The Cascata delle Marmore (Marmore's Falls) is a man-made waterfall created by the ancient Romans. Its total height is 165 m (541 feet), making it one of the tallest in Europe and the tallest man-made waterfall in the world. Of its 3 sections, the top one is the tallest, at 83 m (272 feet).
It is located 7.7 km from Terni, a provincial capital of the Italian region of Umbria.
Its source is a portion of the waters of the river Velino (the rest of the river flows into a hydroelectric power plant), after flowing through Piediluco lake near the community of Marmore. It pours into the valley below formed by the river Nera. Its flow is turned on and off according to a published schedule, to satisfy the needs of tourists and the power company alike. Tourists try to be there the moment the gates are opened to see the powerful rush of water.
Most of the time, the water in the canals above the falls is diverted to a hydroelectric power plant, so the flow in the falls themselves is reduced to the level of a creek. Piediluco Lake, above the falls, is used as a reservoir for the power plant. The Galleto power plant, built in 1929, is architecturally interesting. Its capacity is about 530 MW. To control the operation of the power plant, and to satisfy tourists, the fall is turned on according to a set schedule, achieving a spectacular effect at full flow. An alarm is sounded first, then the gates are opened, and in a few minutes the small creek is transformed into a full-sized river rushing into the void below.
Normally, the fall is turned on between noon and 1:00 PM and again between 4:00 and 5:00 PM every day, with additional times on holidays. An entrance fee is charged to visit the falls and the surrounding area.
A path along the falls allows the visitor to hike up to the top of the falls. Along the way, a tunnel leads to an observatory just next to the falls, where a visitor is guaranteed to get soaked. A safer observatory near the top affords a grandiose view of the falls and of the Nera valley below.
The Velino river flows through the highlands that surround the city of Rieti. In ancient times, it fed a wetland that was thought to bring illness (probably malaria). To remove that threat to the city of Rieti, in 271 BC, the Roman consul Manlius Curius Dentatus ordered the construction of a canal (the Curiano Trench) to divert the stagnant waters into the natural cliff at Marmore. From there, the water fell into the Nera river below. However, that solution created a different problem: when the Velino river was in flood stage, its water flowed through the Nera toward the city of Terni, threatening its population. The issue was so contentious between the two cities that the Roman Senate was forced to address it in 54 BC. Cicero represented Terni, and Aulus Pompeius represented Rieti. The Senate did nothing about the problem, and things remained the same for centuries.
Lack of maintenance in the canal resulted in a decrease in the flow, until eventually the wetland began to reappear. In 1422, Pope Gregory XII ordered the construction of a new canal to restore the original flow (the Gregorian Trench or Rieti Trench).
In 1545, Pope Paul III ordered that a new canal be built (the Pauline Trench). The plan was to expand the Curian Trench and to build a regulating valve to control the flow. Upon its completion some 50 years later (in 1598), Pope Clement VIII inaugurated the new work, and named it after himself: the Clementine Trench.
In the following two centuries, the presence of the canal was problematic for the countryside in the valley below, as the Nera often flooded it. In 1787, Pope Pius VI ordered architect Andrea Vici to modify the leaps below the falls, giving the falls its present look and finally resolving the majority of the problems.
In 1896, the newly formed steel mills in Terni began using the water flow in the Curiano Trench to power their operation. In the following years, engineers began using the water flow to generate electricity.
Critiques | Translate
siudzi (34119) 2011-06-13 0:35
What a wonderful place you have found! Really attractive sight and perfectly taken composition. Well done.
Charo (51210) 2011-06-13 1:48
Se un giorno tornerò a Spoleto, spero di dirmi o portarmi dove è questa cascata è un fenomeno naturale che mi piace guardare.
La prospettiva è fantastico con questa meraviglia circondata da una fitta foresta. Questo posto sembra una giungla in altre parti del mondo. Bravo!
Nicou (126408) 2011-06-13 2:24
Fantastique vue sur ces chuttes d'eau, merveilleux dans la belle antures quel effet d'évaporation superbe compo.
Bravo et amitié
ines8 (6098) 2011-06-13 2:43
Ciao, caro Silvio,
Questa cascata è splendida, mi piace questa foto, mi sembra quasi di sentire la sua freschezza e la sua freddezza....
SWEETFREEDOM (23084) 2011-06-13 3:26
un bel classico che purtroppo mi manca.
ottimo il contrasto della cascata con la folta vegetazione intorno.
sandpiper (6788) 2011-06-13 4:10
Great note. Interesting falls, hard to believe they are man made. Good composition lovely saturated colours.
francio64 (39439) 2011-06-13 4:35
buona la scelta di allargare il campo visivo inserendo parte della foresta che circonda le cascate, dando una buona idea del luogo.
