The excavation works carried out over the years have confirmed the role of this area, bringing to light the site of a Roman ship yard – probably built during the first Punic War, when Romans needed to set up a big war fleet to deal with Carthage – close to the port, the remains of a thermal pool dating from the 2nd century AD, and a mosaic dating from the imperial age.
Between the 14th and 16th centuries the village developed, especially under the Silori family, one of the most important families of Narni, which had a lot of local farms and houses for farmers and artisans who worked for them.
Of course the abundant presence of water, thanks to the river and to the springs of the zone, helped the economic system of Stifone that had, since the Middle-Ages, boasted a concentration of water-mills, including the most popular Mola Alberti.
Other important activities characterized this land: the pontifical iron-works, built in 1707, where was refining the mineral pulled out from Mount Santa Croce, and the fulling-mills operating between the 14th and 18th centuries, fulling wool (a process to make the fibers more compact). One of nine in the corporation of the Art of Wool in the 16th century, with trade secrets passed from father to son. Also in recent times the water represented a distinctive feature: in 1982 two of the first hydroelectric power stations of Italy were put into operation on Stifone's waterfalls.
During the first postwar period the social-economic system of the area changed, but the of symbiotic relationship between Stifone and the Nera is still alive, where the blue waters lap against the old factories.
What to see
Approaching the river we meet, not far from a cave, a spring where the old pump is still used to take water, and the spring water flows over ancient basins. There are several springs, many emergeng under the artificial lake that since 1939 has fed the former Valdarno power station: their presence is evident by the shades of blue that they give to the river waters.
Above Stifone the ruins of the Santa Betta Chapel or San Giovanni Monastery can still be seen: the vault, the transept, the apse and the church entry, as well as water tanks, are visible.
The village retains its typical core with houses dating back to the 14th - 17th centuries. Two little squares at the entry are as a framework of the Santa Marina Church with a ceramic front door and bell tower. On the left wall, with the bell tower, opens another front door which was probably was the principal entry of the church, which around the 17th century was probably modified and expanded with two more spans. The interior with a single-nave with cross vaults, with noteworth furnishings of a baptismal font, a holy water font and a tabernacle of sculpted wood.
The church holds a canvas on the right side of the presbytery, representing the Trinity crowning the Virgin, a reminder of the legend linked to Santa Marina, brought here with a boy believed to be her son. The story says that Marina entered in a convent dressed as a man; going around to collect alms she stopped in a tavern where the owner’s daughter became pregnant by a soldier. The girl blamed "Marino" for the pregnancy, so he was kicked out. The baby, once was born, was assigned to Marino who raised him as his son. Once allowed back into the convent, Marina was subjected to the heaviest hard work, which drove her to death. Only at her burial did they realize that she was really a woman, and then Marina was revered as a saint.