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Valnerina, praised all over the world as Terra dei Santi (The Land of Saints), it is known also for outdoor adventures and fun. Numerous activities unfold among waterfalls, cliffs and paths through which you can discover the charm of a wild nature that is reflected in the clear water of an indomitable river, the Nera, a name that in its oldest form really means “strong”.

Rafting

Adrenaline descents between the waves: rafting and hydrospeed

The most famous water sport that allows you to sail the Nera is undoubtedly rafting, a particularly dynamic and adventurous way to travel the river aboard colorful rafts. A sport to be experienced, very successful among the youngest. There are many itineraries to choose: from the more adrenaline – fueled ones that run alongside the water of the Marmore Falls – where the river is more bubbly – to the more peaceful ones suitable also for the little ones, but which nevertheless reserve strong emotions. Particular mention deserves the hydrospeed, a river descent clinging to a sort of life preserver in the points where the water flows faster and the rapids are wilder. A faster and more exciting solution for those who want to be protagonists on the river. An adventure to share with a rather unusual travel companion: the Nera. The force of nature, the spirit of adventure, the adrenaline that rises in a whirlwind of emotions that will make you go home changed by this new experience.

Rock balconies: sport climbing

Rock, water, earth: these are the three elements that merge together in this corner of Umbria, shaping rocks, the landscape and nature that are the protagonists of this land. A mountain with a unique and unrepeatable landscape, which offers views of bright beauty from the Ferentillo cliff. A landscape shaped by man, who has been able to preserve the authentic nature of this place; it offers the better a free climber could wish for. Look at the rising wall, follow its lines, the protrusions and then feel the rock under your hands. Climbing keeps in contact with the mountain, a feat no longer reserved for a few athletes, but something that enjoys increasing popularity, for the desire to challenge one’s strength, to be able to observe the altitudes from a rock balcony that offers a totalizing natural experience.

 

climbing

Climbing

Discover the old Spoleto-Norcia railway by mountain bike

Valnerina is a land forged by Mother Nature to be discovered by bike. In this corner of Umbria, between the limpid blue of the River Nera and the skyline of medieval villages and towers, a pedestrian and cycle path develops for over 30 km along the old railway that once connected Spoleto to Norcia. A greenway in the wildest heart of Umbria that runs through places where landscape and cultural contrasts keep tradition alive and accompany bikers on an itinerary with a thousand faces. There are many opportunities to experience interesting encounters: it is quite easy, in fact, to see numerous species of diurnal birds of prey that soar in flight from the majestic rocky folds that frame the path. The most common are the kestrel and the buzzard, or even a pair of golden eagles which has its nest in one of the gorges crossed by the old railway. While rafting enthusiasts glide on the water of the Nera, those who go trekking or cycling can also explore an old abandoned road tunnel. Darkness, bats, frozen drafts and sinister squeaks guarantee 5 thrilling minutes.

 

Old Spoleto-Norcia railway

Old Spoleto-Norcia railway

Walking between heaven and earth: trekking in Valnerina

Valnerina is the ideal setting for those who, with boots on their feet, are looking for a slow experience, in the name of nature and sport. From the Monti Sibillini National Park to the Marmore Falls, each path leads to villages that hold important architectural testimonies or to panoramic points that offer unforgettable views. Trekking in Valnerina means discovering and rediscovering ancient forgotten roads and corners, walking on the border line between heaven and earth, on fox’s or on ancient knights’ traces. Unplug from the everyday life and give yourself a space to live out of time, controlling your steps and feeding yourself with indispensable sensations.

 

Trekking

Between reality and spell: hang-gliding and parachuting

The idea of ​​flying, the desire to imitate birds, has always aroused extraordinary sensations in man, from the myth of Icarus and the genius of Leonardo da Vinci, up to Wright brothers’ invention. However, sitting in comfortable reclining armchairs, we certainly do not feel that sensation to hover in the air. Sensations that pleasantly affect paragliding and hang-gliding enthusiasts. A few steps and away … A long breath and the air seems to suddenly have a scent never felt before. Once in the air, the silence is almost surreal. The only noise you hear is the wind between the sail ropes. The senses are colored with emotions never experienced before. Once the powerful emotional charge of the first seconds is exhausted, you become familiar with this new perspective: it’s time to enjoy the view reserved for the birds and to the lucky few who have this passion in their blood. Down below, with the cutting light of a splendid sunset, the green of the woods and the countryside lights up in all its nuances, and the horizon line becomes more pronounced. An experience to live, halfway between reality and enchantment.

 

hang-gliding

Hang-gliding

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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