Parco Regionale del Fiume Tevere - The Tiber River Park
As its name implies, the Tiber River Park includes an area of land that runs either side of the southern section of the river Tiber in Umbria, from the bridge at Montemolino – at the boundary between Montecastello di Vibio and Todi - to the southern tip of the lake of Alviano, through Baschi and Alviano.
This 50-kilometre long section of the Tiber has been modified by a dam built at Corbara to produce power, thereby creating the lake of Corbara as well as the stretch of water at Alviano. But contrary to many alterations inflicted by man on the environment, the controlling of the Tiber has created a new and equally beautiful environment.
The intensive farming that starts almost at water level gives way to vine and olive groves further up and woodland higher still. The area offers fairly well-developed tourism facilities, with a profusion of high quality restauranteuring led by the doyen of Italian cuisine, Gianfranco Vissani. Orvieto and Todi, with their architectural and artistic riches, are either side of the park. But a number of other smaller towns that have much to offer are also included in its boundaries, marking the Tiber River Park a unique combination of history, art and nature.
At Montemolino the waters of the Tiber flow with such strength that it has been nicknamed “il Furioso”, then slowing down as it approaches Todi to such a sluggish pace that it is known as “Tever morto”. Gaining speed once more at Pontecuti, where its banks are overgrown with alders, willows and poplars, after its confluence with the river Naia the Tiber runs for almost 8 kilometres through the Forello gorge. The steep cliffsides descending towards the water at this point are covered with ilex, hornbeam, heather, broom and, at Vallone della Pasquarella, with laurel and wild fig. This section of the river provides nesting for buzzards, sparrow hawks and kites. Further down, as lake Corbara broadens into a wide expanse of water, there are mallards, tufted ducks, herons and kingfishers. The waters of the lake sustain carp, eel and other fish that make it a popular destination for fishing enthusiasts.
After the dam, the Tiber is joined by the river Paglia from the north. After a few kilometres the water slows down as it reaches the broad, marshy area of Alviano. The abundant vegetation present here provides an ideal refuge for a variety of water birds. The WWF in fact runs a permanent visiting and study centre here that focuses on lake water bird life.
This area along the Tiber was for centuries an important transport route. The traces left by man through the centuries, as far back as pre-historic times, are clearly visible in layers within the caves beneath Titignano. Other interesting sites include port areas, country villas, ceramic works (the Roman kiln at Scoppietto), burial grounds (at Vallone di San Lorenzo/Montecchio), as well as the vast port area at Pagliano, at the confluence of the river Paglia, where excavations are due to start shortly.
At Montecastello Vibio the riding centre organises excursions through the hills and along the river banks. At Montemolino there are permanent fishing facilities. At Pontecuti once the fortified outpost over the Tiber of the lands controlled by Todi, a number of circular itineraries are suitable for trekking and biking as far as the Baley bridge of Pian San Martino, built by the US army during the War. A canoeing centre has also opened recently at Pontecuti, while Baschi offers an interesting rowing centre that will shortly be further developed to offer the possibility to make excursions out on the lake in electrically powered boats..
For information contact the park headquarters in Baschi, at the Comune. (Tel. 0744957225 - Fax 0744957333).).
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