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 Italy and the tallest man-made waterfall in the world.
It is located 7.7 km from Terni: 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.
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.
In Umbria, beneath the Marmore falls, less than a one-hour drive from Rome, there is an ideal place for rafting : the fabulous descent of rapids on a rubber dinghy. Here, the Nera river bubbles over the rocks for over three kilometers, forming fourth degree rapids (on a scale from 1 to 6), surrounded by lush vegetation, in a beautiful tropical-like setting.