Acqua Santa…Looking for Water

It’s nearing the end of a HOT and busy summer season and Francesca returns to Rome soon for work and university. So we’ve been taking a few day excursions to have a few mini holidays.

The other day we went into the Sibillini Mountain National Park and took a hike that promised a waterfall at the end. A place called Acqua Santa (Sacred Water)

first-waterfall

We are in the middle of a severe drought, and the temps have been in the upper 30’s to 40c (upper 90’s to 104F) since the beginning of June, so seeking a place with water sure sounded good to us.

on-the-road-with-cows

The road to Bolognola

The hike starts in a tiny mountain town called Bolognola, which is near some winter ski runs. Now this started a discussion and a bet on how to pronounce it…Italian has no really clear rules about where to put the accented vowel. It turns out that in the case it’s the middle “o” and the one who won the bet was Hans, so you can imagine the teasing that took place afterwards, as in all afternoon.

church-in-bolognola

River stone church

You walk through this charming hamlet with buildings and a church made of river stones, then wind up through some pastures on a well-marked path that then runs in a wooded area.

bolognola-street

 

The path hugs the side of the mountain and is narrow and at times steep.

top-of-the-mountain

Beginning of path

It’s considered an fairly easy hike, and indeed we did run into a family with tiny children, but I think I would have labeled it more medium, because there are stretches that are quite steep, slippery and dangerous. In fact it is not considered safe at all if it’s been raining.

stepping-in-mud

My shoes after I stepped in mud…mind you, I was the only one, oops.

Walking in the wooded shade was great, such respite from the relentless sun of the last few months. The path was blissfully free of any people garbage (a pet peeve of mine…litter anywhere) and we only ran into 3 sets of hikers, the family, a man, and an older couple.

mountain-valley

The path follows an aqueduct that was made in the 20’s. In fact, much of the path is on top of the aqueduct. Apparently, until this water collection system was made, there was no path.

checking-depth-of-aqueduct

Checking the depth of the aqueduct.

After the aqueduct, an elaborate tunnel system to collect water was made as well.

tunnel-system-for-water

There are actually 2 waterfalls, which even in this severe drought had water. It’s my understanding that there are never huge amounts of water, but the volume of water collected is enough to provide for several large towns.

hans-and-waterfall

The first waterfall…not much water this year.

waterfall2

The second waterfall…much more water.

striped-rocks

The rock faces that this water runs down are spectacular…vertical striped and tall. The water turns the air cool, absolutely wonderful, and the sound of the water rushing down these rock faces calms the soul.

Every year Hans and I say to each other that we ought to do these excursions more often in the fall when we have less guests…who knows, maybe this year we’ll actually do it!

mountain-valley

 

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