The lake, the waterfall, the river.
The path goes up from the Nera River Valley up to the Rieti plateau. It flanks the Piediluco Lake, goes for a short distance along the channel “Canale Mussolini”, that was built with the waters of the Velino River to produce hydroelectric power. In the small village of Marmore, the River Velino jumps into the River Nera creating the wonderful Marmore Waterfall.
The itinerary starts from Arrone and follows the paved road that crosses the village of Castiglioni, winds up to Forca di Arrone and here turns on a narrow road going down the valley opening up towards Piediluco Lake.
After the mild farmed valley, take the paved road for few metres, turn left, enter Piediluco town centre and cross the whole lakeside.
At the stop panel, take the main paved road again and go to the right in the direction of Madonna della Luce. In this small village, turn right on the paved road leading to Ventina Lake. After 900 mt, take the unpaved road on the right that flanks the wild banks of the most remote area of Piediluco Lake.
The unpaved road enters oak tree forests shading the abundant marsh vegetation, where several species of aquatic birds live.
At the end of the unpaved road, turn left on the narrow unpaved road that allows you to visit the other lakeside and, once crossed the Velino River, take the road Piediluco-Marmore.
Here turn left and go on the main road. After few meters, turn left to the small unpaved road flanking the wide channel deriving from the River Velino.
At the dike, take the paved road for a few meters and turn right in the direction of Campacci Park in Marmore.
Continue along the side of the small artificial lake until you arrive at the edge of the slope where the belvedere of the waterfall is.
The trail continues down the damaged road of the slope covered by holm oaks up to the banks of the River Nera (be careful to the incline). Continue on the narrow unpaved road that goes along the river up to the village of Casteldilago. Following the narrow paved road, you are back in Arrone.
The town, surrounded by terracings of olive trees, takes its name from an ancient fortified castle, of which there are no remains.
The tiny village lies in a valley along the road leading Arrone to Piediluco. This panoramic road offers wonderful views of the mountains of the Lower Nera Valley, as well as of the waters of the lake placed between the 'mount of the echo' and the medieval fortress dominating the lake itself.
The current lake is the remain of the former Lacus Velinus, which has undergone several reclamations and outflows of water. The natural environment is very rich and is surrounded by mounts covered by sub-Mediterranean maquis. The lake has an indented shape with deep bays encircled by rushes and water lilies.
Along the banks of this lake arises the characteristic village of Piediluco, in front of Mount Caperno (549 mt AMSL), also called 'the mount of the echo'.
The town stretches along the side of the mount on the lake banks. It is dominated by an old fortress built by the Brancaleoni's in the 13th century, which was refurbished in the 14th century and recently renovated.
Among houses leaning against the mount and narrow streets, stands the San Francesco's Sanctuary, built in 1338 by Pietro Damiani from Assisi to remember the visit of the saint.
A steep stairway leads to the building, where a beautiful portal with frieze portraying boats and fishes can be noticed. They are symbols of the fishing culture that has always been the major activity for the inhabitants of Piediluco.
The inside has a single nave with transversal arches and some remains from the Roman times; it also hosts the statues of St. John the Baptist and St. Catherine from Alessandria, frescoes with Franciscan saints (on the dome), like Madonna in trono con Bambino fra i santi Giuseppe e Antonio da Padova (“Our Lady on a throne with Child between St. Joseph and St. Anthony from Padua”), attributed to Marcantonio Aquili (Antoniazzo Romano's son). On the apsis there is a Crucifix from the 15th century.
In the town it is possible to take a boat trip to visit the lake, the town and the course of the River Velino.
Presso il paese di Piediluco è possibile usufruire di un silenzioso battello elettrico che permette di visitare il lago, il paese ed il corso del Velino dall’acqua
The Marmore Waterfall was made after the opening of the so-called 'Curiano channel' in 271 b.C. by the Roman consul Manio Curio Dentato.
This emissary had the function to free the Rieti plain from the swampy waters of the River Velino.
Across the centuries these waters caused calcium carbonate deposits that helped the formation of the travertine slope of Marmore, which is a natural barrier obstructing the water flow of Rieti lake into the Nera Valley.
Since mid-19h century the fall of the waterfall has been used to produce water power. It is for this reason that the waters of the waterfall are 'open' or 'closed' in specific times by means of a dike in Marmore opening or closing, according to the production programme of the power plant.
The waterfall has three falls with a difference in height of 165 mt. The main fall (80 mt) ends up in the first big basin. Here the River Velino waters continue their flow into the River Nera jumping two more times, among dozens rivulets and basins. The flora of waterfall is particularly lush: ferns, mosses, singular willows and several species of poplars. The forest covering the calcareous terraces is composed mainly by black hornbeams, maples, manna ashes, figs, ailanthuses and, in the driest parts, by olm oaks and Aleppo pines.
The waterfall area can be discovered following the 5 paths winding among the ever changing water, the basins and the little streams surrounding the slope.
The fortress of the little hill lies on a rock in a panoramic position over one hundred meters of height with regard to the underlying valley. It is thought that the name derives from an ancient lake. The old town was built between the 13th and 14th c. on a former hermitage area.
The medieval town still preserves its original outlook with its tiny streets and a round path offering splendid views of Arrone and of the whole area of the Nera Valley belonging to the district of Terni.