Cascate del Serio (in English – Serio Falls) is the tallest waterfall in Italy, and one of the major ones in Europe. These amazing falls are formed by the Serio River, at a short distance from its source in the Bergamo Alps (in northern Lombardy). The falls are composed of 3 main steps, respectively 166, 74 and 75 meters tall. Taken together, the falls have a drop of 315 m.
The waterfalls were closed in 1931 when the Barbellino Dam was built, forming the reservoir known as the Lago di Barbellino. These falls were only reopened in 1969. Since 1969, they have usually been opened 4 or 5 days annually, thanks to an agreement between ENEL (the National Electric Energy Corporation) and the comune of Valbondione. Between 1975 and 1977, the Serio Falls were permanently open due to dam restoration works.
In present days, the dam is released 5 times each year. The dates of the releases are set in advance and commonly take place between June and October.
The first mentions of these falls were back in the 16th century in travel narratives, like that of Giovanni Maironi da Ponte, who described them as “a place to recover from the bitterness of life”.
An old legend portrays that a lady in the village loved a shepherd, and the lady was jealous about his fiancee, so she captured her and closed her in a castle. The fiancee began to cry, and the flood of tears was transformed into the torrents that create the falls.
How to get to Cascate del Serio (Serio Falls)?
The shortest and easiest way is to park your car in the village of Valbondione and follow the road through the village to the trail for the falls. It is very easy to find because so many tourists come from all around the world to see these wonderful falls unleashed. The trail is about three km one-way to the lookout point directly across from the falls.