National Geographic : 1928 Apr
HOLIDAYS AMONG THE HILL TOWNS A FRANCISCAN MONK AT THE CARCERI, ASSISI When in search of rest and quiet, St. Francis often came to this hermitage, perched high among the bare rocks of a ravine or the mountain side. It was transformed into a Franciscan monastery in the fourteenth century. Lord Byron devoted one of his many Italian ecstasies to this waterfall, and even in his more restrained mood he judged it "worth all the cascades and torrents of Switzerland put together: the Staub bach, Reichenbach, Pisse Vache, Fall of Arpenaz, and so on are rills in compara tive appearance." ONE OF EUROPE'S HIGHEST WATERFALLS IS ARTIFICIAL But neither the Marmore's height, nor volume, nor beauty would seem to com mend it to curiosity in the same degree as does the astonishing fact that Nature never intended or placed a waterfall on the face of this precipice. The whole fabric is artificial! This, its really distinguishing feature, I found on the spot thus set out by my new found guide of 1843: "The formation of the cascade was the work of the Romans. The valley of the Velinus [a tributary of the Nera from the East, flowing down past the hill town of Rieti] was subject to fre quent inundations from the river, which was so charged with calcareous matter that it filled its bed with deposits, and thus subjected the rich plains of Rieti to constant overflows from the lakes which it forms at that part of its course. The drainage of the stagnant waters produced by the occasional over flow of these lakes and of the river was first attempted by Curius Dentatus, the conqueror of the Sabines, B. C. 271. He caused a channel to be made for the Velinus, through which the waters of 417 ".~ :. I~ - ;,~::l"i;c~ .f r r.