With its often mountainous terrain and many areas of hard volcanic rock, the waterfalls of Italy have plenty of high cliffs and slopes and very little to soak them up.
As such, it comes as little surprise that Europe’s boot-shaped peninsula has such a wealth of them. Indeed, waterfalls rank among some of its most impressive natural wonders, each unique in its own picturesque way.
In this article, we’re looking at the most famous waterfalls in Italy, as well as some lesser known gems. We’ll cover the north and south and even waterfalls near Rome.
Located in Trentino’s Val di Genova, Cascate Nardis is a stunning example of the waterfalls of Italy. They occur where the Nardis River descends approximately 427 feet down the rugged mountain cliffs of Adamello Brenta Nature Park. Fed by glaciers, the waterfall’s flow rate can vary throughout the year, with the highest volume occurring during the snowmelt in spring.
Cascata di Barbiano
There are at least eight Cascata di Barbiano, all of which descend amidst the impermeable volcanic rock above Ponte Gardena. While they start from an elevation of 656 feet, they do not drop that far, the tallest being around 278 feet high.
Cascata del Verde
At 656 feet tall, the Cascate del Verde is among the tallest waterfalls in Italy and is widely considered the tallest waterfall in the Apennines. This magnificent cataract has a Regional Nature Reserve in its name and is also protected by the World Wildlife Fund as the Green Falls Oasis.
Cascate del Varone
As far as waterfalls in Italy go, the dual falls of Cascate del Varone on the northern edge of Lake Garda are a little bit different. Rather than tumbling down a mountain or amidst lush forests, this pair are found inside a vertical cave of their own making. In a process that began at least 20,000 years ago. Following the retreat of the Garda glacier, water cut into the hard limestone rock to create this 321-foot high geological wonder. What’s more, the erosion continues today.
Cascata a Mare di Capo Nieddu
The waterfall at Cabu Nieddu is one of the few in the world to flow directly into the sea. Located in Sardinia, this stunning spectacle known as Cascata a Mare di Capo Nieddu plummets around 140 feet into the Mediterranean.
Cascata di Riva
In the very northeastern corner of Italy in Val di Non, the River Riva rushes down three main drops, forming a trio of Italian waterfalls. Known in Italian as Cascate di Riva, their location near the German border means they also have a German moniker, Reinbachfälle. Whilst the first two are about 164 feet high, the third rises to about 32 feet.
Cascate del Serio
The Lombardy region of northern Italy is home to what is possibly the tallest of all the Italian waterfalls, Cascate del Serio. Located near the city of Bergamo, this tiered waterfall along the Serio River tumbles a total of 1,033 feet over the course of three drops. When at full force, it flows at a rate of 353,000 cubic feet per second. However, since 1931 when it was altered to produce hydroelectric energy, this only happens for five scheduled days of the year. On those days, usually between June and October, the Barbellino dam is opened and one of Italy’s best waterfalls thunders freely.
Cascata del Toce
Cascata del Toce or “La Frua” is another example of waterfalls in Italy that have been altered in pursuit of hydroelectricity. Located in the Val Formazza region of the Italian Alps, this tiered waterfall has an impressive total drop of 469 feet. Like Cascate del Serio, it’s only open at certain set hours, but for the shorter window of between June and September.
Cascate delle Marmore
In around 271 BC, the Romans commenced works to divert the Velino River. This was done in order to reduce the prevalence of mosquito-related illnesses, but it also led to the creation of one of Italy’s best waterfalls, Cascate delle Marmore. Today, the Marmore Falls cascades down 541 feet in three distinct drops, making it one of the tallest artificial waterfalls in Europe.
Cascate di Cittiglio
Cascate di Cittiglio are a trio of waterfalls located in the Lombardy region of northern Italy, near the town of Varese. Fed by the San Giulio River, they are hidden in the depths of a dense forest.
Cascata di Lequarci
Starting from a plateau atop the limestone cliffs of the Tacchi, the Cascata di Lequarci takes two dramatic dives of 328 and 246 feet respectively into other bodies of water.
Waterfalls near Rome
Nestled amidst the rolling hills and ancient ruins of Italy’s capital and its countryside are some of the nation’s most breathtaking waterfalls. The Lazio region boasts several parks and nature reserves where one can find waterfalls near Rome. For example, lying just east of the city at the foot of Tivoli’s Roman Acropolis, the gardens of Villa Gregoriana are home to several falls, most significantly the picturesque Cascata dell’Aniene. The lush green valley of Treja to the north is where one finds Cascate di Monte Gelato, made up of numerous cascades and pools. Meanwhile in the northwest between the town of Cerveteri and Castel Giuliano, there’s a cluster of waterfalls including Cascata della Mola and Cascate Cerveteri.
The Waterfalls of Italy
There seems to be no end to the myriad waterfalls in Italy. What’s more, whether falling into caves or into the sea, amidst mountains or forests, Italian waterfalls put on quite the show.