The waterfall of Acquacheta, near the village of San Benedetto in Alpe in the Emilia-Romagna Apennines, is famous for its natural beauty as well as for being described by Dante in the Divine Comedy.
How to get to Acquacheta

A waterfall of natural beauty and cultural heritage

Hidden in the Apennine mountains thunders the three-prong flow of waters that "should be fed by a thousand torrents". The Nature Path that leads to the waterfall from the village of San Benedetto in Alpe is a two-hour-drive up hairpin curves east of Florence, or an hour west of Forlì. The 210-foot waterfall of Acquacheta is only accessible via a two-hour walk from the village, along the Nature Path that meanders by its torrent. A major and unique attraction to all who know it stands there waiting for souls to savor it.

Dante, the great Italian poet who penned the trilogy of The Divine Comedy and is for that work credited as the father of modern Italian language, was exiled from Florence in the year 1302. On the way of exile to the city of Ravenna, Dante spent the winter of 1302 to 1303 in the village of San Benedetto in Alpe and the Benedictine Abbey that had flourished there since the ninth century. The work he began in exile, the satirical and caustic pilgrimage to the inferno, to pergatory and to paradise, which came to be known as The Divine Comedy, describes several landscapes and nature that Dante saw around San Benedetto in Alpe and in Romagna. That nature must have made a profound impression on him. He described the waterfall of Acquacheta in Song XVI, verses 94 through 104 of “Inferno”.

Guided by the ancient Roman poet Virgil, Dante arrives at the waterfall which in his fantastical, nightmarish vision he sees as the drop of the river Phlegethon from the seventh to the eight circle of the inferno:

  Even as that stream which holdeth its own course
    The first from Monte Veso tow’rds the East,
    Upon the left-hand slope of Apennine,
Which is above called Acquacheta, ere
    It down descendeth into its low bed,
    And at Forli is vacant of that name,
Reverberates there above San Benedetto
    From Alps, by falling at a single leap,
     Where for a thousand there were room enough;
Thus downward from a bank precipitate,
    We found resounding that dark-tinted water,
    So that it soon the ear would have offended.
  Translation, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, published in the United States in 1867.
Use the Italian version link at the top menu to read Dante's verses in the original language.

We have selected the translation by Longfellow who was the first American to have translated Dante into English. Regarding the line which Longfellow interprets as “Where for a thousand there were room enough;” it is worth noting that, in the original text, Dante leaves the meaning vague as to whether Acquacheta could be fed by a thousand torrents, or whether its waters could water the fields to support a thousand inhabitants. This has been a debate in the Italian literary world and the two most prevalent interpretations are those of Natalino Sapegno (1901-1990) who supports the imagery of Acquacheta being fed by a thousand torrents, as is the consequent position of the thesis published in this website, and of Giovani Boccaccio (1313-1375) who supported the imagery of a thousand inhabitants benefiting from the waters of Acquacheta. All translations of Dante’s work into English, including Longfellow’s, have been influenced by Boccaccio’s interpretation. However, Longfellow’s version is the one that is closer to Dante’s vagueness on the subject.

Also worth noting, for the English reader, that the word “Alpe” (singular), “Alpi” (plural), refers to pastures on mountains. Therefore, San Benedetto dell’Alpe, as Dante calls it, or San Benedetto in Alpe, as it is known today, literally means San Benedetto by a mountain pasture.

Finally, regarding the opening reference to Mount Veso: "Monte Veso is among the Alps, between Piedmont and Savoy, where the Po takes its rise. From this point eastward to the Adriatic, all the rivers on the left or northern slope of the Apennines are tributaries to the Po, until we come to the Montone, which above Forlì is called Acquacheta. This is the first which flows directly into the Adriatic, and not into the Po. At least it was so in Dante’s time. Now, by some change in its course, the Lamone, farther north, has opened itself a new outlet, and is the first to make its own way to the Adriatic." (Note, as published with Longfellow's translation)


Today, Acquacheta is visited every day of the four seasons by naturalists, hikers, schools, artists and anyone with an appreciation for natural beauty or cultural heritage. Some two miles downstream from the waterfall, the torrent of Acquacheta is joined at San Benedetto in Alpe by another torrent, the Troncalosso which has just received the flow of another, the Rio Destro. From that point of confluence on, the single river that forms bears the name Montone as it flows down-valley towards Forlì and the Adriatic sea.

