The Castelcivita Caves consist of a main branch and numerous lateral branches and tunnels that identify an upper and a lower level as compared with the central branch. Based on the morphological characteristics, the entire itinerary can be divided into three sectors. The tourist stretch is the first of the three routes, is 1200 meters long and extends from the entrance to the Bertarelli Cavern. Following this path, you will cross the beautiful Castle Room, rich in concretions; the Crocodile Room, decorated with imaginative limestone formations that describe a fairytale setting; the Waterfall of Colors, characterized by white, green, yellow, and gray flows; the Throne Room, a wonderful throne-shaped stalagmite located in a cavern on the first level; the Vegetable Room, a set of small concretions in the shape of various types of vegetables; the Mushrooms Hall with small, very white concretions of pure calcite and an amazing waterfall rich in iron oxide that takes the form of bizarre slices of ham hanging on the wall; finally the Bertarelli Cavern, a vast sub-circular space with a diameter of over forty meters. In the center of the hall, a yellowish column rises from the floor to elegantly match the vault, forming a sort of splendid pillar, while the vault is completely decorated with a myriad of pointed stalagmites. A beautiful landscape stands on the right of the room. It is called the crib. Meanwhile, on the left side, there is a large parallel branch adorned with a stalagmite in the shape of an oriental temple. This is called “The Pagoda” and it is the tourist symbol of the caves. The branch leads into a very rich hall that overlooks the main gallery from a height of about ten meters.
At the gates of the Cilento and Vallo di Diano National Park, in the province of Salerno, the Castelcivita Caves constitute, with a total of about 4800 m in length, one of the largest speleological complexes in southern Italy. The system of underground cavities opens at 94 m of altitude, between the banks of the Calore River and the south-western side of the Alburni mountains, immediately showing a suggestive scenario of tunnels, wide spaces, and bottlenecks dug by the prolonged action of karst erosion. The Castelcivita Caves develop along a single main branch from which, in several points, short secondary branches unfold. The underground system is divided into three paths. This subdivision allows passing from a tourist route to an off-trail route which, through spectacular concreted environments, adorned with imposing and eccentric limestone formations, leads to a large reservoir called “Siphon Lake”. Then it gives space to the third route, dedicated to only speleologists, where the cave ends with another lake called “Terminal Lake”. After numerous speleological explorations – already documented from the end of the nineteenth century – in 1972 the Castelcivita Caves acquired considerable paleontological importance thanks to the location of interesting archaeological deposits at the entrance to the cavity. From the analysis of the findings recovered – i.e. stone tools and fossil remains – it was possible to ascertain a human presence on the site dating back to about forty thousand years ago.
The charm of the testimonies relating to the habits of life of prehistoric man and the suggestion of extraordinary naturalistic and geomorphological phenomena create the enchantment of a still active surreal underground landscape inside the Castelcivita Caves, in which the interesting dripping of the vaults continues to form stalactites and stalagmites, accompanying the path of many visitors throughout the year.
4800 meters, of which 1200 equipped for tourism
18 °C – 64.4 °F
Piazzale Nicola Zonzi
84020 Castelcivita SA
+39 0828 772397
+39 339 2222809