Tivoli: Villa Gregoriana — untamable river tamed

River Aniene, which here falls abruptly from the mountain plateau on a plain covered with hills, to merge with Tiber was often very brutal for the town of Tivoli, which is adjacent to these crazy waterfalls in this crazy ravine.

After the first glance at the steep rocks and falling water, and you do not know where it comes from and where it goes, because it has itself hollowed out unknown paths in the rock, and this image puts you in uncertainty what is happening here at all. People came to look at these amazing and powerful waterfalls, wrote poems about them, painted pictures. This is an archetypal romantic landscape – a powerful gorge with a waterfall, and above the edge of a high rock, the ruins of Roman temples.

The only thing you know is to stay away from this place when the river rises.

The town that grew here, however, could not, on the occasion of such a flood, move somewhere else. The river from time to time took a smaller or larger piece of the town and its citizens and houses with itself down its steep gorge. Breaking off the rocks and piercing new caves.

The last time it happened was in 1826. Then finally Pope Gregory XVI got angry with the river and since you cannot move the town away from the river, he decided to move the river away from the town. And from his commission an impressive hydrological project was made. Most of the river was let through an artificial tunnel through a nearby hill and artificially created the Great Cascade that falls 120 meters vertically down into the ravine a little further from the town. Only a smaller part of the river flows still through the old river bed, through the town, washed (but reinforced) caves and natural waterfalls. But it is still very impressive.

(with Kasia, May 2019)