Ripa Maiale (313 m) is a cliff composed of volcanic ignimbrite and trachyte, which originated in the late Pliocene with the birth of the Tolfa mountains.  Topographically this vertical wall is the deadline Stain Palano close to Allumiere town and we can see the mountain Sassetto (200 m), a small volcanic dome and the medieval town of Civitavecchia (Centumcellae, 854 A.D.).  The area is geologically interesting because of the presence of marine fossils (bivalves such as scallops and oysters) and the Miocene volcanic breccias containing crystals of leucite.  The wall has some natural caves and a perennial source of water, elements that lead to human settlement by the end of    Middle Paleolithic.

Little buttons made in the main cave of the Klitsche de Lagrange Allumiere association of the Allumiere museum, revealed the presence of dozens of stone tools.  All of the stain of Palano was discovered a veritable mine of chipped stones in ancient times synonymous with the presence of a true industry lithic (more than a thousand tools).  The main stone used was chert (sedimentary rock with conchoidal fracture toughness of quartz), a typical stone used throughout the prehistory of the Mediterranean.  The flint Ripa Maiale is easily identifiable by its red color (presence of hematite), while only a minority has the typical yellow-brown (the presence of manganese) flint Italian.  The tools found are of various types of chip and can be divided into: chopper, bipiramidali polyhedral cores, scrapers, denticulate scrapers, Levallois flakes and cores and blades doufour.  Along the cliff have been found in some samples of fragments of quartz diorite and secure import of the absence of such materials on site.  The periods that correspond to the Paleolithic stone tools range from the Mousterian of Acheulean type (35000 B.C.) to Epigravettian (10000 B.C.).

Ripa Maiale was also inhabited during Roman times and the proof is given by the buried ruins of a country house dating back to imperial as well used the nearby source offerings.  This shows us a path that once a road connected this house with that of the Farnesiana and the Hermitage of the Holy Trinity St. Agostino where he lived.  This internal road was used during the Middle Ages, probably for the transport of alum.  Now you see Ripa Maiale along the terraces and dry walls built the aqueduct that brought water from the source to Centumcellae.  The terraces have raised the level of soil covering the natural caves, digging a well executed then you may uncover prehistoric finds interesting.


We would like to add a little critical of the many climbers Ripa Maiale.  The wall is a prehistoric monument of high archaeological value.  Drill a trachyte with electric drills for riveting the entire wall (five lines of climbing) even above the main cave, is an act of vandalism! Currently climbing the local ban was reduced to six months (January to July), as important that during this period leaves the land free livestock (cows, bulls, horses and donkeys). We would like to see your reaction if someone riveted the columns of the Pantheon and the Colosseum.  In addition, the dirt begins to accumulate (bottles, cigarettes and tampax!) And see agencies that are paid to bring people to climb it makes us understand why this ban to give so much trouble.  Also note that the area is private property and at any time the owner can close the gates and send them all away!

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