First things first, it is very important to make sure you pick a clear day to head up to the Grotte del Cavallone. The caves are situated at 1475m above sea level on the eastern side of the Majella Mountain outside the pretty little town of Lama dei Peligni. The drive up there is very special, spectacular views and scenery and passing through quaint little hillside villages. It does take a little while to wind your way up there, but I assure you, you will not get bored!
We arrived into the carpark, which is located in the middle of two beautiful rock formations with another jaw dropping view across hills and forests. We then headed up to the cable car were we purchased our tickets using our “Sangro Aventino Card” which gave us a €5 discount per person (so €15pp). The cable cars themselves were more like hanging bird cages but non the less the
20minute journey was filled by taking photographs of the beautiful scenery around us. You travel up the gorge between the two spectacular rock formations. Once at the top, and you successful manage to exit the swinging cage, you can either start to make you way up to the cave entrance or head to the restaurant located just below the cable car station.
We headed straight up towards the cave entrance, taking the 5/10minute path along and then the 306 steps (yup thats right!!) up to the cave opening. After finally making it to the top, after multiple photo stops, we were greeted by the magnificent opening to the caves. Within the entrance it is possible to see the first signs of visitors through the engravings left in the 17th century. The tour takes 1hour and quarter and whilst inside of the caves it remain at a constant 10℃ throughout the year so it is definitely recommend to dress appropriately with good footwear. During World War 2 the local people actually inhabited the caves to flee from the troubles in their own towns.
We began on our journey to become immersed into the underground world of the Majella and it was spectacular! They were so beautiful and inspiring, they were much larger than we had imagined. The formations were quite something, there was a large formation that had fallen (long before we got there, thank goodness!!) due to an earthquake and it had been given the name of the Tower of Pisa, the similarities were definitely there! We were fortunate to have an English speaking guide, but you are able to contact them before you go to make sure someone is available or they do offer handouts. The caves go back 750m into the mountain and there is so much to see that you don’t need to go any further! There is a path through the caves which you follow along through the 3 main chambers all filled with stalactites, stalagmites and crystals.
It really was worth the adventure to get there, they were exceptional. The caves were a truly magical experience from start to finish! And the views outside the caves are just as spectacular. A highly recommended trip out! And while you are in the cable car take a good look (and with lots of imagination!) you will see that the entrance to the cave looks like the eye in the rock formation which in itself looks like that of a horses head.