Stiffe Cave is in the province of Aquila, in the nearby Aterno valley, in the Saint Demetrio neÂ’ Vestini area. It is a pot hole which is still forming and which is crossed by a stream whose source is the Altopiano delle Rocche. The water goes underground near the village of Terranera, at Pozzo Caldaio (Caldaio well) at 1350 metres. The pot hole looks like a small, circular pond only several metres across.
The underground stream, after travelling three kilometres and dropping 650 metres, reappears at the mouth of the Stiffe, where you find the cave entrance.
The path fitted out for visitors, which is 700 metres long, allows you to admire the large and fascinating cavern across the turbulent river. Upon entering, along side the river, you find yourself in the first room called the Sala del Silenzio (Silent Room), because it is the only one to stay dry for a short time of the year. Through a man-made tunnel you enter the Sala della Cascata (Waterfall Room), where from 20 metres high the river begins its noisy descent. The fall changes its appearance according to the riverÂ’s capacity.
After having passed another 5 metres high fall, you enter the Sala delle Concrezioni (Stalagtite Room) one of the more interesting, where the dripping water has created stalagtites and stalagmites of rare beauty.
Following the path you go along the Lago Nero (Black Lake) and you arrive at the last room where the fitted path ends. At about a 100 metres beyond the end of the fitted path, there is a room which has a 25 metres high waterfall dropping into a lake about six metres deep. This room will soon be open to visitors of the cave.