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The wonderfully surprising Mola di Oriolo and Waterfall – Parco della Mola

Hello outdoor lovers!

Oriolo Romano might sound familiar to you, famous for its Porcini Mushroom Festival and the protected UNESCO Beech Forest. But did you know that on the western side of Oriolo there is a little waterfall hidden away close to the ancient Via Clodia in the Parco della Mola?

Mola di Oriolo and Waterfall

The Mola di Oriolo is situated to the west of Oriolo Romano and is encompassed within a protected area. The trail primarily traverses along country roads, occasionally venturing into serene wooded areas.

Mola di Oriolo and Waterfall – Parco della Mola
This waterfall hides in plain sight

What can you expect?

Embark on an invigorating countryside hike in Oriolo Romano, where the wonders of nature await. While some may perceive the trail as monotonous, the journey culminates in a breathtaking waterfall that rewards your efforts. Furthermore, be prepared to discover the enchantment of sulphur springs and an old and historically important mill along the way. Alongside this fascinating route, you’ll stumble upon the remnants of the ancient Roman road, Via Clodia, as well as a serene picnic area, providing the perfect opportunity to pause and revel in the tranquility of your surroundings.


  • Waterfall and river
  • Thermal springs
  • River
  • Roman Countryside (“Tuscia”)
molo di oriolo sheep
It’s not unusual to bump into sheep

Tech specs

  • Official difficulty scale: E
  • Best period to visit: Generally all year round (but best avoided during summer as most of the trail is exposed to the sun)
  • My difficulty assessment: Easy (in terms of terrain, however it might be long for some)
  • Elevation gain: 150m
  • Elevation loss: 150m
  • Type: Loop
  • Length: 12.1km
  • Time: Approximately 3 hours
  • Trail Quality: The trail is generally easy to walk on, although there may be sections that are slightly overgrown. However, it is worth noting that the maintenance of certain parts of the trail could be improved.

Some things to be aware of

⚠️🌤️ This trail is highly exposed to the sun, so it is essential to bring extra water and avoid it during hot summer days to ensure your safety and comfort.

⚠️🐑 Be prepared for encounters with sheep along the trail. These curious animals often occupy the entire road, but don’t worry! When you come across a flock, seek refuge on the side of the road and take pleasure in observing the spectacle of hundreds of sheep passing by.

⚠️📽️ This destination is a popular choice for cinema and TV production companies. Occasionally, access to the Mola di Oriolo may be temporarily blocked due to ongoing film shoots. It’s advisable to contact the city hall of Oriolo and inquire about any current or upcoming productions to plan your visit accordingly.

molo di oriolo spring
The aftermath of Lazio’s volcanoes

How to get there

By car

You can get to Oriolo by heading towards Northern Lazio (Via Cassia), switching onto Via Braccianese Claudia once you are in La Giustiniana. Drive until Bracciano, another charming town next to Lake Bracciano. From here, follow signs to Manziana/Oriolo. There is parking available right at the train station, but there are several other parking areas and opportunities to park your car closer to the forest (remember: parking lots with blue stripes on the ground usually mean it’s paid parking, white stripes on the ground usually mean it’s free parking). One good parking spot is in Piazza Principe Amedeo

By public transport

This experience is easily accessible by train from Rome. Trains are frequent and take about 1h 18 minutes (from Ostiense station), with fewer trains on Sundays. Most trains to Oriolo (that’s the name of the station, even though it’s referred to as Oriolo Romano, in order not to confuse it with the other Oriolo in Calabria) will depart from Ostiense. That means that if you come from Termini or Tiburtina, you will need to switch over there, however in this case it probably is more convenient to switch trains at Trastevere station. Make sure to check the available departure times and connections on https://www.trenitalia.com.


If you have previously attempted to hike to the UNESCO forest, you are likely familiar with the procedure when arriving by train. Once the train arrives at the station, wait until it departs before crossing the train tracks to reach the station exit safely.

molo di oriolo tuff stone
Volcanic tuff stone next to the trail

Getting to the trail head

Directly outside of the train station you’ll notice a CONAD on the other side of the street. If you need to get a coffee, forget to bring water and some food – they have it all, including a coffee bar with a surprising selection of pastries. Also, there is a public bathroom on the premises. If, instead, you want to get going right away, head left until you get to the roundabout. Here, turn right onto Via della Chiusa – this is where the trail starts!

molo di oriolo trail
Entering the woods

Country roads, take me home

Generally, this trail boasts clear signage, particularly in the initial sections. As you progress, you will encounter signs guiding you towards the northern direction on Strada della Mola. Take an eastern turn onto Poggio Palombino, and shortly after, at the first opportunity, make a left to resume your journey northward, leading you onto Strada della Castellina. Continue westward on this road until you reach Strada del Cerreto. Follow this route until you arrive at the entrance of the Mola. If you’re lucky and get there early enough, you have the entire place for yourself. It gets busier on weekends – and sometimes unfortunately the place is a bit dirty, which is an indication that there was a party a few nights prior, or sometimes the film crews are not very careful in clearing things after their film shoots. Nevertheless, it’s a beautiful place worth exploring, also the trail that leads to the river.

The return

For the return journey, retrace your steps to the entrance of the Mola and proceed along the Strada della Mola, this time heading eastward. After approximately 1.5km, veer southward towards a field, and promptly make an eastward turn. Eventually, you will briefly pass through a wooded area. Please note that depending on the season, the trail might be partially overgrown, making it slightly challenging to navigate. Persist in an eastern direction until you reach the town center of Oriolo Romano.

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