San Benedetto in Alpe, the gateway to Acquacheta, is build on two levels, the part of it that is called Molino, by the Acquacheta torrent, and the higher part, about a mile of a winding road up on the ridge called the Poggio, where the Benedictine monks built their Abbey in the ninth century. The valley of Acquacheta and the village nest among hills and ridges, lush forests and pasturescriss-crossed with paths for hiking carved out of the fertile soil when they were still the only way to traverse the mountains. The nature around San Benedetto in Alpe and the valley leading to the waterfall of Acquacheta reverberates itself with a uniqueness of beauty and tranquility.

Most of the Abbey we see today was rebuilt in the eighteenth century, the original structure having fallen to disrepair over the centuries for lack of funds, as all wealth was directed to finishing the Duomo in Florence. With its long history, since the days many centuries ago when it supported over one thousand inhabitants, San Benedetto in Alpe and its two hundred residents of the present day still stand as a welcoming gateway to Dante's Acquacheta.

In preparation for the seven hundredth anniversary of Dante Alighieri´s passing in 1321, this website was updated as an introduction to the waterfall through photographs as well as a source of information and study by presenting the graduation Thesis by Margherita Miserocchi: “The Waterfall of Acquacheta in the National Park of the Casentinesi Forests, Mount Falterona and Campigna: A geosite to conserve and to enhance”. Also offered here is an article by Massimo Ragazzini on the waterfall, a few words on Dante Alighieri himself and information on relevant websites and local establishments catering to visitors.

Confluence of the Troncalosso and Acquacheta (right) torrents
at San Benedetto in Alpe. From that point the river is called
the Montone until past the town of Forlì.
photo: Tom Glassman, 2011

The Benedictine Abbey of San Benedetto in Alpe, on the Poggio
(upper village) seen from the East
photo: Margherita Miserocchi, 2014

The Benedictine Abbey of San Benedetto in Alpe, on the Poggio
(upper village) stands above Molino (lower village)

The Benedictine Abbey and a view of the Molino and the Poggio (lower and upper village) at San Benedetto in Alpe



How to get to Acquacheta


GoogleEarth coordinates for the waterfall of Acquacheta in decimal: North 43.990617º, East 11.646305º

From Florence: by car, State Route 67 (SS67), east, a roughly 2-hour drive to the village of San Benedetto in Alpe.
There is a bus from Florence that stops at the Pass of Muraglione, east of Florence and, from there, there is another bus to Forlì that stops at San Benedetto in Alpe.

From Bologna: Autostrada A14 or train to the town of Forlì, about an hour.
then, by car or bus, State Route 67 (SS67), west, to the village of San Benedetto in Alpe, about 45 minutes to an hour.

From San Benedetto in Alpe: From the main square, walk 550 feet, past the Visitors Center of the National Park which will be at your right, to the start of the signposted path to Acquacheta, which is the only way to access the waterfall. From that point it is an almost three-mile hike, a two-hours-or-so walk along the Acquacheta stream, to the waterfall.




Google map






Dante Day at Acquacheta, June 12, 2021


Town Hall of Portico and San Benedetto
A beautiful party at the Piana dei Romiti on the occasion of Dante Day at Acquacheta, the result of the collaboration between the municipalities of Marradi, Portico and San Benedetto, San Godenzo, the Casentinesi Forests, Monte Falterona and Campigna National Park and the Academy of Accamminati. Thank you to everyone who contributed to the success of the demonstration, to the numerous volunteers, to the associations, to law enforcement and of course to all the people who participated!





by Massimo Ragazzini,

This article was published in “Annali Romagna 2013”,
supplement to number 71 of Open Book,
culture magazine directed by Antonio Patuelli published in Ravenna.


