About Cascata del Sasso
Cascata del Sasso was a picturesque waterfall that was unique amongst the waterfalls we’ve witnessed in Italy as it was one of the wider block-type waterfalls whereas the vast majority of waterfalls were of the taller, thinner variety. In terms of dimensions, it’s said to be around 100m wide and 15m of cumulative height. When viewed directly, we thought it was certainly one of the more picturesque natural waterfalls in a country where most waterfalls were relatively unknown to begin with.
The waterfall was on the Metauro River near the town of Sant’Angelo in Vado, which was said to start in the long Apennine Mountains then drain out towards the Adriatic Sea. Further to the east was the town of Urbania, and further east of that was the provincial capital of Urbino (part of the joint Pesaro-Urbino Province) in the Marche Region.
Unfortunately, immediately adjacent to the falls was an extensive industrial zone, which was perhaps the most striking thing we noticed when we went looking for the falls. Therefore, we have to believe that there might be some degree of pollution from industrial runoff in the immediate vicinity of the river, and that made us wonder whether it would be a good idea to swim here or even fish (though I noticed signs saying fishing was prohibited).
From the official pullout and viewing area (see directions below), there was grassy overlook with a picnic table right at the brink of the falls. Some informal trails appeared to lead right to the top of the waterfall itself, and this would be where I’d imagine some daredevils have managed to kayak over the falls. Another branch of this path also led to the concrete reinforcement wall adjacent to the brink of the falls immediately beneath the official overlook.
Since the view of the falls from the official signposted viewing spot wasn’t very satisfactory, we explored a bit and walked down a rural road further downstream. From there, we found some informal paths that went around what appeared to be some old house or mill, which then led to some informal trails leading right to the banks of the Metauro River beneath the falls. The most obvious paths happened to be the steepest and muddiest paths (i.e. most difficult) while the path that ran up against the cliff wall was the least steepest and easiest to get down and up.
Once I made it to the banks of the river, I then scrambled further downstream as far as I could to get the photo you see at the top of this page. Given the heavy rain from earlier in the day we showed up, the scrambling was very muddy and slippery. I also didn’t entertain crossing the swollen river to get to the other side where the views of Cascata del Sasso would have been more direct (though the internet literature has shown some photos were taken from there under more benign conditions). Overall, I probably spent about 45 minutes away from the car encompassing all the scrambling, tripod photography, and walking.
From the toll-free E45 autostrada well north of Perugia (and Assisi), we exited at San Giustino. We then followed the E78 for about 42km on a twisty mountain road over a pass across the Apennine Mountains, and into the Metauro Valley where we eventually passed through the town of Sant’Angelo in Vado.
Just on the eastern outskirts of town, there was a turnoff (Via Ca Maspino) into an industrial zone on the right. Strangely, the signpost for Cascata del Sasso was at this turnoff, but we were only able to see it heading west on the E78 as opposed to heading east, which was the direction we were originally going! Anyways, we followed Via Ca Maspino until we turned left onto Via Cascata del Sasso. Then, we followed Via Cascata del Sasso for a few blocks until we reached the signposted pullout in a little over 300m.
The E78 detour from the San Giustino exit at the E45 to the waterfall was a little less than a hour’s drive each way.
To give you a little more context, San Giustino was 79km (about an hour drive) north of Assisi, 146km (under 2 hours drive) north of Narni, 117km (under 2 hours drive) east of Florence, 111km (over 90 minutes drive) east of Siena, and 88km (about 90 minutes drive) northeast of Montepulciano.
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