The Marta River, Ecosystem and Nature Path
The Marta River originates from Lake Bolsena and flows 53.4 km to the sea, running through or by the towns and lands of Tuscia (Marta, Tuscania, Monte Romano, Tarquinia) as well as remarkable historical and natural sites whose development was determined by this waterway. Well-known since ancient times due to its navigability, the Marta River, after several small falls near Tuscania (Salumbrona, etc.) is joined by tributaries (Biedano, etc.) which feed into it. Through the years, it has undergone changes, even man-made ones, which have not always been in its best interest. The Marta River has sparked considerable human interest and activity in the area, which can be witnessed in the local toponomy, the ruins of several medieval places of worship (S. Savino, S. Giusto, etc.) as well as in civil architecture (Castles of Ancarano, Pian Fagiano, la Cannara, etc.). These have been discovered along the watercourse and testify to the importance it had for some ecclesiastical communities and prominent families. Even during modern times, several large industrial facilities were built along its banks which are now either partially or completely abandoned. These include the ex-paper mills in both Tarquinia and Tuscania as well as electric power plants (S. Savino), all industrial archaeological sights awaiting eco-friendly reuse. The Marta River has often been mentioned in humanistic and artistic works, such as “La Caduta della Marta” (The decline of the Marta) by V. Campanari and the paintings by F. M. Granet. Those wanting to explore the river and the surrounding farmlands by bike or on horseback can a take the nature path marked out by signposting, rest areas, and information boards revealing the endemic flora and fauna.