Dolina del Revotano

U’revotano


Useful Information

Location: Roccantica, Revotano, Province of Rieti.
3.5 km marked trail from Roccantica, past the Hermitage of San Leonardo, the ruins of a mill, to the viewpoint above the sinkhole.
(42.3111, 12.6950)
Open: no restrictions.
[2021]
Fee: free.
[2021]
Classification: KarstTiankeng
Light: n/a
Dimension: VR=140 m, L=300 m, W=240 m.
Guided tours: self guided, D=2h
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography:  
Address: Dolina del Revotano, 02040 Roccantica RI
Comune di Roccantica. Via dei Nobili 3, Roccantica 02040 Rieti, Tel: +39-076563020, Fax +39-076563809. E-mail:
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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History


Description

photography
Dolina del Revotano, historic engraving, Italy. Public Domain.

The Dolina del Revotano (Doline of Revotano) is a huge doline located on top of a hill above the small town Roccantica. The locals call it U’revotano (the overturned). A trail leads into the center of the doline, a branch to an outlook on the northern rim. The doline is covered by forest, so it is not easy to see the exact dimensions, but most of the rim form a vertical limestone cliff. The rim of the doline is only vaguely circular, there are several coves and ridges. This is probably because the current doline is actually the merge of several smaller dolines.

However, with diameters between 250 m and 300 m and a depth of 140 m the doline qualifies as a tiankeng. Tiankeng are dolines of extreme size, minimum 100 m in diameter and 100 m deep. Only 75 of those enormous dolines are known worldwide, 50 of them are located in China, and the rest mostly in very remote places. So this is actually one of very few possibilities to see a tiankeng in Europe at the price of a two-hour walk. It's possible to walk from Roccantica or from Poggio Catino, so you can either do a return trip or a one way walk to the other side, if you have a means of transportation back to your car. From Roccantica it is a 3.5 km marked trail, past the Hermitage of San Leonardo and the ruins of a mill to the viewpoint above the sinkhole. There are information panels in Roccantica.

From the northern and lower rim a slippery, unmarked trail leads to the bottom of the sinkhole. At steep sections there is evan a rope as a handrail. The air is colder and more humid at the bottom of the sinkhole, cold air is trapped in the depression. The result is a fragile world of moss-carpeted trees and ferns.

The village Revotano was inhabited by blasphemous residents and this caused the wrath of god. The young wife of an inhabitant had gone to the stream to wash her laundry with her son. Suddenly she heard a voice, which warned that divine punishment was going to befall her village. A great earthquake shook the land, but the voice guided them to safety. Revotano was swallowed completely into the sinkhole.

This is actually the kind of legend, which may have a true core. If the doline collapse in historic times, the event was probably witnessed by locals. The rest of the story is more or less the same as Sodom and Gomorrha and the rescue of Lots family from the bible. The people had to interpret the reason for this event somehow.