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canyon exploring with Michele Angileri

Val Serra

Just beyond the last buildings of Terni, the canyon of torrent Serra it's a unique among the italian canyons. The emerald waters of torrent Serra flow through tight narrows, but water is not the only thing that usually goes through: a railway goes too! 30-40 meters above the river bed. It cuts the meanders by passing into tunnels but it also crosses the stream many times, and the crossings had often been realized by enclosing the narrows end the emerald pools into tunnels made of embedded squared stones.
That's truly unique!

It's hard understanding how much of the original beauty of the Serra canyon had gone lost because the artificial walls and tunnels made for the railway. The canyon is not as wild as it was before, but in some sense the tunnels are also a kind of compensation making this place unique. And fortunately the Serra has not lost all of its wild beauty.

But this seemed not enough, and someone thought to put more artificial elements in such an anthropized canyon: in late nineties a via ferrata was made through the canyon. This ferrata sharpens the contrast (or perhaps the interpenetration) between natural beauty and artificial works. And still the wild beauty of Serra has survived.

Name Val Serra
Area Umbria, Monti Martani
Nearest village Terni
Entrance altitude (above sea level) 280 m
Exit altitude (above sea level) 190 m
Length 2800 m
Longest rappel 4 m
Rock Limestone
Shuttle Possible
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I remember ...

Habit becomes over time a kind of unwritten law.
The Val Serra enters the mountaineering scene in late nineties, with the realization of the via ferrata. To mountaineers' eyes the main feature of the Val Serra was that unusual ferrata that went through tunnels aside a rumbling stream. Cables, steps, tunnels ... but no one seemed to feel attracted by the emerald pools into the white limestone?
The Val Serra is a via ferrata, so it cannot be a canyoning trail! Habit has become an unwritten law.

But I don't care habits nor unwritten laws ... The first (and only) time I went along the via ferrata I could not but being struck by the white meandering narrows and emerald pools. Next time, I told myself, I will come here dressed in wetsuit: I want to swim through these pools! I want to walk the canyon at the bottom.
Taken by other places and other things to do, more than 10 years pass till the day I return to Val Serra, alone. It's a very hot day of june: 38 celsius degrees outside, but I swim peacefully into the fresh emerald pools and the dark tunnels. The perfect place for a hot day like this!

This is the right way to appreciate the canyon of Val Serra! I'm glad leaving the via ferrata to those who like it.

Photographs in this website show ultralight ropes (6 mm ropes made of high tenacity fibers). Read multimedia book Ultralight ropes canyoning technique to learn how to use them.

Copyright © 2002- Michele Angileri. All rights reserved.