At the gates of the Cilento and Vallo di Diano National Park, in the province of Salerno, the Castelcivita Caves constitute, with a total of about 4800 m in length, one of the largest speleological complexes in southern Italy. The system of underground cavities opens at 94 m of altitude, between the banks of the Calore River and the south-western side of the Alburni mountains, immediately showing a suggestive scenario of tunnels, wide spaces, and bottlenecks dug by the prolonged action of karst erosion. The Castelcivita Caves develop along a single main branch from which, in several points, short secondary branches unfold. The underground system is divided into three paths. This subdivision allows passing from a tourist route to an off-trail route which, through spectacular concreted environments, adorned with imposing and eccentric limestone formations, leads to a large reservoir called “Siphon Lake”. Then it gives space to the third route, dedicated to only speleologists, where the cave ends with another lake called “Terminal Lake”. After numerous speleological explorations – already documented from the end of the nineteenth century – in 1972 the Castelcivita Caves acquired considerable paleontological importance thanks to the location of interesting archaeological deposits at the entrance to the cavity. From the analysis of the findings recovered – i.e. stone tools and fossil remains – it was possible to ascertain a human presence on the site dating back to about forty thousand years ago.
The charm of the testimonies relating to the habits of life of prehistoric man and the suggestion of extraordinary naturalistic and geomorphological phenomena create the enchantment of a still active surreal underground landscape inside the Castelcivita Caves, in which the interesting dripping of the vaults continues to form stalactites and stalagmites, accompanying the path of many visitors throughout the year.