The Stiffe Caves of Abruzzo
If you are thinking of buying property in Abruzzo, Italy, or have already done so, you will know of this beautiful region’s boundless attractions.
Property in Abruzzo is among the cheapest in all Italy, with prices frequently a fraction of those elsewhere in the country.
But as well as its property Abruzzo is famed for its National Park and the rugged, spectacular beauty of its hilly and mountainous landscape. One of its principal attractions is the Stiffe Caves, one of the best-known phenomena in all of Italy.
The caves are near San Demetrio ne’ Vestini, immersed in the lush green of the Sirente-Velino Park. You leave behind the heat of the Abruzzo summer and find yourself entombed in the grand cavern. For nearly a third of a mile you follow the underground river and begin a journey down millennia past.
The cave is alive yet still developing. In the intriguing half-light, this wonder of nature reveals its wonderful secrets: the way in which it has been shaped and moulded by water over thousands of years.
One’s eyes are drawn to every minute detail, even those merely hinted at in the unknown darkness. The gaze lingers on the foamy surf of the waterfall that whispers a sweet, incomprehensible melody.
In winter the cave offers a warming shelter against the chilly Abruzzo temperatures outside. At such times the river offers an even more amazing spectacle, if that were possible, a kaleidoscope of extraordinary sound and vision, at once tumultuous, impetuous and wild.
The torrent of water leaps along the rocky crags and through the heart of the cavern, shattering the calm that might otherwise exist here in the Stiffe Caves.
In 2007 the visitors’ walkway was extended, allowing tourists to visit a second, previously unreachable waterfall. As ever, the most beautiful secrets of nature are the hidden ones that must be uncovered. In this case, it is the wall on the right of the cavern here, a fusion of three colours that runs all the way down to the lake below.
At the end of your walk, the finale: the river leads out of the gloom and ends in a marvellous 20m main waterfall.
Over the Christmas period, the Stiffe caves complex is, in common with thousands of tourist attractions across Abruzzo and the rest of Italy, decked out in Christmas presepi nativity scenes.
In this atmosphere, made even more magical by the river, ancient Biblical tales are magically brought to life, such as the birth in a manger and the visit of the three wise men.
The scenes, seamlessly integrated with the natural wonder of the Stiffe caves, recreate the historic events in truly unforgettable fashion, allowing visitors to relive a moment of serene spirituality.
Once you wrench yourself away from this magnificent underground cave of delights, there is plenty to discover above ground as well. Abruzzo boasts a wealth of historic and natural delights, rich in castles, majestic mountains, woods, fortified hamlets, abbeys and archaeological treasures. All serving as further reminders of the attractions of owning a property in Abruzzo.
Visitors to this part of Abruzzo can enjoy the Stiffe caves, the adjoining museum and the vast trekking opportunities around here. Additionally, the complex also offers a cafe, picnic area, kids’ playground, spot for camper vans and shops selling souvenirs and products typical of Abruzzo.
The caves are open daily, from 10am-1pm and from 3pm-6pm. Phone 0039 0862 86 142 or visit www.grottestiffe.it