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Located in Umbria, near Terni, Cascata della Marmore (Marmoreâ€™s Falls) is the largest man-made waterfall in the world. This three tiered falls, the longest 83 m (272 feet), drops a total of 165 m (541 feet). In 271 BC the Roman consul Manlius Curius Dentatus ordered the construction of a canal to redirect the flow of the Velino River into the natural cliff at Marmore. At that time the river fed a wetland that was thought to cause sickness (most likely malaria) in the nearby city of Rieti. The newly constructed canal solved the wetland problem, but threatened the city of Terni when the river reached flood stage. A major rift developed between the two cities and grew to where the Roman Senate had to get involved in 54 BC. They didnâ€™t solve anything.
Over the centuries three Popes ordered construction of a new canal, each time hoping to solve flooding problems. The third attempt, thanks to architect Andrea Vici in 1787 modifying the leaps below the falls to their present appearance resolved most of the problems. For nearly 50 years the waters of Marmore Waterfalls are used to fuel a hydroelectric power plant. For the power plants operational needs and to satisfy tourists the fall is turned on at scheduled times, creating an incredible effect at full flow. I had great fun snapping pictures of this event as Fred and I made our way down the long, wet and winding staircase from the top of the falls to the bottom. This is one of the close-up shots I took of the top tier of the falls.
Also by Deborah Downes
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