Grotta di Maratea

Grotta di Marina di Maratea - Grotta delle Meraviglie

Useful Information

Location: At Marina di Maratea.
A3 (E45) Salerno-Reggio Calabria exit SS585 or Lagonegro, south on SS585 to Castrocucco, exit Castrocucco. On SS16 coast road north towards Maratea/Marina di Maratea. After 5 km at the road, signposted. (39°57'23.30"N, 15°44'16.97"E)
Open: Summer daily 9-13, 15:30-19:30. [2004]
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension: L=65 m, W=11 m, H=23 m A=76 m asl., T=15-18 °C, H=95%.
Guided tours: L=65 m, W=11 m, H=23 m, D=20 min.
Address: Cooperativa Mar-Ar-Ethea S r l, via San Nicola, San Giuseppe, 85046 Maratea (PZ), Tel: +39-0973-876393.
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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1929 discovered by road workers who were building Highway 19 from Calabrie.


The Grotta delle Meraviglie or The Cave of Wonders, is situated in the village of Maratea, which is near San Giuseppe on the slopes of Monte La Serra in the Vallone della Mantenia. By car, take the State Highway No 19 from Calabrie. From Praia take the road to the coast, after approximately 6 kilometers follow the signposts to the cave.

The cave was formed along a fissure in the cliff and has been developed in the Lower Chalk Limestones (Cretaceo Inferiore) of the Giagola and Gada mountains. The soft limestones has produced some very fine speleothems.

The Grotta delle Meraviglie and the adjacent Grotta di Marina di Maratea were discovered in 1929 by road workers who were building Highway 19 from Calabrie. The laborors were amazed at the wealth of concretion and immediately informed the authorities. They immediately closed the cave to safeguard the speleothems. Soon work was underway to open up the cave to the public.

Dr Franco Anelli, the Director of the Postojna Caves, first coined the name Grotta delle Meraviglie or The Cave of the Wonders. The cave begins with an artificial passage 6 m long which passes under the road. The cave consists of one large chamber 65 m long and 20 m wide and up to 8 m in height with a sweeping pathway leading into the depths, with an amazing wealth of speleothems including some very unusual helictites.

Text by Tony Oldham (2004). With kind permission.

Grotta delle Meraviglie (Cave of Wonders) is such a frequent and common name, the cave is now generally advertised and signposted as Grotta di Maratea. Located underneath the coast road SS18, the construction of which was responsible for its discovery, resulted in a rather strange entrance situation. The coast in this area is mostly very steep, often there are vertical cliffs connected by narrow beaches, which invite to bath. This road farther to the north is built through such a vertical cliff and really breathtaking. Here, at the cave the coast is not vertical but steep. The road has no broad shoulders and ther is no real parking lot, so if you have found the cave its a little tricky to find a spot where to park the car. However, if you solved this problem, the cave visit is pretty pleasant. From the road a circular path was built so you may choose freely if you want to go down the left bnow or the right bow of this cirle. While going down you have a view to the west on the Mediterranean Sea, which is simply breathtaking. Definitely a cave with a view!

The cave entrance is an old wooden door right below the road, leading under the road actually. Whihle they built the road they dug a ditch and covered the walls with concrete, then they built the road on top of it. So today there is a long tunnel which crosses the road underground until it reaches the cave.

The cave is really tiny. Definitely one of the smallest show caves on earth. Just a single chamber, which is actually crowded with speleothems. The temperature is very high, so do not wear more than a T-shirt, an advice we give really seldom.