Back to Prehistoric Times in Papasidero

October 23, 2013 / Places
Papasidero, Calabria

Follow a winding road into the depths of a the Pollino National Park not far from Papasidero and you’ll feel like with every turn you’re going back in time as traces of modern life fall away. What you might not expect, however, is to find yourself going back in time, oh, about 20,000 years!

The Grotta del Romito was discovered in 1961 and is one of the most important prehistoric sites in Italy. This is because the caves were occupied by prehistoric inhabitants who left behind traces that reveal aspects of their daily life through the tools made from stone and bone, burial sites and even graffiti. A stone carving of a bull is remarkable for its clear lines and accuracy.

Prehistoric carving of a bull at the Grotta del Romito
Prehistoric carving of a bull at the Grotta del Romito

Excavations are still underway at La Grotta del Romito, but visitors can walk through a cave to see the burial areas, the stalagmite and stalactite formations and learn more about the site at the small museum.

La Grotta del Romito near Papasidero in Calabria
La Grotta del Romito near Papasidero in Calabria
Grotta del Romito Papasidero Calabria
Looking into the grotto
Burial remains uncovered at La Grotta del Romito
Burial remains uncovered at La Grotta del Romito
Museo Grotta del Romito
The museum at La Grotta del Romito

If you’re exploring the Pollino National Park, mark Papasidero on your map and follow the signs to La Grotta del Romito about 10 miles outside the village. It really is off the beaten path and remains mostly unknown even in the area… but not to ItalianNotebook readers!

Cherrye Moore

by Cherrye Moore

Cherrye Moore is owner of My Bella Vita Travel, a boutique tour operator specializing in custom vacations and heritage tours in southern Italy. Join her in June or September for the Small Group Heritage Tour of Calabria – a unique small group tour that combines group travel with a private heritage tour, or in September for the Undiscovered Southern Calabria and Eastern Sicily Tour.


4 Responses to “Back to Prehistoric Times in Papasidero”

  1. It’s great to hear about special places in Calabria…a little less known

    • Have you been to Pizzo? On the beach there is the fishermans church, a grotto full of ‘sculptures’. Fascinating…its being eroded year by year but still there.

  2. Cherrye Moore

    @Allen – Getting there is half the fun. :-) Just joking …it actually isn’t too hard to get to Papasidero – there are signs, then there are fewer signs to the grotta. You’ll think you missed it but then you’ll see the one little restaurant there and voila!

    @Janet-Thank you! I hope you love Calabria like I do.

    @Janice-I *have* been there and in fact was there just a week or so ago on a small tour. I think I’ve even written a note for IN about it … years ago.


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