Cascate di Nardis (Nardis Waterfalls) seemed to be pretty well-known waterfalls as we became aware of it prior to our Italy trip through our DK guidebook as well as a visitor’s waterfall submission on our website. We suspect that its location within Val Genova might have also contributed to its notoriety as it was the feature waterfall in a valley that was also known as Italy’s version of the Valley of Waterfalls. Indeed, from looking at the maps, there were several significant waterfalls that could be found in this valley, and we even managed to visit another waterfall in addition to Nardis during our brief visit to Val Genova.
The Nardis Waterfalls were said to have an overall height of 130m over a non-vertical cliff said to be around 65 degrees in slope. The waterfall appeared as a pair of segmented drops side-by-side, which added to its scenic allure. Although we tended to think of this as a singular waterfall, the double-barreled characteristic was probably why people generally use the plural form of the Italian word cascata when referring to it by name.
This was one of the easier waterfalls for us to visit (though this statement may have a caveat, which we’ll explain in the directions below). That was because we were literally able to park in a lot that was directly in front of the falls. Even though it appeared that they used to allow visitors to go right to the base of the falls, we suspect that unstable cliffs and the potential for rockfalls caused the authorities to close off the short trails to get closer. Thus, it was pretty much a waterfall that we could just gawk at while possibly having a cuppa at the cafe across the river.
From Trento we followed the twisty and uphill Strada Statale Gardesana Occidentale (SS45BIS) west for about 18km towards the town of Sarche (near both the lakes Santa Massenza and Toblino). Once in Sarche, we then took the SS237 for another 23km to the town of Tione di Trento. Then, we followed the signs for Madonna di Campiglio, which took us onto the SS239. We then took the SS239 north for a little over 18km to the town of Carisolo (just past the town of Pinzolo), where towards its northern end, there was a signed turnoff to the left for Val Genova.
Once we were on the narrow road for Val Genova, we then followed this for another 4km or so to the car park for Cascate di Nardis. It’s worth noting that this narrow road supported bi-directional traffic, including large buses. I recalled there was one hairy moment where we met a bus going the other way just outside of a tunnel, and we had to scoot by each other with the bus passing VERY close to us (almost scraping the rental car)!
The entire drive took us about 90 minutes to cover the distance between Trento and Cascate di Nardis.
Finally, we have to mention that even though we drove right to the front of this waterfall, we have read that traffic is generally limited from the main car park (about 0.5km east of the falls at the Ponte Verde or Green Bridge) all the way through to the cirque of the valley at Malga Bedole (17km from Carisolo) from June through September. Apparently, only shuttle buses or drivers who have paid a toll would be allowed in. It could very well be that we showed up during the shoulder season on the first day of June so we managed to make it there (and beyond) on our own without the restrictions (either that or we drove in illegally without knowing).
So that might be a consideration in terms of how much time to budget for a visit to this area (i.e. budget more time to work with the service schedules).
Finally for some additional context, Trento was 61km (under an hour drive) south of Bolzano, 50km (under an hour drive) east of Riva del Garda, 213km (2-2.5 hours drive) northwest of Venice (Venezia), and 224km (over 2.5 hours drive) northeast of Milan (Milano).
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