This post is also available in: Italian

We met surfing on Facebook as often happens between people who have similar interests and found that we were both committed to promoting the smaller hidden treasures of Lazio.
A strange past unites us as we both started from renewable energy and sustainability and then we came to sustainability of local areas consisting of small activities that can be born out of the enhancement and promotion of the historical local natural beauties.

Luigi is a mountaineer and mountain hiker and has been so since he was young,
and is a member of the CAI of Rome – Italian Alpine Club hiking committee and he started a blog and opened a group on Facebook, entitled ‘Secret places near Rome’.
After the success with followers, he decided to publish a first book that methodically collected the walks and itineraries that could be done in the north, east, south and west of Rome.
Today he has reached the third volume and the group of supporters has widened, sometimes asking for information but sometimes also providing new ideas and suggestions of other hidden places to discover and promote.

“They are not guides that illustrate paths and known places. They give only basic botanical, geological, historical, artistic, archaeological information (since it is now easy to find news of this kind in the many excursion guides on the market, and then on the internet). And that’s why I entered an apparently saturated sector like that of hiking guides: because I’m going to fill a void “.

Each place he selects meets at least 5 of the requirements. The first is that it must be virtually unknown, and often it is also so to the inhabitants of the surroundings. It should not generally be indicated in the most common hiking guides and there must be no marked trail. The location is not easy to locate but must be close to Rome (no more than 30 km from the GRA – most are just a few kilometers from the GRA). Finally, the place must be sufficiently impressive to arouse emotion and amazement.

Some of these fifty places also respond to an extra pre-requisite: a fair difficulty in hiking. And this makes them appealing even to demanding walkers. I think in particular of the members of the Italian Alpine Club.

There are many natural environments that can be studied in depth:

“It is hard to believe, but within twenty-five / thirty kilometers from the Grande Raccordo Anulare we find such heterogeneous and spectacular environments, which would not look out of place in areas such as the Apennines or Provence or the natural parks of Croatia. Unknown lakes, thermal phenomena, waterfalls, gorges, karst sinkholes and many others. And this is only to cite the category of nature “.

Not all places are accessible, some are located on private land and cannot therefore be visited. This has also helped to preserve many of these treasures.

But to preserve them from vandalism there is another way and is to make known their value. It is a longer way but that gives unexpected results.
Very often the local culture has not been published or has been relegated to refined scholars who wrote for a few experts. And this was an obstacle to the birth of a real sentiment of the value of ‘common goods’ and the enhancement of local heritage.
This enhancement with simple words about the hidden treasures in every small town is analogous to what we do in when we create a bilingual guide of the town: we try to make the town known to tourists but also to let the locals appreciate their immense heritage.
This heritage together with that of the landscape is the single non-variable feature that represents our true wealth and which makes the town unique in the world.

In the case of the Luigi Plos Guides there is also another consideration regarding the type of people who may want to venture into discovery of secret places:

“So we can find almost uncontaminated places that have remained intact over the centuries (some for thousands of years, such as the hydraulic works of the Arrone valley), since they are located in areas difficult to reach, muddy/ wet, ’ramshackle’ and without paths “.

“Not many of the places described in the guides except Torre Fiora (and Grotta Marozza), the Valle Bruciata and a few others are easily accessible “.
Often the adventures that Luigi describes in his guides are half-day trips but all have the characteristics of a true explorer discovery:

“I will always remember the first visit to my favourite place, the Waterfall of Hell – in the park of Vejo.

It is a truly adventurous route, in a fluvial environment, with little light due to the dense undergrowth shade cover, and with so much humidity.

The first time I arrived was surprising (and it is still every day even today, although I have been at least 15 times): I heard a splash of water, but I did not understand what it was. Only after rounding a curve of the rocky gorge that I had penetrated, appeared the sudden and grandiose (it was spring, and therefore the waterfall was at maximum flow) “.

To find more information about the Secret Places you can subscribe to the Facebook group “Secret Places a few steps from Rome” or on the page, you can go to the blog “” and subscribe to the mailing list to receive a preview of news and exclusive information on some particular places near Rome.

Claudia Bettiol

IT Ingegnere, futurista e fondatrice di Discoverplaces. Consulente per lo Sviluppo Turistico dei Territori, specializzato nella sostenibilità e nella promozione culturale dei piccoli territori e delle piccole imprese. Ama i cavalli ENG Engineeer, futurist, joint founder of Energitismo and founder of Discoverplaces. Consultant for the development and promotion of the Touristic Development of Territories specialising in sustainability and in cultural promotion of small places and small enterprises. She loves horses