of Amalfi Coast’s most popular tourist destinations is the Emerald
Grotto. It is known for its natural “fireworks display”
caused by light reflecting off its stalactites, and the jewel-like
sheen of its green waters. The experience is breathtaking, and is
well worth the extra effort you will need to take to charter a boat.
In fact, some would argue that the Emerald Grotto is the jewel of
the Amalfi Coast, a high honour granted to a region already famous
for its spectacular beauty.
Grotto (also called Grotta di Smeraldo) is located in Concai dei
Marini, a lovely bay about five kilometres (or 3 miles) west of
Amalfi. It was once a dry grotto, but earthquakes (both on land,
and on the ocean floor) and the shifting of the currents led to
its invasion by sea. It was hidden for centuries until its discovery
in 1932, and has since become one of the most famous caves of Italy.
The cavern itself has an area of about 30 x 60
metres. At its highest point, its ceiling riches as high as 24 metres.
From these heights hang Nature’s own “chandeliers”:
numerous stalactites, thin and delicate, catching the light. But
the most unusual rock formations are the stalagmites, which seem
to emerge from the sea, twisting upwards towards the ceiling. Some
are over 10 metres high, and are so wide that it is impossible to
encircle them with your arms. Beneath the water, covered by about
four metres of water, is the original ceramic bed.
The Emerald Grotto’s key feature is its
exquisitely brilliant blue and green waters, which were in fact
the inspiration for its name. The colours of the water, reflecting
of the ceilings and floors, cast a mysterious and almost holy glow
on the walls of the cavern. Certainly, Emerald Grotto is the type
of travel destination that does not just transport you to another
place, but to another world.
One of the difficulties of travelling to
the Emerald Grotto is the need to secure additional transportation.
You will also need to pray for good weather; on a stormy day, it
almost impossible for the small boats to approach the mouth of the
caverns without the risk of being slammed against the rocks and
dashed to bits. But on a clear and calm day, the boat ride itself
is an experience, especially when you look back and see the view
of the Amalfi coastline from the unique perspective from the sea.
Concai dei Marini
Cost of Entry:
There are no entrance fees but you will have to charter a boat.
Prices vary according to the number of people and whether or not
the cavern is located in a tour of the coastline. The average price
of the boat ride is 5€.
Daily from 9am – 4pm. However, tours may be cancelled in the
event of bad weather.