An enormous sinkhole that local lore attributes to the anger of the Virgin Mary.
On the road between the small towns of Collepardo and Vico nel Lazio in eastern Lazio resides an enormous karstic sinkhole, one of the most amazing geological wonders in Central Italy.
Originally, there was once a cave here and at some point, the roof collapsed, exposing this enormous hole. The sinkhole measures between 40 and 70 meters in depth and is inaccessible without ropes and speleological equipment. The circumference of the sinkhole is approximately 300 meters.
In the past, local herders would lower their livestock inside the hole where they could graze on the vegetation growing from the detritus.
Ferdinand Gregorovius, a German scholar and traveler who wrote about his travels in Italy, described the sinkhole as “a strange well in the rocks of Santulla.” The sinkhole was visited on countless occasions by foreign and Italian travelers during the age of the Grand Tour, but in recent years, the site has been mostly neglected.
A local legend claims that the sinkhole was formed when local farmers, with utter disregard for the Virgin Mary during the Assumption celebration, harvested their corn. As punishment, their barn was swallowed for their sacrilege.
Know Before You Go
The sinkhole is currently fenced and guarded. It's sometimes possible to find the sight open and to walk on a small trail around it.
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