In Italy you can find big or small waterfalls in every region, but only some of them can actually guarantee you an unforgettable experience. So, after some exploration, I’ve picked the 10 most unforgettable waterfalls in Italy and I ordered them from north to south! Enjoy your read and let me know if you’ve seen some of them.
1. Toce Waterfall (Piedmont)
This is definitely the best waterfall of the Alps. Located near Switzerland, with its 143 m, is one of the highest in Europe. After walking on a wonderful path, it’s possible to admire the majesty of this waterfall right on top of it thanks to a small wooden bridge. The water is used to produce electricity, so the only “obstacle” that you may encounter, if you want to see it in full-force, is that it’s opened on certain hours and in some times of the year. You can find the timetable here. This waterfall has inspired famous artists such as Richard Wagner and Gabriele D’Annunzio.
2. Acquafraggia Waterfalls (Lombardy)
“Su per detto fiume (la Mera) si truova chadute di acqua di 400 braccia le quale fanno belvedere…”.
The beauty of these waterfalls impressed Leonardo da Vinci, so he described them in his “Codex Atlanticus”. Their name comes from latin “acqua fracta”, which means broken water. The best place to observe them is on their summit, reachable after a walk in the woods. A deviation from the path will lead to a terrace where you’ll have the impression of being inside the waterfalls.
3. Serio Waterfalls (Lombardy)
Writer and scientist Giovanni Maironi described these waterfalls as “the place where you can recover from the sadness of life”. They are the tallest in Italy with 315 m height and the second one in Europe. Due to a dam it’s only visible 4 times per year.
4. Riva Waterfalls (Trentino-Alto Adige)
Riva waterfalls are some of the best of Alto Adige and they are a combination of many waterfalls. To reach them you need to follow the path of the waterfall (very original name) that leads to an impressive suspended bridge. The best time to visit them is the summer, when their flow is more intense. In winter they are a destination for waterfalls climbers. (I wish I could climb them one day!).
5. Molina Waterfalls (Veneto)
Near Verona there’s the Parc delle Cascate di Molina, and inside it there’s a beautiful oasis of rich vegetation and rocks. The territory is characterized by the abundance of water, thanks to the springs located near the village of Molina. Inside the park you’ll also find the Grotta di Fumane, a cave inhabited for a long time by Neanderthal men and then by the Homo sapiens. The best time to visit this park is the third sunday of July, when there’s the waterfall celebration.
6. Acquacheta Waterfall (Between Emilia Romagna and Tuscany)
Even as that stream which holdeth its own course
The first from Monte Veso tow’rds the East,
Upon the left-hand slope of Apennine,
Which is above called Acquacheta, ere
It down descendeth into its low bed,
And at Forli is vacant of that name,
Reverberates there above San Benedetto
From Alps, by falling at a single leap,
Where for a thousand there were room enough;
Thus downward from a bank precipitate,
We found resounding that dark-tinted water,
So that it soon the ear would have offended.
(Dante Alighieri, The Divine Comedy/Inferno/Canto XVI)
Located into the National Park of Foreste Casentinesi, Monte Falterona e Campigna, this waterfall is generated by the river Acquacheta. Aside from the waterfall, this park is also a touristy destination due to the cultural value of the place, that is part of the “parchi letterari” (which means a landscape that has inspired writers for their works). Dante Alighieri writes about it in the Divine Comedy.
7. Marmore Waterfalls (Umbria)
The roar of waters!-from the headlong height
Velino cleaves the wave-worn precipice;
The fall of waters! rapid as the light
The flashing mass foams shaking the abyss;
The hell of waters! where they howl and hiss,
And boil in endless torture; while the sweat
Of their great agony, wrung out from this
Their Phlegethon, curls round the rocks of jet
That guard the gulf around, in pitiless horror set,
And mounts in spray the skies, and thence again
Returns in an unceasing shower, which round,
With its unemptied cloud of gentle rain,
Is an eternal April to the ground,
Making it all one emerald
(Byron, Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage)
These are by far my favorite waterfalls in Italy. They are one of the tallest of Italy with its 165 m. They present themselves as a column of water distributed on three jumps. Very important is the role that this natural phenomenon has covered in literature and art, becoming a fixed destination for intellectuals that reached Italy to study the classics. The Parc of Marmore offers a great variety of paths to discover, with many rocks and caves (a paradise for speleologists!). This waterfall is used to produce hydroelectric energy, so it’s only visible fully at certain times. Also this waterfalls inspired many poets such as Lord Byron, hence the quote above.
8. Acquasanta Waterfalls (Marche)
Inside the magical scenery of the National Park of Monti Sibillini you’ll find the Acquasanta waterfalls. There’s a path that allows you to reach them from the village of Bolognola, follow it into a mysterious woods and you’ll find your waterfalls at the end of a canyon.
9. Aniene Waterfalls (Lazio)
Aniene waterfalls are located in a territory rich of nature, history and art. They are into the park Villa Gregoriana that hosts Tivoli’s Acropolis, dominated by the famous temples of Vesta and Sibilla. The waterfall is 120 m tall and it’s formed by the river Aniene. The place has inspired the painters Claude Lorrain and Poussin and the poet Thomas Gray.
10. Marmarico Waterfall (Calabria)
Marmarico in local dialect means slow or heavy and that wants to give an idea of a lot of falling water. This is the highest waterfall in south Italy and it’s located into the Natural Park of Sierre. To reach it, you can either get there by car, followed by a 20 minutes walk, or by hiking for 2 hours. The path follows the river into the woods and offers a variety of breathtaking landscapes.