The first description of this waterfall can be found in chronicles written by sixteenth century travellers. For example, Giovanni Maironi da Ponte described the waterfall as "a place where you can wash away the bitterness of life”. In the nineteenth century, the publishing house Vallardi published a book entitled “La terra, trattato popolare di geografia universal”. On p.407 of this book, next to the Niagara Falls, there is a detailed description of this waterfall.
The waterfall (a.k.a. Le cascate del Serio) is the tallest in Italy at 315 m and the second tallest in Europe. It consists of three jumps: the first of 106m, the second of 74m and finally a 75m drop. The dam that holds the mass of water that is then released to make the waterfall was completed in November 1931. Before man interfered with nature, the water flowed naturally from the south side of the Barbellino plane.
Between 1969 and 1991 the magnificent waterfall was only released once a year in July (except between 1975 and 1977 when the lake behind the dam was emptied for maintenance work and the waterfall could be seen every day).
In 1991 it became possible to see this event twice a year, on the third Sunday of July and the first Sunday of September.
Currently it is possible to admire the waterfall 5 times a year. The dates differ each year, but generally take place between the months of June and October.
When the water is released from the reservoir known as the Barbellino Lake, the waterfall is met by a huge applause from its numerous spectators followed by the thunderous noise caused by the impact of the water.
- 2013 23 June – 11am
- 20 July – 10pm (the special floodlit opening of the waterfall)
- 18 August – 11am
- 15 September – 11am
- 6 October – 11am