A compelling and timeless story such as this could only take place in Terni, the city of St. Valentine. Legend has it that Marmore Falls were created through the intervention of the gods, the goddess Juno, to be precise. And this creation was connected with the story of a great love.
Once upon a time, there was a beautiful nymph called Nera, daughter of the god Appennino. Nera fell in love with a young shepherd named Velino. During a banquet, however, the goddess Juno became aware of this profane love and decided that the nymph deserved an exemplary punishment. Juno took her to the top of Mount Vettore, where she turned Nera into a river, which took her name.
She began to flow like a flood of tears, until she reached the cliff where she had first met Velino. Meanwhile, Velino desperately sought news of Nera, not knowing where the girl had gone. He questioned a sibyl, who revealed to him what had happened. Velino decided to throw himself off the cliff so that he could be reunited with his beloved. Today that leap of water is Marmore Falls, the symbol of their eternal love. Ever since then Nera and Velino have flowed together, impetuous and passionate.
The hearts of the two lovers opened a breach in the wall of time, consecrating to eternity what is now the precious pearl of the Valnerina: Marmore Falls.
The artist Igor Borozan found inspiration in the nymph Nera. At the baptism of the esplanade in front of the waterfall last October 4, Borozan created a live performance, on the notes of a musical piece specially written by Željka, daughter of the famous musician and composer Goran Bregović. Watercolor on a canvas of titanic dimensions that will remain on display to enrich the area of the waterfall.
The project was strongly desired and coordinated by the person in charge of the area, Daniele Garrasi, and was supported by David Montagna Baldelli, with the additional support of AppKeep. Visual coverage involved Amedeo Cavani for the photographic report and Kamai Younes for the making of the video.
Art returns to the forefront at Marmore Falls exactly one year after the Watercolor event, part of the program of the Terni Falls Festival, which brought in professional painters to work “en plein air” and was also coordinated by Igor Borozan. Soon the park of the rocks will also have a name. It will be called Piazzale Velino, and will also be baptized with a second art happening, this time a tribute to the legendary person who fell in love with the nymph Nera.
Apart from its mythological origin, the spectacular drop of Marmore Falls was a source of inspiration for many poets and artists, becoming one of the stops on the Grand Tour for intellectuals who came to Italy from northern Europe. Poets and writers have made Marmore Falls immortal through countless works, fascinated by the roar of the water and the beauty of nature. The enraptured Grand Tour travelers and plein air painters traveled long distances to reach the destination of their artistic pilgrimage in search of inspiration in the “enchanted valley.”
Marmore Falls are in Umbria, in the luxuriant natural setting of the Nera River Park, the hub of the catchment basins of the most important rivers in central Italy, the Velino, the Nera and of course the Tiber. It is the highest waterfall in Europe, with the Velino dropping a total of 165 meters. Its name, Marmore, originates from the whiteness of the rocks that with the sparkling of the water seem to be made of real marble.
Today the park has various hiking trails, offering visitors a unique multisensory experience. Those who visit the waterfall can almost touch the love floating through the air. Walking along Trail 1, by the first drop, there is a small terrace called the “Lovers’ Balcony,” from which you just need to reach out to feel all the power of that enduring love.
In 1816, at the age of just twenty-eight, Lord Byron embarked on the Grand Tour, visiting Umbria and the Marmore Falls. I leave you with the verses taken from the fourth canto of his poem Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage, which vividly describes the opposing sensations of horror and beauty sealed by a sudden rainbow, dense with ancestral symbolic values.
Lo! Where it comes like an eternity,
As if to sweep down all things in its track,
Charming the eye with dread, -- a matchless cataract,
Horribly beautiful! but on the verge,
From side to side, beneath the glittering morn,
An Iris sits, amidst the infernal surge,
Like Hope upon a death-bed, and, unworn
Its steady dyes, while all around is torn
By the distracted waters, bears serene
Its brilliant hues with all their beams unshorn:
Resembling, ‘mid the tortures of the scene,
Love watching Madness with unalterable mien.