The Water Park of River Tiber
Nature, Birds of Prey and Landscapes
From the spring to the mouth, River Tiber proceeds for slightly more than 400 kilometres, approximately 200 of which through Umbria, including the 50 kilometres characterizing the Water Park of River Tiber, a regional protected area since 1995. The Park extends for almost 8,000 hectares around the medium-lower section of the river in Umbria, with wider areas near Todi, Titignano-Prodo, the valley of Pasquarella, Civitella del Lago and Fosso San Lorenzo, all these locations offering suggestive views. The Park can be reached by car, train or bus: from Orvieto (A1motorway toll, Rome-Florence railway line - www.trenitalia.it); from Todi ( E45 state road, Terni-Perugia bus route www.umbriamobilita.it).
One of the best known and most spectacular view is the one you can enjoy along the SS 448 state road from Orvieto to Todi: the magnificent Forello Gorges and their rocky walls which are over 200 metres high, coated with thick vegetation. The complexity of environmental systems and the combination of different natural environments and agricultural areas, as well as shelter areas for wild animals and historic sites, is the true richness of these places. A remarkable wealth of fauna and vegetation grows there: the woods host holly oaks, flowering ashes, chestnut trees, hornbeams, Turkey oaks, downy oaks, together with an understory of strawberry trees, shrubs, junipers, brooms. These are ideal environments for wild boars, fallow deer, roe deer, but also for hedgehogs, European badgers and foxes. The morphology of the mountains and the large spaces facilitate the presence of birds of pray, from kestrels to peregrine falcons, from buzzards to black kites, to the imposing short-toe snake eagles. Hidrophilic plants close in a dome shape over the banks of the water courses, mainly poplar trees willow trees and holm oaks, or surround them with phragmites and rushes. These are the habitats of coots, grey herons, and the many species of wild ducks, as well as the smaller and lively common kingfishers, penduline tits and reed warblers. From nature to agriculture: in the cultivated areas and in the clearings of the pastures, scattered up to nearly 600 metres a.s.l. valuable wines and DOP Extra-Virgin Olive Oil are produced and cattle and pigs are bread, which supply excellent meat and cured meats.
The itinerary we recommend starts from the picturesque village of Civitella del Lago. You can comfortably park your car near the village's historic centre, built with the typical sandstone characterized by light-coloured streaks, and venture into the little lanes leading you to the splendid viewpoint overlooking Lake Corbara. Before you leave the village and venture into the natural landscape, do not miss a visit to the Museo dell'Ovo Pinto (the museum of the painted egg), which narrates of the ancient tradition when eggs were painted during the Easter season, and actually hosts the best hand-made items which took part in a national contest-exhibition.
As you leave Civitella del Lago, after bordering the cemetery, head towards the tiny district of Scoppieto: at this point you can either proceed along the path inside the park that borders the woods or walk along the tarmac road that runs parallel to it, through pastures and cultivated fields, enjoying beautiful views of the lake and the Salviano Farm. In either case you will walk for approximately 2 kilometres. A little fountain located in the right place (Scoppieto's piazzetta) at the right time will enable you to refill your water bottle / flask. Turn around, take the tarmac road as if you were heading back and turn left after approximately 200 metres, following directions for la Pasquarella; head on, keeping to the left, for a few hundred metres and you will come to a fork: keep to the right, going slightly downhill . You will almost have a 360° view from this spot: the peaks of Mount Peglia, Prodo and Titignano, as you look North-West; River Tiber throwing itself into the Forello Gorges ahead of you; the city of Todi at a distance and, closer, the hills on which the many districts of the municipality of Baschi are scattered and the foliage of the beautiful chestnut groves as you look at East first and South afterwards.
If you look at the dirt road to your right you will find one more sign: this path will let you venture into the Big Valley of the Pasquarella, dominated by Mediterranean vegetation: during the month of May the intense yellow blossoming brooms stand out together with the many herb species in their soft colours, tightly attached to the rocks . Before venturing along the downhill path, make sure someone is waiting for you down the valley to drive you back; if you are good hikers, the only other option is to walk back up along the same path. Once you have made up your mind, watch where you place your feet as the path may be slippery at times; of course, the cries or birds of pray will attract your attention and make you look up again. The first section of the path will lead you underneath the foliage of holm oaks and strawberry trees; as you come out of the vegetation, observe the peculiar morphology of the slopes; along the downhill path your background noise will be the roar of a waterfall you can spot in the distance to your right. On nearing the bottom of the path, discover the magic of an old hermitage, which is well kept and still visited today by those needing to replenish their spirits. Just below, a large square with a rest area, for you to eat your deserved packed lunch. State Road 448 is only a few hundred metres away, if need be.
More information www.parchiattivi.it