Ancient Caves of Camerano: Tunnels and Chambers

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Evolution of Camerano’s Subterranean Network Over Centuries

The Camerano underground city is a dense and partially unknown network of tunnels and chambers carved in the sandstone beneath the old town of Camerano, Italy. Despite its significance, the origins and purposes of this subterranean complex remain largely uncertain. Historical records provide limited references to the tunnels, suggesting that their history is intertwined with local traditions and oral histories.

Camerano has very ancient origins, with the first prehistoric settlements dating back to the Chalcolithic period (III millennium BC). Scholars believe that the initial excavation of the caves occurred in a remote period. These early tunnels were likely narrow and served practical purposes such as the preservation of food, search for water, housing, and shelters. However, no remnants from this era have survived to the present day.

The current structure of the caves results from modifications and additions made over the centuries, spanning from the Middle Ages to the first half of the 20th century, including significant use during World War II. This ongoing evolution reflects the changing needs and circumstances of Camerano’s inhabitants.

The caves have also been used as places of worship and assembly. Notable evidence includes two underground churches with circular and octagonal shapes, adorned with religious symbols and ornaments. These features are associated with orders of warrior monks, indicating the religious significance of the site.

In addition to their religious functions, the Camerano underground city had a protective purpose. The tunnels provided a refuge for the population during sieges and threats against the town. This dual function of religious and protective use highlights the multifaceted nature of the underground city throughout its history.

Local tradition holds that the underground city has always existed, with the saying “there is more of Camerano below than above” underscoring the extensive development of these underground paths. This tradition also claims that “the caves are as old as the country is old,” emphasizing the long-standing significance of the underground network.

Despite the rich oral traditions, there is a noticeable lack of detailed references to the tunnels in local historiography. This gap in historical documentation adds to the mystery surrounding the origins and development of the Camerano underground city.

Source: Turismo Camerano , Luoghi Misteriosi

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