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.
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.
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!