Grotta di Ciccio Felice

Useful Information

Location: 67051 Avezzano, Province of L'Aquila.
(41.99250465439154, 13.428239943353828)
Open: no restrictions.
Fee: free.
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave
Light: bring torch
Dimension: L=10 m, W=23 m, H=2-4 m.
Guided tours: self guided
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography: Tomaso Di Fraia (2011): Prima della Grotta Di Ciccio Felice: il sito rupestre delle Pastine (Civitaluparella) e il rito dell’incubatio, Conference: In Il Fucino e le aree limitrofe nell’antichità, Atti del III Convegno di Archeologia, Avezzano 13-15 novembre 2009: 168-182. Italiano - Italian
Address: Grotta di Ciccio Felice, 67051 Avezzano, Province of L'Aquila.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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1944 used as air raid shelter by the locals.
1949 first excavation by the superintendent of the National Prehistoric Ethnographic Museum Luigi Pigorini and the archaeologist Pietro Barocelli.
1956 Afra cave discovered nearby.


The Grotta di Ciccio Felice (Cave of Ciccio Felice) is a shelter located at the eastern side of Mount Salviano in the municipality of Avezzano. It is located only 650 m northwest of the more famous Cunicoli di Claudio. The shelter is an erosional cave, a littoral cave created by the waves of the now drained Lake Fucino. It is not signposted and difficult to find, it's also difficult to reach from Via Antonio Pacimotti, as the properties in front are private and fenced.

The shelter is up to 10 m long and 23 m wide, the ceiling is between 2 m and 4 m high, and it also has a smaller inner chamber. The cave was inhabited since prehistoric times and was excavated during the 1950s, which laso led to a small shelter nearby named Afra cave. The main artifacts were flintstone tools and the remains of a lithic industry. Also, some pottery and fire places were excavated.

The cave was used as a sanctuary between 7th and 1st century BC, mostly for local divinities, in particular the goddess Angizia. After the Romanization it was abandoned, but during the Middle Ages it housed a cave church dedicated to San Felice. At the end of World War II it was used as an air raid shelter by the locals. After the war it was excavated several times during the 1950s and the results published.

It is unknown how the cave was named but there are two theories. On states that it was named after the 14th century local administrator Giovanni Di Ciccio, the other that it was named after Francesco Felice Nanni who once owned the site. Giovanni Di Ciccio was responsible that the locality of Penna was confirmed to the territory of Avezzano in 1372 after a dispute with Luco dei Marsi. There was a small rock church dedicated to the Saint Felice in the cave at that time, so the locals called the cave grotta Ciccio a San Felice (Ciccio cave in San Felice).