La Grotta di Polla

Useful Information

Location: In the town Polla. Follow the main road through town, turn off onto Via del Convento di Sant'antonio, which leeds steep uphill to the monastery of the same name. The cave is located at the first u-turn of the road.
Open: Closed.
Fee: Closed.
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave
Light: n/a, bring torch.
Guided tours:
Photography: allowed
Address: Grotta di Polla, via S. Antonio, 84035 Polla (SA), Tel: +39-0975376111.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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1927 first excavations by Trotta.
1956 and 1958 explored and surveyed by the geologists Prof. Pietro Parenzan and B. Davide.
1964 fisrt excavation by B. D'Agostino.
1971 second excavation by B. D'Agostino.


The Grotta di Polla is simply named after the town where it is located. Being a single huge hall with a wide portal it was always easily accessible to man, and thus it was used since prehistoric times as a shelter. The location above the wide plain was a strategic pro, it was easy to spot quarry or enemies approaching. Archaeological excavations revealed a wealth of stone age remains and as a result the cave is protected as an important archaeological site and closed by an iron bar gate. Fortunately this gate allows a good few into the single room cave and it is possible to see the complete cave. Such a visit has the pros that there are no open hours and no fee.

Obviously a visit into the cave is still better, and there are field trips and excursions into the cave. But there are no regular open hours, so you have to look if you are able to go with such a special event or you can ask at the Municipality of Polla.

The first excavations in the mid 20th century revealed remian from the late Neoloithic to the end of the Iron Age. Recent excavations by a team led by Antonella Minelli from the Universita' di Molise (Molise University) revealed important remains from the Bronze Age. The most important finding was a casket, which is unique. Other finds are human bones from at least five people and pottery shards.

The fact that the remains start so late is easy to explain. During the Pleistocene a lake filled the whole Vallo di Diano, and the cave was the swallow hole, provided the outflow of the water. At this time a visit of the cave was difficult and dangerous, and even if ancient men visited the place, their traces were destroyed by the water.