Passions & Places

Camerano Caves - underground city

Camerano Caves - Underground city
Le Grotte di Camerano - Città sotterranea

Town of Camerano

Le Marche

“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 meetings.

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 is above.”

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 inaugurated.

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.

Ufficio IAT
Tourist office
Via Maratti 37
60021 Camerano
Tel./Fax +39 071 7304018



Thanks to:

Proloco Carlo Maratti

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