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Subiaco

By: Domenico Intorre
Country: Italy, Region: Lazio, Town: Subiaco (Roma)

The area to the southeast of Rome is littered with limestone faces, often already bolted with routes but still with much further potential. One could draw an imaginary triangle, the top is Italy's capital, the two sides are the main motorways and the base is Abruzzo: within it there are many old crags such as Pietrasecca Petrella Liri, Castellafiume but also many new recently bolted outcrops.

With this article I'll talk about Subiaco, famous for its Benedictine monasteries literally wedged into the limestone walls: to comprehend just how many cliffs are in this valley, it's worth noting that the Monastero di San Benedetto was defined by Pope Pius II as "the swallow's nest", and unfortunately climbing is banned on some of the crags for obvious "religious" reasons. With this in mind, it is worth remembering that famous assault of the St. Benedict monastery face by a small group of climbers led by Stefano Finocchi. The adventure was nipped in the bud by the Benedictine friars, angered by the inevitable "improper use of language" that followed every failed attempt ....

The quantity of limestone in the Aniene Valley never went unnoticed and in the eighties Stefano Finocchi and Andrea Di Bari bolted some lines at the "Piccola gemma" sector and the imposing "Parete del monastero". A few years later the two developed the "La galleria" sector which has recently been rebolted by Marco Nescatelli. It was in 1990 that Andrea Gallo, referring to Finocchi and Di Bari, wrote in his guidebook ".. for quite a while now those who love the Aniene Valley have turned their attentions elsewhere. The valley has therefore remained tranquil, in the wait for someone else to discover it." As things turned out, the valley had to wait for almost twenty years before interest in its rocks was rekindled, to be exact to the year 2005 when Tonio Pettinella and I started to bolt "Le scalette", a nice sector just a stone's throw from River Aniene.

The number of routes has increased more recently thanks to the new sector "La segheria" developed by Gianluca Mazzacano, Caesar Giuliani and myself. Largely ignored perhaps because of its less attractive appearance, we were eventually convinced to bolt it due to its favorable aspect: it can get really hot around here in summer and afternoon shade is a valuable commodity ! La segheria is composed of two large ledges and while it isn't necessary to tie in, you should most certainly be careful about what you're doing. This sector is definitely not suitable for families with children.

GETTING THERE

From Rome drive east to Subiaco (70km). From Subiaco take the SS411 towards the Arcinazzo plateau. After about a km reach a fork, continue left along the road of Monasteries towards Jenne. After a few hundred metres turn off right onto a concrete road that descends to the river. The sector "Le scalette" is the first that springs into view, clearly visible from the road. The path begins with a characteristic concrete stairway; at the end of this follow the path rightwards to reach the crag in just a few minutes. For the sector "La segheria" continue driving for another 500 meters. No special instructions are needed as the cliff is located practically right above the road.

THE CLIMBING

Limestone pockets and tufas, mainly overhanging at the sector "Le scalette", very few technical routes. Old style climbing on a slightly overhanging face at the sector "La segheria".

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