts of calcium carbonate that settle on the rocks, making them look like marble crystals. What increases magic, besides the enchanting landscape, is the Fall’s pixie Gnefro, who tells the legend of Marmore to the children that will begin the Enchanted Walk with him.

Itineraries

But in the park, we can find footpaths that adults can do too: six routes, different for name, for environment and for difficulty.
The Ancient Passage links the two entries to the Fall, the Belvedere Inferiore with the Belvedere Superiore and it isn’t so simple to go along, but throughout this way you can go to the Lovers’ Terrace. So put on trekking shoes and let’s go!

 

Marmore Waterfall | Pic by Enrico Mezzasoma

 

The Ring of the Nimph is the easier one, it lets us approach to the Fall as possible as it can, because there are small stairs and small wood bridges, and then we can admire one the 300 natural caves scattered in the area.

The Meeting of Waters is a way that follows the canyons that Nera River hollowed in the rock until the confluence with Velino River and it is the way used to realize the Enchanted Walk. Furthermore, it’s the best place to see canoeing and rafting lovers who challenge the waters.

The Magnificence is the only route that lets us see the three drops that create the Fall, so this way is defined the touristic walk par excellence. There’s a complete vision of the show.

The Man and the Cliff is the longest route, which starts from Belvedere Superiore and develops along the edges of Marmore cliff, showing different views like the basin of Terni and the clefts of Ferentillo. With tour guides, we can visit some the most evoking natural caves.

Finally, the Wise Holm Oaks, only for experts because it goes from the bottom to the top and vice versa, throughout steeps and disconnected paths, and it’s the unique way that doesn’t allow us to see the Fall, but only the old power station pipes.

May I tell you when you should go to Marmore Waterfalls? In summer, in the hottest moments. You will be stunned by the microclimate made by the union of the dense nature and the water. Believe in magicalso in Gnefro!

 

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