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Michele Angileri

Gole di San Venanzio

From the Subequana Valley, river Aterno descends to the Peligna Valley through the imposing San Venanzio Gorges, delimited by inaccessible walls and hanging woods. However, the inaccessibility has not prevented man from frequenting these places since ancient times. The parietal paintings on gorge's walls testify to the presence of prehistoric man, while the remains of roads dug into the walls are due to the Peligni and the Romans, who also dug the incredible underground aqueduct of the ┘ccole, which for millennia and until a few decades ago brought water from Molina springs to Raiano.
The caves on canyon's sides were considered for millennia ideal places for meditation and hermitage. San Venanzio from Camerino stayed in some niches very close to the river together with his teacher Porfirio in the third century. Centuries later a church dedicated to him was built in that place, on an arch that crosses the gorge of the Aterno River in one of its narrowest parts. From that moment the Aterno gorge is known as San Venanzio Gorges.

The extraordinary historical richness of these places adds to the extraordinary shapes sculpted by the river, the beauty of the woods and the walls and, why not ?, the coolness of the river and the pleasant effort of a canyoning descent, relatively simple in the right season.

Name Gole di San Venanzio
Area Abruzzo
Nearest village Raiano
Elevation loss 95 m
Length 2300 m
Highest cascade 10 m
Rock Limestone
Shuttle Possible
Explored by First complete descent canyoning-style: Michele Angileri; September 26th 2021


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I remember ...

In winter and spring San Venanzio Gorges are a difficult river kayak itinerary, with narrow rapids, siphons, non-navigable points ... To be honest, descending it canyoning-style I found it too rough for kayaks, but evidently the beauty of the Gorges was enough to motivate paddlers to cover the entire part that goes from the Tiburtina-Valeria bridge to that of the Raiano-Vittorito road.
Under the latter bridge, however, there is a last spectacular narrow introduced by a waterfall impassable with kayaks ...

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