Goethe was a man of many talents. These included an extensive knowledge of Botany, Science and Geology. He was a keen observer of the landscape through which he was passing and his insights are recorded in his writings. He knew instinctively that these mountains were of limestone and had been eroded into their current appearance by the action of water.
"It is probably a limestone mountain of the same formation as the Apennines and it is only the streams tearing through it that have formed out of it hills and rocks, which, with their overhanging ledges and other marked features of the landscape, furnish most glorious objects for the painter."
Citta Castellana, October 28th 1786