The caves of Castelcivita – a marvellous underground world

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This brief text is a schematic summary of “Le Grotte di Castelcivita: benvenuti nel meraviglioso mondo sotterraneo”, that was published on our website on December 5, 2013. The article is about one of the biggest speleological areas in southern Italy: the Caves of Castelcivita, a cave complex in the province of Salerno.
The author of the original article is journalist and teacher Ernesto Farsetti.


Located at an altitude of 94 meters (308.3989501 feet) above sea level, this amazing Speleological area consists of galleries, bottlenecks, narrow passageways and caverns. It is situated in Castelcivita, a striking town near Salerno.


A legend says that in 71 B. C. Thracian gladiator Spartacus, the leader of the slave revolt against the Roman Republic (known as the Third Servile War), took shelter inside the Speleological Complex; for such a reason, the Caves are also called “Spartacus Caves” even though the above-mentioned anecdote was never verified.
Scholars are sure the caves were inhabited by Paleolithic Man as in 1972 a team of speleologists found stone objects and remains dating back to about 40.000 years ago.
The very first attempt at exploring the caves dates back to the 19th century; in fact, on February 7 1889, Ferrara brothers, two brave guys from Controne (a small village near Castelcivita), attempted to explore the caves without succeeding.
The very first successful exploration was carried out by a group of speleologists in the 1920s; the expedition was led by Italian pharmacist Nicola Zonzi (1901 – 1937).


The Caves offer an impressive “display” of stalactites and stalagmites, two different types of rock formation. The itinerary is 1200 meters (3937.007874 feet) long and leads visitors through several enchanting areas, such as “Caverna Bertarelli”, ”Viale del Tempio” and “Terrazza degli Anelli”. In the caves you can also find a “cave hall” named “Sala Principe di Piemonte” in honor of Prince Umberto of Savoy, who visited the caves in 1932. The last “station” of the itinerary is a large reservoir called “Lago Terminale”.

The Caves of Castelcivita are used as a location for several events, such as performances and gastronomic festivals.

The Source Text is available at the following URL:

Matteo Autuori