Neptune's Grotto 0 Comments

Neptune's Grotto

As with any place with magical charm, a legend also orbits around the Neptune Caves: it says that these cavities were the "home" of the Sea God Neptune, hence the name. The Caves are located 166 km and 2 hours by car from the Gabbiano Azzurro Hotel & Suites, located on the north-western side of the Capo Caccia’s promontory, where the coast is rocky overlooking the sea. 

Scholars, examining the traces found inside them belonging to the Neolithic, calculate that they were formed around 2,000,000 years ago. Archaeological finds also indicate that they were used by primitive men.

They cover around 4 km but for safety reasons tourists have only access to part of them. Entrance to the Caves, by land, is possible via the famous "Escala del Cabirol", Roe Deer Stairs, consisting of 654 steps. It is a 400 m long ladder, which climbs in a zigzag pattern just like a roe deer would do when climbing the mountain wall. During the summer months, however, they can be reached by boat, leaving from the port of Alghero.

Inside, as soon as you enter, the walls are shiny with green-blue marble reflections, around there are imposing stalagmites and stalactites aggregations, called the “Holy Water Font”, surrounded by Lake Lamarmora which, in terms of size, is one of the largest internal salt lakes in Europe. A little fresh water is collected in small trays above the aggregations, useful for quenching the thirst of the various species of birds that live in the protected marine area.

A path, created along the side ridge of the cave, allows visitors to reach the different rooms. After a descent, there is the Ruins Room, with large stalactites but ruined by visitors during the 19th century. This is followed by the Room Of The Royal Palace which, thanks to the reflections in the lake, the magnificent nine-metre-high columns create a majestic spectacle.

After this room, the ceiling rises to 18 metres in height, the highest point of the visitable part. A characteristic stalagmite formation called the Christmas Tree stands out on the background of the lake.

Continuing you arrive at the Smith Room, named after one of the first visitors to the cave in the 19th century. Here in the centre, there is the Great Organ, the largest column of the cave, with flows similar to the pipes of an organ. It makes you think of Captain Nemo's organ that he played inside the Nautilus in the depths of the abysses.

Continuing, you reach the Dome, a stalagmitic formation with smooth walls, which resembles the dome of a cathedral. Further on, the ceiling becomes lower and you can admire the small concretions of the Room Of Lace And Frills. The richness of these little wonders of Nature's artisan workshop is incredible and resembles lace, fringes, jewellery inlays, carvings, reliefs and filigree.

The tourist route ends with the Music Tribune, a terrace where from above you can benefit from an overview of the cave. Here, in the past, a small band played on certain occasions and visitors danced on the small beach below.

Visiting the Neptune's Caves in Alghero is one of those things to do at least once in your life, because they are one of the most enchanting natural jewels of the Mediterranean, of great charm and beauty.

“How many feelings in the mineral world. The rock's firmness, the stalactite's persistence, the crystal's transparency, the quartz's triumph.” (Fabrizio Caramagna)


Written by Daniela Toti

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