The Grotta dell’ Arco is a large, shallow cave situated about 240 m above sea level with a height of about 85 feet (26 m).
Behind the majestic Grotta dll’arco, cave of Ferns is a great crevice which opens into the southeastern part of Mount Solaro.
A huge block of rock tends to hide the opening. In the direction of Marina Piccola, a small glimmer look at the open sea.
The Grotto of Ferns dominates the underlying Marina Piccola and represents one of the most important prehistoric sites of the Capri island.
Just some few historical informations.
One of the first studies of the area where made by Ignazio Cerio (physician in Capri for fifteen years with a career also as archeologist).
Situated on the south east coast of the island, the Grotta delle Felci (Grotto of ferns) provides important archaeological evidence of an uninterrupted inhabitation and ritual and religious activities of the site starting from the prehistoric period.
Archaeological excavations have unearthed from the surface level the remains of ancient civilizations stone amulets decorated with magical and religious depictions as well as modern pottery and Roman and Bronze Age ceramics.
Below the surface level, other strata provided material from Bronze Age (1700-1000 BC), while further down Neoolithic (4000-3500 BC) findings were discovered.
Approximately six meters below these last layers, sandy and volcanic strata provided a fauna of cervids and ground mollusks, while clefts in the north west part of the cavern were filled with rich Neolithic tombs.
Grotto of Ferns retained its sacred role for the whole of the prehistoric age as findings also included a large, precious flint dagger from the Aeneolithic age (3500-2300 BC) and richly decorated Bronze Age vases.
Talking now about the walk.
Wear clothes suitable for walking, proper shoes, long socks or long pants so your legs don’t get scratched, and don’t forget a hat, sunscreen, water, and – in June through August – bug repellent.
Avoid bad weather as there is danger of falling rocks.
This is an itinerary that well blends the beauty of the landscape with the historic importance of places.
The walk starts from Due Golfi (just a short walking distance from “la Piazzetta” of Capri).
From Due Golfi turn down Via Provinciale towards Marina Piccola and leave the hospital behind you.
Continue following the carriage road with Monte Solaro by your right side and after approximately 300 meters, pass a s-curve and the charming Villa Il Solitario.
Turn then right into the small road “via Grotta delle Felci”.
This uphill road after a while gets narrower and starts to offer a very unusual glimpses of Marina Piccola bay and the Faraglioni.
The panorama over the Faraglioni is gorgeous so be sure to bring your camera with you.
Walk on the small road until you reach a white gate. Take right on a footh-path poorly (or, I should say NOT at all) maintained and overgrown by weeds .
Pass over the nasturtium field plenty of flowers in spring (the path is completely hidden) and try to guess the route of the path that after a while curves slightly to the right, bend to pass under the vegetation.
The big Grotta dell’Arco is there!
Seagulls have their nest up here and they will clearly show their displeasure for your intrusion screaming and flapping the wings.
As soon as you enter you’ll have a feeling of something magic and mysterious, almost ‘religious’. A feeling that sharpens as you climb up the big grotto’s gravel slope to access the level where going down on the left you will find the Grotta delle Felci.
…. and try to guess why it’s called Grotto of Ferns:
… and if you’re happy with your trip and would like to have a special souvenir please check my Hidden Capri shop online with lots of beautiful postcards, mugs, calendars and Capri gadgets!
“click on the mug image below!!”
GUIDE TO THE ANCIENT MONUMENTS OF THE ISLAND OF CAPRI – available (not always) at the tourist office of Capri – PDF online here: Guide to Capri
Nabil Pulita – Riccardo Esposito: GUIDA AI SENTIERI ED AI PERCORSI NATURALISTICI DI CAPRI ED ANACAPRI – Ed. La Conchiglia – available online here: Edizioni la Conchiglia