Anne's Blog

Going Underground in Camerano

Date: July 30, 2012 - categories: , , - Leave your thoughts

Camerano, hilltown near the Adriatic in Le Marche

Ah, Italy “the land of the endless discoveries.” One never finishes discovering the wonders “above ground” – let alone underground! And sometimes, serendipity leads you to yet another discovery.

Gray weather at the seaside last weekend prompted us to head out for some exploration. What wonders we found in a seemingly nondescript Adriatic seaside town, Camerano, whose very name is linked to its suprising labyrinthine maze of subterranean grottoes and tunnels, used by its first inhabitants, the Piceni, in the 9th-c. B.C., our guide, Daniele told us.

“Camerone” derives from the Latin and means “underground vaulted space”, Daniele told us at the start of our tour, aptly called. “Le Grotte di Camerano, la memoria del sottosuolo” (“The Grottoes of Camerano, remembrances of the underground” or literally, “undersoil”).

Ribbed vault with sun and the moon in the center

With Daniele and a handful of other adventurers, we spent a fascinating hour exploring about a kilometer of the two kilometers of underground grottoes and tunnels, carved into sandstone.

Daniele pointed out to us finely-rounded domes, barrel vaults, carved ribbed vaults converging on a mysterious sun/moon symbol, circular halls, ornate friezes, curious religious symbols and exquisitely- carved columns.

Our meanders in the underground labyrinth took us to a 17th-c. cistern, a medieval prison, a vaulted medieval church complete with apse and crypt, a 17th-c. private family chapel with black alabaster altar, and a secret initiation grotto for Masonics.

In 1944, all three thousand Cameranesi hid in the sandstone sotterranei – each family occupying a niche in the underground tunnels – for eighteen days as the British and Germans battled above.

Vaulted medieval church fascinates visitors to the Camerano underground

The most recent use of the Camerano underground? Not quite: Daniele told us that the largest vaulted room of the underground had been used as a discoteque some years ago! “But the local teens were very respectful of this ancient space, leaving no signs.”

Since 2008, le Grotte di Camerano have been opened for guided visits, disco now closed.

The labyrinthine grottoes and tunnels are silent now except for the subdued voices of guides with small groups of fascinated visitors.

Read about another Marches favorite

Click here to read why we love Sirolo, near Camerano
Read about a favorite Sirolo spot

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Privacy Policy

Privacy Italian Legislative Decree n° 196/2003 Under Article 13 of the Italian Legislative Decree no. 196/2003, regulations with regard to the Protection of Personal Data, this is an informative report to all interested parties on the modality of the treatment of personal data, arising from interaction with our website
THE PRINCIPAL FOR DATA TREATMENT During site consultation, personal data referring to identified or identifiable persons can be processed. The principal for data treatment is Anne Robichaud Pian della Pieve Assisi 06081 (PG) Italy. The data will be mainly processed at the mentioned head office by the people responsible for the website or by other people appointed for occasional maintenance operations, provided that their actions conform to of the guarantees enshrined in the Legislative Decree 196/2003.
Web navigation The information systems and software procedures required for the functioning of this website, acquire some personal data during their normal service, the transmission of which is implicit in the use of web communication protocols. This information is not collected with the purpose of identifying interested parties, but due to its very nature, the information could lead to user identification through processes and relations with data held by third parties. In this data category there are IP addresses or domain names belonging to computers used by users who connect to the site, addresses with URI (Uniform Resource Identifier) notification of the requested resources, time of the request, used method in submitting the request to the server, dimension of the file obtained in replying, the numeric code mentioning the reply status given by the server (successful reply, error, etc?) and other parameters referred to the operation system and to the user’s information environment. This data is used with the sole purpose of obtaining anonymous statistical information on the use of the site and to check the correct functioning; immediately after processing, the data is erased.
Data voluntarily supplied by the user The voluntary optional and explicit e-mail transmission to the addresses mentioned in this site implies the subsequent acquisition of the sender’s address, necessary to reply to the queries, as well as the other eventual personal data registered in the message.
OPTIONAL PERSONAL DATA SUPPLY Except for the above mentioned navigation data, the user may be asked to supply his own personal data through queries or messages to the email addresses shown in the contact pages. Failure to provide such data may be the cause of the inability to obtain the requested information from the company.
TREATMENT MODALITY The personal data is treated in compliance with the Legislative Decree no. 196/2003 and held only for the time necessary to achieve the aim for which it has been collected. Specific safety measures are taken to prevent any data loss, illicit or incorrect use and unauthorized access.
RIGHTS OF THIRD PARTIES The data subjects are at any time entitled to obtain confirmation as to whether or not data relating to him are held, to know the contents and the origin, to check the correctness, to ask for integration, updating or change (art. 7 Decree Law 196:June 2003). In accordance with the same article, they are entitled to obtain the erasure, conversion into anonymous form or freezing of all data used in breach of the law, to object, on legitimate grounds, to the processing of data relating to him. All requests have to be transmitted to the e-mail address

Agenzia Viaggi Stoppini in Assisi handles all technical support for my guided visits (bus transportation, organization of meals, etc)