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Campo Braca

The Neverending Story

Chapter 8 1/2

The cover is from Larry Ray and Jeff Matthews

Translated Jeff Matthews

 Secondary Entrances to the Campo Braca Grotto


Chapter 8 1/2

I've mentioned to you many times the Campo Braca Grotto on the Matese massif, telling you of our excursions there and of our personal discoveries in the karst system.

It's certainly one of the loveliest grottoes in Campania, but over years of exploring it we've somehow managed to skip over the “external” features. We were driven to find new underground paths in this grand labyrinth, always fearful that we'd never get to see it all, and so we didn't spend a lot of time talking about the connections to the surface: we were content with Sparafunno (the well, the classic access for speleologists) as our point of departure.

My trips below the surface then tailed off a bit and I got curious about the other two entrances; I had never seen them but I knew they were there. I once started up the Inghiottitolo [used as a proper noun here, inghiottitoio is from the Italian verb for swallow and is any large natural drain hole that removes water from a drainage basin, in this case channeling it into the karst area below the surface] from within the grotto in the dry season (Sept/Oct) but I stopped before reaching the exit, although I could “feel” it close by. I remember the Buco degli Stregoni [Sorcerers' Hole]—there was an arrow drawn on the wall of one of the passages leading to the Condotte Infinite [Infinite Paths] saying “Exit”. That confused me somewhat, but not enough to follow it.

So this week, with nothing better to do, I told myself that the time had come to go back and find them...voilà...I did!

Here are some photos and, in the Itineraries section, the complete chart with GPS indications and waypoints with coordinates of all the entrances.

Remember that although these entrances appear simple (you can enter without auxiliary ropes) they should be approached with caution. One small slip in a grotto can have severe consequences, something you should always keep in mind when exploring underground...don't try something that you're not sure you can do.

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