Gole del Garrafo

Useful Information

Location: 63095 Acquasanta Terme AP.
At the last building of Acquasanta Terme towards Pescara del Tronto, right before the bridge turn left on road to Matera. Below the bridge turn left on single-lane gravel road. After 800 m, almost at the end of the road, the trail starts. It's easier to park below the bridge and start the walk here.
(42.7599573, 13.4070033)
Open: no restrictions.
Fee: free.
Classification: GorgeGorge
Light: n/a
Dimension: L=2 km, VR=200 m.
Guided tours: self guided
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Address: Associazione Turistica Pro Acquasanta Terme, P.za Terme, 63095 Acquasanta Terme AP, Tel: +39-333-905-3915.
Asa Speleoclub C.E.A., Frazione S. Maria, 102, 63095 Paggese-Santa Maria AP, Tel: +39-377-994-2009.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.


2007 speleologist Maurizio Montalbini spends several months in the Grotta Fredda (Cold Cave).


Gole del Garrafo (Garaffo Gorge) is an extraordinary gorge, in the Monti della Laga (Laga Mountains) along the road SS-90 from Acquasanta Terme to Pozzo. There are trails, but the most narrow section of the gorge is subject to flood which would destroy trails, so it is necessary to walk in the riverbed. However, there are fixed ropes at the more difficult parts. This actually means that this gorge is only accessible during times of low water, Summer and Autumn are a good time, in late summer the riverbed is normally dry. Also appropriate shoes are required, and as the trail is not very well signposted, we recommend a good map. The walk is about 3 km long, with an elevation gain of 200 m, but due to the sometimes difficult trail you should plan about 3 to 4 hours.

The Garrafo Gorge has high rock walls which at times are just a few meters apart from each other. Spectacular is the thin horizontal bedding of the rock. The rock is limestone, and so there are about a dozen caves along the gorge. Some can be seen from the trail, others are higher up the slopes. In general, the water emerging from those caves is hot and contains sulfur, similar to the nearby spa. An exception is Grotta Fredda (Cold Cave), which was chosen for this reason by the speleologist Maurizio Montalbini for his experiment in space-time isolation in 2007. Such experiments about TopicLiving Isolated Underground for several months were introduced in the 1960s and seem to have become increasingly popular recently, even though they have no scientific value.

The caves in the gorge, though numerous, are actually not accessible. It is possible to contact the ASA Speleoclub C.E.A., the local cavers, who are very active and have prepared numbers sites for tourism. They also organize tours into easier caves for small groups after appointment.