Luce ben gestita e bei colori.
peppe59 (14551) 2011-06-13 5:23
bellissime queste cascate, ho avuto qualche anno fà la fortuna di ammirarle, grazie per la condivisione e buona settimana
Sergiom (64083) 2011-06-13 6:26
Quelle belle scène spectaculaire. Ces chutes sont magnifiques et doivent faire un bruit du tonnerre . Tout cet environnement de verdure les mets bien en valeur.
fds (8696) 2011-06-13 8:32
ci sono stato 25 anni fa con i miei genitori
bellissimo luogo bellissimi ricordi ti ringrazio tanto di avermeli fatti rivivere
Bluejeans (64249) 2011-06-13 9:00
Ola Silvio ,
Linda esta queda de agua feita pelos Romanos , o lugar é magnifico com toda esta natureza verde , belo ponto de visão , parabéns!!
Um abraço Gonçalo
Budapestman (82620) 2011-06-13 9:36
a picturesque view with superb composition and amazing details, the atmosphere of the photo is romantic, great shot, Tfs! Have a nice week! Kellemes hetet kívánok!
abmdsudi (44966) 2011-06-13 10:50
Love this superb scene in great depth, depicting the overall view of this great water fall. Exposure setting is superb with much clarity and sharpness. Color saturation, lush of greenery and contrast are excellent. Love the effect of the mist and excellent shutter speed just enough to freeze the water movement. We have everything worth seeing here except the sound. Great shot. Congrats, TFS
siamesa (27753) 2011-06-13 14:11
Boa noite Silvio
The visual effect of the waterfall in the middle of this rich green. Perfect capture and a marvelous composition.
npecanhuk (68238) 2011-06-13 18:55
Wonderful falls in a very beautiful place!
Truly attractive picture with excellent photo quality with special regards to the chosen pov, composition and (realistic) colors!
TFS - congrats,
danyy (0) 2011-06-14 0:06
je ne savais pas qu'il y avait d'aussi belles chutes d'eau en Italie, des allures de chutes africaines ou sud américaines.
POV de choix, une pellette de verdure où s'expriment aisément les écumes.
My best regards.
Graal (99162) 2011-06-14 0:13
fantastic landscape with the waterfalls as main theme. Good composition and shot from fine POV. I like it. An interesting note.
Have a nice day.
jhm (142015) 2011-06-14 1:19
Very nice moment for take these lovely picture.
I like this panorama view with the waterfall as subject, certainly the misty atmosphere around the waterfall.
Nice depth and good perspective.
Very well done, TFS.
mkamionka (31525) 2011-06-14 3:12
wow, this is a spectacular waterfall and most of all it looks amazing with this green surrounding I would think that this is rather somewhere on an exotic island not Italy. Very interesting and truly beautiful place, TFS
mauro61 (52631) 2011-06-14 3:15
ottimamente ripresa la bellissima cascata nella sua serie di salti.
Tanto verde intorno che ne mostra la collocazione nell'ambiente circostante.
sabermonajati (9915) 2011-06-14 6:15
astonishing waterfall you shot.
it is very interesting.
jemaflor (87391) 2011-06-14 9:54
Impressive and beautiful water falls, good pov and light on your photo, good white for the water and contrast between the green trees, good exposure.
faletiz (10759) 2011-06-14 10:50
pensa che non ho mai visto la cascata delle Marmore! Tutte le volte che sono passata di lì l'ho trovata chiusa...Bel panorama di grande effetto, eccellente composizione colori bellissimi.
Mari63 (4085) 2011-06-15 11:10
Ciao Silvio, belle le cascate delle Marmore! Le hai riprese con un'ottima luce. Bellissimo il contrasto cromatico reso dalla lingua bianca della casacata e il verde rigoglioso tutto intorno.
resat1972 (7486) 2011-06-15 13:31
a piece of great
very good location
a successful photo
ikeharel (60451) 2011-06-16 2:13
Your note is most enlighting, Silvio, describing the fabulous man-made waterfall, and it's use to power the hydroelectric-plant.
Excelent details taken, I can almost imagine the water roars...
paninho (2931) 2011-06-16 6:10
Salut mon cher Silvio!
Je ne pouvait pas laisser passer cette photo sans te dire combien je la trouve belle! L'endroit est de toute beauté et ton image le met parfaitement en valeur! La brume est un plus et rajoute du charme!
sacavem (18614) 2011-06-17 2:25
I really like the way you framed this picture. Beautiful postcard of this cascade.. Very good colour, contrast and definition.
Miguel82 (25521) 2014-09-20 14:30
Gorgeous picture enhancing a cascade surrounded by a green forest Silvio