Grotte di Stiffe & Rocca Calascio

Grotte di Stiffe & Rocca Calascio

This past weekend, the majority of our students were away on an optional trip to Elba. Therefore, we planned educational activities for the students who remained in Lanciano.

On Friday morning, we headed to the Grotte di Stiffe. These caves are located near the city of L’Aquila. The cave system was formed by a subterranean river that has been flowing for thousands of years. Only recently have the caves been open to the public. On its own, the ride to the entrance was worthwhile, as it was such a beautiful day.

After strapping on our safety helmets, our guide gave us a tour of the cave system, which is 6 km long (700 m is open for tours). We learned about the geology of the area, and of the formation of stalactites and stalagmites, as we entered deeper into the earth. Perhaps most impressive, were the waterfalls, reaching more than 30 m in height. 

In the afternoon, we traveled to Rocca Calascio where we hiked up to its ruins. The fortress was built in the 10th century and has the highest elevation of any fortress in the Apennines. Because of its remote location, it was never attacked.

Along the ridge is an octagonal church, Santa Maria della Pietà. These unique structures, with their seemingly impossible location, have become iconic symbols of Abruzzo.