A short walk from the Church of Santa Maria del Bando in Atrani, nestled amidst lush greenery, stands the majestic Cave of Masaniello (Grotta di Masaniello in Italian).
This natural wonder is distinguished by its extraordinary dolomitic structure, highlighted by the grandeur of a natural cliff skirting the coast. The cave reveals itself as a stone sculpture, with shapes seemingly carved with the intent of creating an ancient abode. Inside the cave, arranged on two levels, lies evidence of a distant past: it is presumed to have once been a dwelling or a sacred temple, a theory supported by the remnants of enigmatic frescoes on the walls, faded to shades of red and black.
Venturing along the trail that hugs the rock face, one can observe on the left a natural basin, likely used in ancient times to collect rainwater. Legend has it that in this very cave, Masaniello, the heroic revolutionary from Atrani, found sanctuary during the uprisings of 1647 in Naples, a historical detail that imbues the place with an aura of mystery.
To reach the Grotta di Masaniello, one must undertake a journey upwards: a route of 750 steps starts from Piazza Umberto I. Although the climb may seem daunting, travelers will be rewarded with breathtaking views that steal one’s breath, culminating in a panoramic vision of the entire hamlet of Atrani, visible in all its glory once reached the summit.