canyon exploring with Michele Angileri

Fosso Acqua Forte

The gentle and uniform landscape of the hills north of Rome is largely due to the gigantic volcanic explosions which, starting from 600,000 years ago, covered the paleosoil of Lazio with great thicknesses of volcanic ash and lapilli which time transformed into tuff . Once the volcanic cycle was over, the fertile hills were rapidly colonized by plants and then by Man, who drew the sustenance necessary for the development of extraordinary civilizations from these rich soils and mild climate. Man sculpted the soft volcanic rocks to obtain homes, tombs, underground aqueducts, and blocks of tufa to build homes and bridges and everything else, and extracted and cut the hardest rocks to pave the streets with something that would stand the test of time, without perhaps imagining that all this would have survived up to the present day.

Today the hills north of Rome host vast cultivated areas but also woods that have reappeared due to the abandonment of agricultural activities, and villages, and villas with swimming pools, ...
From the top of a hill, you can look all around, from the sea to the Apennines, without seeing anything rugged and rocky.
Yet even here there are rugged and surprisingly corners of beauty, and canyons, and waterfalls. Like Fosso dell'Acqua Forte.

Name Fosso Acqua Forte
Area Lazio, Regione vulcanica
Nearest village Castelnuovo di POrto
Elevation loss 90 m
Length 1800 m
Highest cascade 22 m
Rock Tuff, basalt
Shuttle No
Explored by First descent canyoning-style: Michele Angileri; March 5th 2022


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I remember ...

Over the years, the desire for Nature grows and spreads among people. The multitudes who populate Rome living in an artificial world made of asphalt and concrete, go out as soon as they can in search of beautiful natural environments on the surrounding mountains and hills, discovering corners of beauty that they did not imagine could have survived the heavy urbanization of the territory. Internet and the social networks allow for the instantaneous diffusion of experiences and the informations about such places.

It was precisely on a social network that I saw the photo of Acqua Forte waterfall, being struck by its particular beauty but also amazed that such an unknown place was located a few kilometers from home, and moreover in a place where I had gone several times 30 years earlier, to walk, to visit some ancient ruin or aqueduct. And it wasn't the only waterfall in the area: on the Internet I immediately found information about other itineraries, in some cases adventurous, which led nto other falls in the Veio Park.
I went to the place to have a look (it takes 10 minutes from home!) and this time, with 30 years of experience in finding gorges and waterfalls, I began to understand that those low hills hid steps of basalt created by ancient lava flows, then covered by pyroclastic flows and finally to light by the erosion of the streams, which can easily dig horizontal but suggestive narrows in the soft tuff. Over the millennia, pyroclastic flows had covered the whole area eliminating its roughness, which however continues to exist under the tuff banks.

The descent of Acqua Forte marked the beginning of the second phase of my research and exploration of canyoning routes in the vast volcanic region of Latium.

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