The Marmore Falls are the highest man-made waterfalls in Europe and among the highest in the world; in fact, they count a total drop of 165 meters, divided into three jumps.
Located in the verdant region of Umbria and more precisely in the Valnerina, 9 kilometers from Terni, the Marmore Falls are formed by the waters of the Velino River plunging into the Nera Gorge below.
Marmore is the name of the town where the Falls are located furthermore the name Marmore derives from the calcium carbonate salts that sediment on the rocks and are precisely similar to white marble.
In this article you will find all the information for visiting the Marmore Falls with children, a naturalistic spectacle that absolutely cannot be ignored during a trip to Umbria!
Visiting Marmore Falls with children: entrance fee
Marmore Falls is located within a large natural park, access to which is subject to a fee. Tickets can be purchased directly at the ticket office (not recommended choice due to the numerous queues) or online at the official website and are valid for one day. The park can be visited completely independently except for the Lovers’ Balcony whose visit requires a guide.
❒ Cost of admission ticket
❖ Ticket cost is € 12.00 full, € 9.00 reduced 5/9 years, free 0/4 years.
❖ Access to the Lovers’ Balcony is possible only by guided tour lasting 1h at a cost of € 3.50 full, € 2.00 reduced. It can be purchased either online or at the ticket office on the day. Accessible from the lower belvedere.
❖ A visit to the Butterfly House – which can be done either with a guided tour or independently – is priced at 3.50€. Accessible from the lower belvedere.
❖ The Fantacascata – a 1hour guided activity where legends and fantastic stories are told to young children – costs €5.00 and is reserved for children aged 3-8 years. Accessible from the lower belvedere.
❖ There is a parking fee.
❖ At the ticket office, you can purchase a park map at a cost of €1.00.
❒ Marmore Falls Ticket Office
Important Information – There are two entrances to enter Marmore Falls, lower belvedere and upper belvedere which are about a quarter hour drive apart.
The entrance ticket is valid for both entrances as is the parking ticket. If desired, there is a shuttle service – active only during peak periods and at a cost of €3.00 – that connects the two belvederes.
Both accesses have a ticket office, parking lot, and bar.
Visiting Marmore Falls with children: opening hours and water release time
Water from the Marmore Falls is flow-controlled as it is used for hydroelectric power generation. Normally only 30 percent of the water from the Velino River is diverted to the waterfall.
The waterfall is therefore not always open at full capacity but at set times which vary from month to month so the advice is to look at the official website before planning your visit.
Indicatively, however, the release of water occurs one hour after the park’s opening hours, which also vary depending on the time of year.
➽ To see the updated hours – Click here.
Tips for making the most of your visit
My personal advice is to first enter the lower lookout to witness the water release, walk the different paths, and only then head to the upper lookout.
Shortly after the entrance to the lower belvedere, there are several places to sit and wait for the release of water that is announced by an acoustic signal.
The water jet from the waterfall gradually increases, reaching its maximum in a few minutes.
You will see the mass of water gradually becoming more and more imposing as it stands out before your eyes in all its majesty, forming the three jumps of water. It is a sight that leaves you breathless!
How the visit to Marmore Falls works: Lower Belvedere and Upper Belvedere
After parking your car near the ticket office, if you already have a ticket, head directly to the entrance of the lower lookout.
Making sure to arrive just before the water release, count approximately half an hour to spend on this first section. After that, continue along the path that leads to the various trails that run through the park and take you to see the falls up close.
Paths in the lower belvedere
There are 6 paths that cross the park of which only the 2nd and 3rd are suitable for children.
☛ The 1st and 6th paths, named respectively “The ancient passage” and “The wise holm oaks”, are the only ones that connect the lower belvedere to the upper belvedere but only from the first path – which meets the Balcony of Lovers – it has a crazy view of the waterfall. The sixth path is not panoramic because it passes through the woods and is very steep, therefore trekking boots are recommended.
☛ The 2nd path “Anello della Ninfa” is the one that comes closest to the waterfalls, in particular to the waters of the second and third jumps. Along the way – 300 meters for 15 minutes – there are some ladders and small wooden bridges. The route is suitable for children but be careful of the slippery surface and the splashes caused by the violent fall of the water.
☛ The 3rd path “The meeting of the waters” is the shortest of the paths – 200 meters for 10 minutes – and leads, through short wooden stairways, inside the gorge of the Nera river. There are small viewpoints overlooking the rapids.
Paths in the lower belvedere
☛ The 4th path “Sentiero di Pennarossa – La Maestosità” allows you to admire the three jumps of the waterfall. The path is 520 meters long and has several stone steps.
☛ The 5th path “The cliff and the man” in Marmore is a flat path that passes through meadows and woods with beautiful views of the Valnerina but not of the waterfalls. Also passable with strollers.
Visiting Marmore Falls with children: Upper Belvedere
Once you have finished the tour in the lower part of the park, you can take your car and park it near the upper viewpoint.
Unlike the lower viewpoint, the upper area is much quieter and less “touristy” but in my opinion it is worth a visit to get a 360° view of the Falls.
In fact, the lower lookout offers a complete overview of the three jumps but at the upper lookout you can observe the first jump and the lake that forms nearby very closely, so both are worth a visit.
To see the falls, you need to get to the so-called Specola di Pio VI, a sort of turret built by Pope Pius VI at the end of the upper belvedere, from which you have an exceptional view of the first jump of the Marmore Falls.
To get to this point (which would be the first or last stage – depending on whether you start from the top or bottom – of path n. 1), you have to walk for about 10/15 minutes on a path that is not particularly difficult that winds between walkways and ladders. Here there is also a little bar with some tables.
Information for the stroller
All the paths within the lower belvedere are not suitable for pushchairs. The advice is to equip yourself with a baby carrier if the child is small or with a baby carrier backpack which, thanks to the waterproof hood with which it is certainly equipped, guarantees protection from water.
How to dress to go to the Marmore Falls
I mistakenly thought that the best way to go to the Marmore Falls was to wear a nice pair of sandals while in the summer the feet would dry quickly.
In retrospect, however, I advise against open shoes in favor of a good pair of sneakers as you have to walk several steps – even in the simplest itineraries – and you easily run into mud and slippery paths.
The advice could be to keep a spare pair of shoes in the car so as not to stay with wet feet, and also a change of shirt and trousers.
Also, we didn’t bring or buy the disposable raincoats (€1.00) for sale inside but I would also recommend those that give some protection from the splashes.
How long does it take to visit the Marmore Falls?
Assuming that if you wished you could stay in the park for a whole day, in my opinion 2h30 in the lower viewpoint and 1h in the upper viewpoint may be enough to see most of it.
Visiting Marmore Falls with children: where to eat inside the park
There are several refreshment points both outside the entrances and inside both viewpoints. The prices of the bars inside are not excessive but the offer is a bit limited and consists mainly of basic hamburgers, sandwiches and fries, as well as packaged ice creams.
Where to sleep near the Marmore Falls
L’ Antico Casale – Farm 2 kilometers from the Marmore waterfalls which offers a relaxing stay in contact with nature. Some rooms have a small kitchenette. Parking and breakfast included – Book here.