The truly spectacular beauty of the landscape, the richness of flora and fauna, the fame linked to Dante's Comedy combine to make the waterfall of Acquacheta a natural heritage to understand, protect and enhance. The waterfall, a classic excursion destination, among the most popular in the Tuscan-Romagna Apennines, is about an hour and a half walk from San Benedetto in Alpe (in the province of Forlì-Cesena) and is part of the National Park of the Foreste Casentinesi, Monte Falterona and Campigna. It can be reached by walking along the path by the torrent of Acquacheta to the confluence with the Lavane torrent. The path that leads to the waterfall, easily passable, starts from Piazza XXV Aprile, in San Benedetto in Alpe, but can also be reached from different points of the first stretch of the San Benedetto - Marradi provincial road.   continue reading the article, in Italian, here





Graduation thesis by Margherita Miserocchi

By "geological-geomorphological assets" of a territory we mean natural non-renewable assets. It includes the elements of scientific and environmental value of the landscape heritage: those natural architectures, or singularities of the landscape, which testify to the processes that have shaped and reshaped our planet. The geological-geomorphological assets provide an indispensable contribution to the scientific understanding of the geological history of a region, and represent values of exceptional importance for the landscape and cultural, as well as educational and recreational aspects.

Read the thesis in Italian here


by Massimo Ragazzini,

The following article was published in the "Annali Romagna 2020",
supplement to the Libro Aperto,
a cultural magazine edited by Antonio Patuelli.

The places enshrined in Dante's legacy, principally Firenze e Ravenna, have been preparing for some time to organize conferences and presentations in 2021, the 700th anniversary of the poet's death. San Benedetto in Alpe, known for the verses of the Divine Comedy on the waterfall of Acquacheta, cannot miss the appointment in 2021.  Read the article here, in English.

Dante: 700 Years, 1321-2021
Dantean echoes from the Uffizi Galleries
Not by fire but by divine art
The Divine Comedy illustrated by Federico Zuccari (1539-1609):
Dante's story through images
Inferno | Purgatory | Paradise




Services and Info on the web

Carabinieri "Parco" (Park Police) station, San Benedetto in Alpe
tel: 0543965304 3351604201
Emergency number 112

National Park of the Casentinesi Forests,
Mount Falterona and Campigna

tel: 057550301, 0543971375
website: National Park of the Casentinesi Forests

Town Hall of Portico and San Benedetto
Piazza Traversari, 1,
47010 Portico e San Benedetto FC
tel: 0543967047
website: Town Hall of Portico and San Benedetto, official site
Facebook: Town Hall of Portico and San Benedetto, Facebook page

San Benedetto in Alpe
website: San Benedetto in Alpe: the website of a mountain village
Facebook: Pro loco, San Benedetto in Alpe

Visitors Center of the National Park of the Casentinesi Forests
in San Benedetto in Alpe

Viale Acquacheta, 6,
47010 San Benedetto in Alpe FC
tel: 3497667400
website: Visitors Center, Gateway to Acquacheta



Where to stay and Local cuisine

Acquacheta Hotel and Restaurant
Via Molino, 46,
47010 San Benedetto In Alpe FC
tel: 0543965314
website: Acquacheta Albergo Ristorante

Il Laghetto, Restaurat and Pizza
Via Molino, 11,
47010 San Benedetto In Alpe FC
tel: 0543965314
facebook: Il Laghetto

Riding School Rio Destro, Restaurant, Rooms
Via Biforco, 7,
47010 San Benedetto In Alpe FC
tel: 3491596520
facebook: Rio Destro, Riding

Il Vignale, Hostel, Restaurant
Via Acquacheta, 68,
47010 San Benedetto In Alpe FC
tel: Restaurant: 3475999078
tel: Rooms: 3474494289
website: Il Vignale

Camping Acquacheta
Via Acquacheta, 7,
47010 San Benedetto In Alpe FC
tel: 3429482909
facebook: Camping Acquacheta

Guidi, Groceries
Via Molino, 58,
47010 San Benedetto In Alpe FC
tel: 0543965257
google: Guidi, Groceries

La Bottega di Sadurano
Via Molino, 27B,
47010 San Benedetto In Alpe FC
google: La Bottega di Sadurano




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