La Grotta di Stiffe

Useful Information

Location: A24 Rome-Terrano, exit L'Aquila Ovest, S.S.17 to Pescara. At S. Demetrio nei Vestini turn right to S. Demetrio nei Vestini and Stiffe. Well signposted from Autostrada. 18 km from L'Aquila, 120 km from Rome.
(42.254556, 13.541265)
Open: All year daily 10-13, 15-18.
Fee: Adults ITL 13,000, Children (6-10) ITL 10,000.
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave Speleologyriver cave.
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension: T=10 °C
Guided tours: L=650 m, VR=30 m, D=50 min.
Address: Progetto Stiffe S.p.A., Via del Mulino n. 2 Fraz. Stiffe, 67028 San Demetrio nei Vestini AQ, Tel: +39-0862-86100 (cave entrance) or +39-0862-86142 (reservations), Fax: +39-0862-86111 E-mail: contact
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.


1980s first plans to develop the cave.
SEP-1990 inaugurated.
1991 opened to the public.
1996 speleological museum A. Rivera opened.


La Grotta di Stiffe was known to the locals for a very long time as Stiffe's Risorgenza (Stiffe's Spring). The cave is a river cave, a cave river leaves the Abruzzo mountains through the cave's entrance. The cave entrance lies below a 100 m high overhanging rock face, the impressive view goes from Gran Sasso's mountain range to the L'Aquila valley.

The development of this cave took about 10 years, as floods made working conditions extremely difficult. Additional surveys an laboratory tests resulted in strengthening works with riveted joints and cement injections.

The first part of the cave is an underground river, the path always just a few meters above the river, sometimes crossing the river on metal bridges.

In the Chamber of Silence, the water flows in a deeper level of the cave most of the year. Only when the amount of water rises, the old river bed is still used. The missing water makes this chamber so silent.

An 18 meters high cascade gave the Cascade Chamber its name. The cave explorers had to climb this wall, todays visitors follow an artificial tunnel to reach the higher level of the cave.

The last part of the cave shows several unusual formations, following the river to a last cascade, where the path ends.

The cave is not closed in the winter months, as other tourist caves are. The river has more water and the cascades are most impressive in autumn and spring. And in winter the cave shows a Nativity Scene, showing the story of the birth of Jesus.