Marmore Falls –Terni, Italy – The Umbria region of central Italy is where the highest set of waterfalls in all of Europe show their magnificent beauty! Three huge steps combine to drop for 165m (540 feet). Adding to their interest, the drops were not created solely by nature. In 271 B.C., the Romans built channels to connect bodies of water and have them flow into Rome. One channel was built to convey water from Piediluco Lake to the edge of a cliff; this is how the Marmore Falls were created and this is how we see them today after more than 2000 years.
Since it is a big tourist attraction, water is released several times a day and the whole area is tightly controlled. Running the falls is strictly prohibited, and while boaters have attempted descents before, they have all been caught and turned back. Hungry for the forbidden fruit of this 25-meter (81-foot) waterfall, the highest falls yet to be run in Italy, Dario Vanacore set out to make it happen. Going off the tales of those who had tried before, Vanacore decided to cross the fences in the darkest hour and hide his boat as close to the put in as he could get in street clothes the next day. From there he would change into his kayaking gear, run the drop, and then escape by paddling away on the creek below. It all came off flawlessly – no injuries and nobody caught.
The pictures are from the second descent. Dario’s first run was not documented – just the right feeling on the right day. As a kayaker, above all, it’s about when you feel it! Organization and footage came afterwards. No one else paddled the falls between Vanacore’s first and second runs, even though they were six months apart.
Photos: courtesy of Davide Marcesini and Enrico Auxilia
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