Camerano Caves - Underground city
Le Grotte di
Camerano - Città sotterranea
Town of Camerano
“There’s more of Camerano below the ground than there is above.”
A simple flight of stairs catapults you into an inverted world, a reflected
image of the town above made up of chambers, churches, quarries and cisterns.
A labyrinth of tunnels, hollowed out entirely by man over the centuries, was
created more than two thousand years ago for defensive purposes and then
enlarged for the collection of water and the creation of spaces for worship and
It’s impossible to give an exact date to the foundation of this underground
city, but one presumes that it arose with the first settlements of Piceni tribe
and that it developed at the same time as the town into the well-structured,
labyrinthine pathway that you pass along today.
After an hour and a half, more than a kilometre of tunnels and the exploration
of three overlapping floors of chambers and tunnels, you will have a clear sense
of the saying that goes: “there’s more of Camerano below the ground than there
Nonetheless, the grottoes actually eluded the attention of historians for a
great deal of time, partly because of the absence of documentary sources, and
for a long time they were retained as simple sandstone quarries or cellars. Upon
entering, however, it will become immediately clear that they spaces were not
simply used as storerooms or shelters.
Some of Camerano’s residents bear witness to when, in 1944, the caves revealed
themselves as a precious resource for the inhabitants, who poured underground
for nearly twenty days to escape bombings during the Second World War, living
down there in the inverted world. More than forty years later, in 1998, the
first grotto opened to the public, and in June 2008 the new path was
The grottoes will astonish you because of the presence of the unforeseen vast
and elegant circular chambers with domes and ribbed vaults, all of which have
been adorned with architectural details and bas-reliefs, and made even more
evocative and mysterious thanks to the trefoil crosses, crosses pattée and other
ornamental, symbolic motifs.
Some experts explain that the prayer rooms were used by friars and then
reused for free massons ceremonies.
But the interest and amazement that these rooms arouse in visitors is a given,
and although the caves still remain mysterious in many respects, it’s no longer
a secret that a visit to the Conero coast must absolutely include a visit to the
underground city of Camerano.
Via Maratti 37
Tel./Fax +39 071 7304018
Proloco Carlo Maratti
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