The Spoleto Festival also brought the American artist Sol LeWitt to Umbria, launching his lifelong relationship with the territory. LeWitt had a home and studio in Spoleto for decades, and his work is displayed in Palazzo Collicola’s “G. Carandente” Gallery of Modern Art. In nearby Campello sul Clitunno, LeWitt created La Torre, a work in concrete blocks. La Torre, rising not far from the Clitunno springs and temple that attracted 18th century aristocrats on their traditional Grand Tour of Europe, provides a contrast to the idyllic setting with its evocation of the towers of 1960s Manhattan.
In Terni we find Umbria’s largest example of land art — but it is not modern. The Marmore Waterfalls, another stop on the Grand Tour itinerary, is a work not of nature but of the Romans. As part of a land reclamation scheme, the consul Manius Curius Dentatus ordered that a canal be cut to drain water from a swamp and send it over a cliff into the Nera River below. Lord Byron wrote of the falls’ “terrible beauty,” which also inspired plein air artists such as Corot.
With a total drop of 165 metres, Marmore Falls are among Europe’s tallest. The surrounding park preserves important biodiversity, with many varieties of ferns, lichens, mosses and aquatic plants, as well as numerous animal species. Trails allow visitors to discover the environment around the falls, admire the rainbow created by the mist rising from the foam, and be refreshed with of a bit of splashing spray. The waterfall park includes a trail to the top of the falls; the woods below and above the falls have tables to relax with a picnic lunch. The Nera River is used for canoeing, kayaking and white-water rafting.
After a day enjoyed in the open air, the ideal conclusion is a meal of hearty traditional dishes, prepared with local ingredients and perfectly accompanied by Umbrian wines.
Find out more at umbriatourism.it.