Passions & Places

Caves & Gorges

Natural caves and spectacular gorges

Le Marche are a charming territory, offering wonderful views, at times unexpected, set between the mounts and the sea. Tourists often come across bold rocks, moulded by waters and time, projecting towards fast streams. Visitors may also admire the many caves set in the depths of the earth.

The calcareous morphology of the Marches’ territory led to the formation of natural caves and spectacular gorges, often surrounded by mysterious and ancient legends.

One example is the story of the Sant’Eustachio caves, which may be reached through the Sant’Eustachio gorge, near San Severino. According to the legend, a hermit hid a treasure in the Mounts Mambrica, demoniac forces protect the treasure.

The vast and profound Frasassi Caves (natural monuments that are known worldwide) are marked by the many sculptures, stalactites and stalagmites, and may be reached through another natural wonder, the Gola della Rossa. The Frasassi Caves also hide legends, such as the Cave of Infinity (the view of the so-called Angel’s Hair is unforgettable. It is made of thin calcareous concretions hanging from the vaults and reflecting into waters). This cave is also known as the Cave of the Goat. The name stems from the animal into which a girl was turned. Her beloved was also transformed into a goat by witchcraft, and according to the legend still controls the caves’ entrance in the form of a stone.

The enchanting atmosphere is contained in the very essence of such rocky sculptures, suffice it to think of the Gola del Furlo – a deep canyon in which a remote geological past may be tracked. Another example is the Giants’ Kettles, glacial wells full of water from the Candigliano river. The least-renowned caves include the profound Cave of Nero, and the Cave of the Five Lakes, both situated under the Mount Nerone, close to Piobbico, as well as the caves of Monte Cucco, close to the border with the Umbria region.

The names of such places evoke the mystery of these caves, starting from the gorges of Rio Garrafo (close to Acquasanta Terme), to the Buca del Diavolo (the Devil’s hole, close to the Mount Catria), to the rocky Infernaccio gorge (close to Montefortino).

An exception to these dull names is the charming Hall of the Candles of the Frasassi Caves. With its unparalleled colours and shapes and its crystal clear small lake, full of bright calcareous stalks, it shows nature’s generosity. Over the millennia, nature has managed to create perfect and sublime works.

Men cannot but feel very small before such natural wonders; all they can do is stand in amazement of such unforgettable splendour.


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