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One of the joys of visiting Amalfi is discovering the magic of the magnificent Emerald Cave, or Grott

a dello Smeraldo, which is located on the coastline. Sharon Preston waxes lyrical after a visit…


The famous Emerald Cave is one of several caves around the world that emits a magnificent blue, or emerald light, depending on the time of day. The quality of the color in each of these caves depends on the natural lighting that filters into the cave. And in the case of this most famous one, it appears a brilliant emerald hue.

The Emerald Grotto is actually located between the towns of Amalfi and Positano that sit along the spectacular 40-mile Amalfi Coastline. This beautiful grotto is partially filled with sea water, which apparently accounts for the glorious emerald colour. The surface area of the water covers around 49 by 35 yards and the roof of the cave is 79 feet high above the level of the water.Entering-the-caves

Unlike the famous Blue Grotto which is located just outside Capri, the Emerald Cave has no natural outlet above the waterline. The only opening is just below the level of the water. Refracted sunlight enters the cave through the opening and gives the grotto its characteristic emerald glow.

As a result of the natural opening to the cave being above the waterline, the cave’s existence was a secret for many years. In fact, this emerald treasure was only discovered in 1932 by a fisherman called Luigi Buoncore.

When you visit the cave on an excursion, you will be able to access the cave from Strada Statale, the main road that runs along the Amalfi coast. You have to take an elevator down to cave level, where you will board a boat that will take you through the grotto on a journey of discovery.

On the boat, the guide explains how the effect of the shimmering green-coloured water is created by a secret tunnel that allows the light to filter from deep below the surface. You will also see colorful stalactites and stalagmites that are up to 10 meters high. And there’s a nativity scene below the water that mysteriously appears and then drifts away again, making it quite a surreal experience.grotta-smeraldo1

The guide also explains the history of the cave while you are exploring on the boat. When you’re on the boat, remember to take a look at the water – it’s so clear that you will be able to see right to the bottom, 32 feet below. I promise you – the colour of the water is so magnificent that it will take your breath away.