I discovered Grotte de Stiffe from the Facebook page Paesaggi d’Abruzzo when they posted an incredible image from Lisa Cipollone about it. I instantly went to look up how far it was from me in Montefino and if I could go see it. Upon discovering it was just an hour and a half away, a bit of trek but doable, Sean and I decided to go. A week later I found myself getting in the car, playlist ready, and my GoPro Hero 5 charged.
When we got there after a very scenic drive including driving in possibly the longest tunnel I have ever had to drive in (seriously, it took 10 minutes as we drove directly through a MOUNTAIN ) we discovered that there was no one and I mean no one there. We parked and I joked that this was how low-budget horror films start but we got out and that is when you hear it. The sound of running water and a lot of it. I walked towards the barrier and you could see a massive waterfall. It’s surrounded by trees and rock coming from a mountain and I just hadn’t excepted it. I honestly spent a few minutes just listening and enjoying the view.
Now in typical me fashion, we got there a bit early before they re-opened after siesta and after about 10 minutes of no one showing up, we didn’t know what to do… We drove all this way and I wanted to go in. Luckily Sean had the bright idea of calling the number on the website and there was an answer! We were told that the ticket office was in town and not actually onsite. So back in the car, and down the mountain we went and sure enough, we saw not one, not two but three signs talking about tickets before going up and where… Our bad!
Fast-forward to about 40 minutes later with tickets in hand and our guide we started our tour. Just one minor thing, our guide didn’t speak any English, she just ended up walking with us. As much as I would have LOVED to learn all about the history of the grotto, I was just as happy to go in and see it in person. So be warned, I would maybe either call ahead and request an English guide or if you’re like us and just want to see this beauty all you need to do is show up but make sure to head to the town (you’ll see the signs, trust me) to get your tickets and they do take siesta hours here.
When you enter the Grotte you go over the top of the waterfall you see from where you park. It is loud and the water is fast. It’s fantastic. Sadly, I have no pictures or video from inside as you are not allowed but to be honest, I’m not sure anything I took would have truly justified how surprisingly incredible Grotte de Stiffe was. Sean told me it did have a 4.6 rating on TripAdvisor and I totally got why.
This grotte was massive. There was running water throughout and it was a mixture of rock and stalagmites and lots of bats. I had two “wow” moments whilst being in there and I don’t want to give too much away because honestly not knowing what to expect and walking into this one particular section made me so happy. I stayed there just looking at this incredible thing created by nature and felt so lucky to be there. I don’t want to take that moment away from anyone who does happen to go there because it made it so memorable. I will say this, you might want to wear a rain jacket when you go and not your light-weight wool coat from Cynthia Rowley jacket. If you do want to hear more about it feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will gladly share all the little details.
Time: About 40 minutes of walking up and back. When you are on tour it’s 50 minutes to an hour.
Ease: I was initially worried about it being narrow and feeling massively uncomfortable in a tight space but that was not an issue. It is fairly flat and level going up. There is one section where you go up some steep stairs. You don’t need to be in the best physical shape to do it plus if you do need a little break trust me, the view is not bad.
Price: 10 Euro Entry
Gear Needed: No pictures or video allowed inside, sneakers and a light jacket/sweater as it is a bit chilly in there and a rain jacket if you don’t like a little mist.
Level of Memorable: 8/10
You can visit the website here but you will need to translate the page as there is no English option.