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Virtual Italy Tour of Blue Grotto

Overview of Blue Grotto

Also called Grotto Azzure in Italian, the Blue Grotto is a natural wonder that visitors to Italy should consider seeing at least once when they come to the country. This very popular site can be found on the Island of Capri and is only accessible by boat since it is located in the water, on the side of a cliff on the northwestern side of the island. The Blue Grotto is a cave that can only be entered from the water and since the opening is just big enough to fit a rowboat, those who wish to experience the splendor of this natural marvel will have to brave rather choppy waters on the outside before they can enjoy the pristine and quiet waters inside.

The Blue Grotto - Capri Island

The Blue Grotto is named as such due to the color of the water inside the cave, with the sunlight streaming through the small opening giving the water within a bright blue color and illuminating it from below, giving it an eerie and somewhat ethereal quality. People who enter the cave are often awestruck by this effect and the silence within adds to the somewhat surreal and supernatural feel of the cave.

The cave itself is not that big, which is why only a few people at a time can enter it, with the length of the entire cave under the cliff being 60 meters long and the width a mere 25 meters wide. The waters in the cave are somewhat deep though, with a depth of 490 feet or 150 meters. Those who are not good at swimming are usually advised to wear life vests, although the guides who take you in are expert swimmers.

History

It has a long history of beauty and mystery documented as far back to when Capri was ruled by the Emperor Tiberius in 26 AD. In those days, the Blue Grotto was used as a marine shrine to nymphs (nymphaeum). For centuries, after Tiberius’ time, island inhabitants feared the grotto, believing it inhabited by Nereidi (sea nymphs) and bewitched by sirens and demons.

This all changed in the mid 1800’s, when guided by a local fisherman, Angelo Ferraro, a German scholar, August Kopisch, and a German painter, Ernst Fries went swimming in the then feared Blue Grotto. They spread the word about the otherworldly blue water inside the sea cave. Describing it in a book, The Discovery of the Blue Grotto on the Isle of Capri, to look “like the light of a blue flame” and swimming as feeling like floating in an “unfathomable blue sky”, and the visitors soon flocked to see the natural spectacle.

How to Get to the Blue Grotto and What to Expect

In order for you to experience the magic of this natural wonder, you first need to get to Sorrento, which is located on the northwestern side of the Amalfi Coast. Next, you will need to board a boat to the Island of Capri. On the island, you have two choices for getting to the cave, and that is by bus from Anacapri, or you can take another boat from Marina Grande on the island.

Once you get to the opening of the Blue Grotto, expect to wait a few minutes for your turn to enter since a lot of tourists make this a must-see on their list of things to do while in Italy (and trust me, it should also be part of your list too). When it’s your turn to go in, you will be asked to board a rowboat with a guide. You will be asked to pay a minimal entrance fee and you will enter the cave on this boat. Prepare your cameras and to be amazed since it is a sight that will definitely take your breath away.

The cave is open every day from 9 in the morning till 5 in the afternoon, but if there are high winds on specific days, trips to the cave are usually cancelled. The best time to visit the Blue Grotto is between 12 noon and 2 pm on a calm, sunny day, when the interiors of the cave are the bluest.

 
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