Capri – The Grotta dell’Arco and Grotta delle Felci (Grotto of Ferns).

View over the Mermaids rock and the Grotto of Arc from via Occhiomarino

View over the Mermaids rock and the Grotto of Arc from via Occhiomarino

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). 

Grotta delle Felci - Grotto of Ferns - the slit

Grotta delle Felci – Grotto of Ferns – the slit

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.

Map taken from "Guida ai sentieri ed ai percorsi naturalistici di Capri ed Anacapri" - Ed. La Conchiglia

Picture taken from “Guida ai sentieri ed ai percorsi naturalistici di Capri ed Anacapri” – Ed. La Conchiglia

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.

View over the Mermaids rock (Marina Piccola)

View over the Mermaids rock (Marina Piccola)

The panorama over the Faraglioni is gorgeous so be sure to bring your camera with you.

View over the Faraglioni from the path to grotta delle Felci

View over the Faraglioni from the path to grotta delle Felci

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 .

The foot-path

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.

Nasturtium

Nasturtium

The big Grotta dell’Arco is there!

Capri: Grotta delle Felci - Grotto of Ferns

Capri: Grotta delle Felci – Grotto of Ferns

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:

Grotta delle Felci - Grotto of Ferns - Maidenhair ferns: Adiantum capillus veneris

Grotta delle Felci – Grotto of Ferns – Maidenhair ferns: Adiantum capillus veneris

… 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!!”

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Bibliography:

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

 

 

 

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3 Comments

Filed under Hiking paths in Capri, Walking around

3 Responses to Capri – The Grotta dell’Arco and Grotta delle Felci (Grotto of Ferns).

  1. Jacqueline

    Hi there!

    This trail looks beautiful! I was wondering if you could give an estimate of roughly how long this would take to walk?

    Thank you :)

    • admin

      Hi Jacqueline, thank you for passing by.

      I would say that it takes, starting from “Due Golfi”, approximately between one and a half and two hours depending on how often you stop to take pictures :-)
      As I always recommend being that a dirt path uses always proper footwear. No children unless they are really used to walk in rough paths. Do not underestimate the difficulty of the path and do not venture out after days of rain.
      I will post very soon a new article about a recently reopened path: il “sentiero dei cacciatori” … came back!

      Thanks!

      • Jacqueline

        My sister and I probably will stop to take a lot of pictures haha! I’ll be going to Capri mid-July and I cannot wait to visit!

        I definitely will and I look forward to reading your new post :)

        Thank you!

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