When I arrived in Cineto Romano I had great expectations. During my wanderings in the Aniene Valley in search of the Town Ambassadors of its villages, everyone had always told me about Cineto Romano.
The intriguing 'cheffa' Lidia (LINK) from Riofreddo, who constantly surveys her customers, told me that at least 30% of her customers had come to visit the Rioscuro waterfalls in Cineto Romano.
The mayor Massimiliano Liani is therefore a hero, yet human, for all the traders and restaurateurs of this vast and beautiful area full of waters between Lazio and Abruzzo, which makes use of the entire municipal administration and the valid group of volunteers "Cineto culture and heritage"
And the success of Cineto Romano was not born by chance but from an attention to tourism that comes from years of work. Cineto does not appear on the horizon, and you have to pass under many bridges over the Aniene river and under the Roma L'Aquila motorway before seeing the imposing castle which defines the whole scenario of the ancient village.
Let's say that the first impression is that of an engineering power!
But when you arrive at the village it seems to go back in time: the castle that dominates the whole scene seems so close that you have the sensation of being able to touch it. And the lush surrounding nature feeds this feeling.
The ancient village has been settled over the years and is alive, a sign that the tourists have begun to arrive and that the activities have found lifeblood, such as that of the vintage objects dealer right in the main square under the church of St John the Baptist. This type of small shop arises only when a village is frequented by holidaymakers looking for something original as a souvenir.
Going up to the castle, most of the windows of the houses are open and alive and I met a mother with a curious little girl who asked me thousands of questions. What a joy to see life flowing through the veins of Cineto Romano.
After visiting the castle courtyard and the clock tower, I went to the town hall to meet the mayor Massimiliano Liani and the deputy mayor Luigi Todini.
Massimiliano was among the coordinators of the protest movement of the mayors against the increases in the tariffs of the Rome-L'Aquila motorway and for years he has begun to enhance the beauties of his town such as the natural monument of the Rioscuro waterfalls.
The two welcome me warmly and instinctively understand the spirit of the Town Ambassador, an original way of promoting Cineto Romano with people who already love it. And immediately they propose the name of Schawn Malone, a senator from the Virgin Islands who has chosen to live a few months a year in Cineto Romano together with his husband.
I can't wait to meet him and learn more about his story and his relationship with Cineto Romano and the Aniene Valley.
It's getting late and the rain prevents me from going for a walk in the woods up to the Rioscuro waterfalls, but I'm sure I'll come back in the summer and maybe even take a dip in the lakes. And I'm also very intrigued by going to see the mysterious Morge well whose end you can't see. It is the deepest in Italy!