11 Best Things To Do In Terni, Italy

things to do in Terni
| 6 min read

Terni might not be the first place you think of when you ponder about what sights in Italy to visit, but the small town has its own unique, old-world charm. The capital of the Umbria region of Italy, it was originally founded around the 7th-century BC. It also earned the moniker “The Steel City,” with its steel mills that helped launch the second Industrial Revolution in Italy. Many relics from the past eras can be found in the town alongside newly constructed buildings, making it the epitome of a seamless combination of modern and antique, and it also plays host to beautiful natural wonders. Read on to learn more about the best things to do in Terni!

1. Explore the Roman Amphitheater

Remains of the Roman amphitheater of Terni
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Livioandronico2013 used under CC BY-SA 4.0

The Roman Amphitheater, otherwise known as the Fausto Amphitheater, was originally built around 32 AD and was used in the past as the arena where gladiators fought. The original auditorium is nothing more than ruins today, although its original layout and structure are still visible. Various modifications have been made on it in order to make the building usable even now. It continues to serve as a venue for concerts and cultural events.

Roman Amphitheater

Address: Via dell’Anfiteatro – Spoleto, Terni, Italy

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2. Go hiking at the Parco Fluviale del Nera and Parco Fluviale del Tevere

Parco fluviale del Nera
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Ulissevietato.9449 used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Parco Fluviale del Nera (Black River Park) is a park that covers the lower parts of the Nera Ferentillo river. Aside from being the home of the Cascata delle Marmore waterfalls, it is also the location of Ferentillo, a popular climbing spot in the Umbria region. There are also various trails within the park that adventure-seekers can traverse and explore by bike or on foot. While on the trail, they can spot a variety of wildlife, including several varieties of birds. Aside from hiking, there are a variety of water sports and activities that guests can try out while at Parco Fluviale del Nera. These include rafting and kayaking.

Parco Fluviale del Tevere (Tiber River Park), a protected site by the WWF, is also home to a variety of hiking trails for those who love to spend time outdoors. Many of its trails have intermediate difficulty. Guests can see various notable historical and archeological locations in the park by trekking to these via the trails. Along the way, visitors will be able to enjoy seeing picturesque landscapes and spotting a variety of endemic wildlife.

In the same way that the Cascata delle Marmore waterfalls has been maintained for generating hydroelectric power, the waters found in the park were re-channeled for the purpose of power generation. The offshoot of these efforts was the creation of the Corbara Dam, as well as Lake Corbara, a reservoir. Water activities such as rafting, rowing, canoeing, and fishing can be enjoyed on and around the waters.

Parco Fluviale del Nera

Address: Via San Francesco, 52, Arrone, Terni, Italy

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3. Marvel at the Cascata delle Marmore waterfalls

Cascata delle Marmore
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Croberto68 used under CC BY 3.0

It might seem hard to believe, but the Cascate delle Marmore waterfalls, found in Parco Fluviale del Nera, are actually manmade and not created by nature. The waters were created by engineers during the ancient Roman times by diverting a river to reduce the amount of water in an attempt to minimize the number of cases of malaria in the area. Today, it is considered as one of the highest waterfalls in Europe.

The waterfalls are only running for a few hours per day, so do make sure to check before you head there if the waters are flowing so you don’t waste a trip to the destination only to find that the flow has been turned off for the day. When going here, it would be a good idea to bring a raincoat or a waterproof poncho especially if you plan on walking near the falls, to avoid getting wet.

Cascata delle Marmore waterfalls

Address: Voc. Cascata, 30, Marmore, Terni, Italy

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4. Explore the ruins of Carsulae

Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Carole Raddato used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Carsulae is an archeological site and park located north of San Gemini, a small area within Terni. According to historians, Carsulae was a major town in the region, having been founded around 300 BC. At the height of its development, it became one of the most prosperous towns in the area thanks to strong agricultural activities. No clear reason was found as to why Carsulae was subsequently abandoned, although there are theories that a strong earthquake made the area inhabitable.

Today, guests can explore the ruins of the ancient town, at least, the parts that have already been uncovered by archaeologists, with more set to be revealed. A museum in the area provides more information about the ancient civilization that lived there, as well as additional details about the ruins in the area.

Do note that the site is largely unspoiled, which means that some parts have been overtaken by nature and many of the paths are rough, so visiting this place might be very challenging for children, the elderly, and persons with disabilities.


