Bacino del Rio Grande

The Rio Grande Basin

If you are looking for several old and private places which tell the area’s history, write down on your notebook the Rio Grande Basin, about two kilometers from Amelia.

A place of the heart with a great hallmark value and of rare beauty, this year among the top ten places in the ranking in the list of the Places of the Heart by FAI to be voted on by the end of December. You can leave your car in the dedicated parking and to follow the river through a pedestrian path of about a couple of kilometers, called “the walk of health”. What you will see it is not only a tributary of the river Tiber, but overall a Site of Community interest (Sic) also including Amerini Mounts in which it is wedged.

For many centuries, it was an important water resource for this territory, which powered, using two seawalls, the watermills still visible along the course of the basin. Today, as an urban fluvial park, it is an environmental and scenic resource for residents and tourists. 

If you enter in the brush through several trekking paths of different lengths (from 3 to 4 and six km) which unfold along the woods and the surrounding countryside, you can better glimpse in all their ancient magnificence the Para dams, upstream, and Ponte Grande ones, downstream, towards the Tiber. The Para, probably implanted by the Romans, was entirely rebuilt during the Thirteenth century and although it was restored many times over the centuries it almost kept unchanged its original structure with some remains of water works and a watermill partially ruined.
Below the barrage – among the oldest surviving curved dams subsequent to the fall of the Roman Empire – you can watch what remains of the old basin called Old Lake, today almost completely dry, where in the past into its luxuriant waters the Amerini used to meet to have a swim.
The Ponte Grande seawall, likewise traditionally attributed to Roman age with subsequent interventions, was rebuilt in 1880 with a dam 15 meters high and with a bridge (today crossed by the National Road SS205 which connects Amelia to the Orvieto zone) whose pillars create four “windows” to allow the Rio Grande outflow. Partially bombed during the World War II, it was quickly restored by the civil engineering.
Walking along the Rio Grande banks, stop to admire the native fruit cultivation like apples, pears, peaches and apricot (which take part of the project “ancient fruits” promoted by the association Amici di Rio Grande), sitting down in one of the benches that you’ll find along the path and enjoying the Amelia landscape which from above is reflected in the lake, otherwise take a break in the food court from which the promenade is starting. There is also a reserved area for children with various games and with a football pitch, and the picnic area with ovens and fireplaces to cook special grills.

For information: Association Amici del Rio Grande, tel. +39 335.6323823

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Main attractions in the vicinity