Neptune’s Grotto Facts
- While not the only sea cave in the area, most consider Neptune’s Grotto to be by far the most beautiful. Its discovery occurred accidentally in the 18th century, by local fishermen. Yet evidence indicates that primitive man knew of the existence of this geological marvel, as well as others locally.
- The cave opening itself formed at the base of extremely steep and rugged cliffs. Yet that opening to the grotto sits only slightly more than 3 ft (1 m) above sea level. Therefore, the cave can only be safely accessed during periods of calm wave activity. Further, it can be accessed by boat (at times) or a stairway carved into the cliff face itself.
- This beautiful grotto was also once used as a habitat for the Mediterranean Monk Seal. Sadly, however, that species now faces extinction and no longer inhabits the region. As a result of its natural beauty, it now serves as an extremely popular destination for tourists visiting the area.
Neptune’s Grotto Physical Description
First of all, the mesmerizing Neptune’s Grotto serves as a classic example of what makes sea caves beautiful and fascinating.
The grotto itself actually extends more than 2.5 mi (4 km ) in length. Inside, a vast array of both stalactites and stalagmites greet visitors with their beauty. Several passages of varying lengths and height exist within the cave system.
Additionally, a comparatively large saltwater lake resides within the grotto. Additionally, this surprising lake measures roughly 394 ft (120 m) in length. It also sits at sea level. The depth varies, but averages about 29.5 ft (9 m).
It also has a maximum width of 82 ft (25 m). A regular influx of seawater via wave activity maintains the shallow lake. Adding to the distinctive beauty of the location, a large stalagmite protrudes from the approximate center of the lake.
Neptune’s Grotto Location, Formation, and History
Perhaps most notably, the magnificent Neptune’s Grotto formed in a region itself considered quite picturesque. That’s because the natural wonder formed on the beautiful island of Sardinia, in Italy, in Europe.
The surrounding limestone cliffs tower an impressive 360 ft (110 m) and contain several other sea caves as well. Since these cliffs formed during the Cretaceous Period, the sea has had time to carve out the cave system. Evidence indicates that the caves and grottoes have existed as we now know them for roughly two million years.
Since its rediscovery in the 18th century, it has also, and quite rightly, gained fame for its natural beauty. Today, an impressive tens of thousands of tourists visit the stunning location annually.
Yet access to the full extent of the grotto and cave system remains limited to only certified speleologists, for its preservation. Finally, the site was also used in 1978 to film a science fiction movie, entitled Island of the Fishmen.