Address: Vocabolo Carsoli 8, 05100, Terni, Italy

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5. Visit Palazzo Spada

Palazzo Spada
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Geo Sergio Fotografo used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Palazzo Spada was built in 1540 for Cardinal Girolamo Capodiferro. It was subsequently purchased by Cardinal Spada in 1632, who commissioned Francesco Borromini to renovate the structure to feature Baroque architecture. It currently serves as the town hall of Terni.

Palazzo Spada

Address: Piazza Mario Ridolgi 1, 05100, Terni, Italy

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6. Visit Basilica san Valentino

Saint-Valentine Terni
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user supergab used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Aside from being known as “The Steel City,” Terni is also dubbed as the “City of Lovers,” given that the town is where St. Valentine, of whom the celebration of Valentine’s Day every 14th of February is attributed to, was born. As the town’s patron saint, it is not surprising why the saint has his own cathedral there. The original basilica, which was built in the 4th-century, was built over the tomb of St. Valentine. It has been destroyed and reconstructed several times across history, with the current structure originally built in 1606. It houses beautiful religious works of art, such as “St. Luke,” which was attributed to Lucas de la Mayr. The relics of St. Valentine can also be found within the basilica.

Basilica San Valentino

Address: Via Papa Zaccaria, Terni, Italy

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7. Visit Duomo di Terni

Duomo di terni, esterno 06
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Sailko used under CC BY 3.0

Duomo di Terni, otherwise known as the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta or simply the Cathedral of Terni, can be found in Piazza del Duomo. According to legend, the Palatial Church was originally built over the remains of a pagan temple. Various additions and fortifications have since been incorporated in the original structure.

The church features Romanesque art and architecture. It also serves as the home of various religious relics and artwork. It also houses an organ that dates back to the 17th-century.

Duomo di Terni

Address: Via del Vescovado, 7, 05100 Terni, Italy

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8. Stroll along Giardini Pubblici La Passeggiata

Parco La Passeggiata
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Andrea Santini used under CC BY-SA 4.0

If you’re tired of the urban setting and the ruins of Terni, visit Giardini Pubblici La Passeggiata, or the Public Gardens of Tarni, where you can refresh your mind by surrounding yourself with greeneries. It is a property at the center of Terni. Designed by Domenico Giannelli, the gardens feature a variety of plants, including exotic and rare species of trees.

Families traveling together can bring their kids to play at the children’s playgrounds in the area. There are also designated spaces there for jogging and biking.

Giardini Pubblici La Passeggiata

Address: via Del Vescovado, 05100, Terni, Italy

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9. Enjoy the scenery at Lago di Piediluco

Lago di Piediluco, panoramica
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Milarix used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Lago di Piediluco (Piediluco Lake) is fed by three sources: the Rio Duscello, the Nera River, and the Velino River. Swimming is not allowed in the water. However, visitors can go rowing, canoeing, and pedal boating. Alternatively, they can simply enjoy the peace and quiet by the lake. They can also go on a ferry boat ride to enjoy the view from the water. Beside the lake is a small but picturesque village that provides a beautiful view of the waters.

Lago di Piediluco

Address: Piediluco, Terni, Italy

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10. Dine at La Locanda del Poggio

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

It might seem strange that there is a seafood restaurant in Terni, which is several miles away from the sea, but that is exactly what La Locanda del Poggio is, and it has built a reputation for offering delicious choices within the region. Located about 20 minutes away from the town center of Terni, it offers a menu with a variety of choices, including but not limited to shrimp, prawns, and mussels. Those who want a more conventional Italian meal can also enjoy pasta dishes here.

La Locanda del Poggio

Address: Srada di Poggio Lavarino, 05100, Terni, Italy

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11. Enjoy Italian coffee and local pastries at Caffe Teatro

Freshly baked croissants are served daily at Caffe Teatro
Source: Pixabay

Caffe Teatro offers just about every treat that you will want while on an Italian holiday: coffee, pastries, and wine. The establishment has its own bar too for those who want to drink something stronger.

Caffe Teatro

Address: Corso Vecchio 123, 05100, Terni, Italy

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Terni: where past meets present

Montecastrilli Terni, Italy
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Moreno Lupparelli used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Terni is a quiet town where remnants of the ancient past can be found side by side with industrialized areas. Visit the place and see this curious combination for yourself.

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Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
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Melanie is a freelance travel writer. She considers freelancing for Trip 101 to be a combination of two of the things she loves: writing and traveling. She has gone sightseeing with family,...Read more

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