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The waterfalls  DEL PERINO

A paradise 15 km from Travo


In the territory of the Municipality of Bettola, the Perino Waterfalls are a system composed of a series of water jumps formed by the course of the homonymous stream, which flows encased in a narrow gorge, forming a dozen natural waterfalls along a path of only two kilometers.


Val Perino is bordered to the south by the top of Mount Liscaro, to the west by the ridge of the Capra, Poggio Alto and Concrena mountains, to the east by Mount Osero.


The waterfalls


The torrent that gives rise to the waterfalls flows in the valleys of the Piacentino Apennines for a length of about 15 kilometers, before flowing into the Trebbia river . The territory it crosses is characterized by a landscape in which sweeter stretches, usually cultivated, and decidedly impervious stretches alternate, giving life to a landscape that is always varied and interesting.


Meeting the deep limestone gorge present in the area, its waters fall forming several waterfalls, with jumps that reach 17 meters in height, placed at a height between 575 and 680 meters above sea level.


Waterfall number 1 is only a five-minute walk from the farmhouse, and is indicated by a large wooden sign. Continuing towards the second waterfall you will find the Mulino di Riè .


At the center of an imposing rock wall, which digs at the base where the jet falls, the waterfall number 2 is decidedly impressive, and ensures a spectacle of incomparable beauty, also guaranteed by the possibility of descending to its base thanks to a staircase wooden. It is a favorite destination for photographers throughout the year, but in the winter, when it freezes, it turns into an unimaginable natural monument.


Waterfall number 3 is also very beautiful, but it can be observed from afar, standing on the belvedere equipped with a bench, which is also the best place to enjoy this spectacle. The jump is divided into three distinct parts.


Continuing the route, along the path that climbs through the trees, you skirt the stream, which opens into a series of delightful lakes. This area is very suggestive, and is distinguished by the white stones lapped by the water. Following the signs you will reach the wonderful waterfall number 4 .


From this point the path continues towards Waterfall number 5 , which with its 17 meters is the highest of the group. For this reason it is also called the Upper Waterfall. A trace of path through the lawn leads to the small lake into which the water falls after having skimmed a huge block of rock, stretching out into the void like a huge diving board.


Waterfall number 6 , on the other hand, emerges from a gray rock perforated by the incessant work of water, and offers another incredible spectacle.


Finally, Waterfall number 7 suddenly appears on the path, and is easily reached by descending towards the base through the rocks. After the last waterfall, it is possible to continue the route, returning to the starting point.


The Mill of Rié


Over the centuries, the falls were used to power a series of mills for grinding cereals. Their wheels were activated by the movement of water, which was channeled into special deviations. We have little information about these constructions.


The best known is today the Mill of Riè , of which the remains are still visible. This mill stood on the eastern bank of the stream, and was made up of two distinct blocks. The upstream construction was that of the oldest building, dating back to before the nineteenth century, while the one further downstream was the one erected during the nineteenth century.


The environments developed on two different levels. The lower part housed the machinery for grinding wheat and cereals, the upper one was used as accommodation for the miller. The oldest part was built with dry stone blocks, while in the new one they were used bricks, and in a further structure was used simply the woven wood. The roof was made of wooden beams covered with stone slabs.


Today only the machinery of the more recent mill remain, which include the two stone wheels, the pin, the external wheel and the water drainage channel. Of the oldest mill, however, only the wheel pin and the seat of the wheel water supply tank are visible.


In recent times, the Mill of Riè, with the surrounding area, has been indicated as a site of community interest and cultural interest due to its historical, architectural and productive importance. A recognition that earned him a conservative restoration, with an intervention on the stone slab roof and on the external wheel.


Other localities in the surrounding area: Perino and Bettola


The small town of Perino , a reference point for those who want to reach the falls, was originally the site of a mill and a tavern. Its building expansion dates back only to 1890, when the first state road was built. The Church of San Luigi Gonzaga dates back to 1895, with its black and white stone facade and terracotta decorations, which today houses a cultural center. It is a fraction of the Municipality of Coli.


Let's move now to Bettola , another noteworthy location. In the territory there were, in the Lombard period, the monks of the Abbey of San Colombano in Bobbio, with the possession of the Court of Calenzano , and the Pieve di Revigozzo , the church dating back to the VII - VIII century. The Nure stream crosses the town, dividing it into two districts: San Giovanni and San Bernardino. The historic core of the village developed from the mid-15th century as a resting place along the commercial route between Piacenza and Genoa, and its name derives directly from the presence of a rest stop tavern.


An apparition of the Madonna to a shepherd boy near an oak tree in its surroundings gave rise to a popular cult, with the construction of a sanctuary, which fell into disrepair and was replaced by a chapel. Currently the oak and the statue of the Madonna are kept in the new Sanctuary of the Beata Vergine della Quercia , in the main square of the town.  


According to some sources, then, Christopher Columbus was originally from Bettola, and a statue dedicated to him is also present in the center of the town square, while in the hamlet of Pradello there is a medieval tower called "Torre Colombo", which would have been the home of the parents of the famous navigator, now hosting a museum dedicated to him. Later, with the Nicelli family, Bettola and its territory saw the rise of numerous fortifications, in most cases represented by tower-houses.



How to get


From Piacenza you reach Perino, and from here follow the signs.  You can reach the waterfalls on foot, following the 7-kilometer path that follows the Perino gorge, starting from Perino and reaching Calenzano , a hamlet of Bettola , thanks to an itinerary with CAI signs and easy to follow.


Here, on the opposite side, stands the so-called Sphinx of Val Trebbia , the mountain whose profile vaguely recalls a sphinx, and at its feet the houses of the village of Aglio. Along the way there are benches and parapets. Furthermore, the waterfalls are equipped to be climbed as via ferratas.


In the vicinity of Calenzano, isolated on a promontory, the beautiful Church of San Lorenzo martire is visible, with an imposing bell tower, the year of construction of which is unknown. The church, whose earliest records date back to the sixteenth century, was initially characterized by a Greek cross plan, but today its structure is a Latin cross.


The exposed stone façade is in the shape of a hut, with full-height pillars at the corners. In the center there is the portal with semi-columns in sandstone, with a crowning consisting of a lunette with painted majolica, and a bas-relief depicting the martyrdom of San Lorenzo. In the center, however, in the upper part of the facade, there is a circular rose window. Rectangular windows open on the side fronts, and on the back, in the Presbytery.


From here, take the small path that reaches a farmhouse, and then a dirt road that leads to the waterfalls. Continuing on, you will come to the signaling of the first waterfall. However, given the proximity to the Passo del Cerro, the pass that connects the Val Trebbia with the Val Nure, it is also possible to reach the waterfalls from the other side.

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