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canyon exploring with Michele Angileri

Fossato dell'Aratro

The seacoast of Lazio is low and sandy, except in its southernmost part, where Aurunci Mounts overlook the coastline creating a landscape of cliffs and little beaches enclosed between rock walls. The numerous towering walls overlooking the sea constitute one of the main rock climbing places in Central Italy.

The Aurunci are strongly karstified, which makes them an ideal place for caving. Surface waters, however, are substantially absent. The streams carry water only during very heavy rains, and this means that it may take years for water to flow again in the streams. When this happens we see high-energy phenomena, flood waves sweeping away the vegetation that had covered the bed during past years, making white rocks of the bed reappear.

A few of these valleys are true canyons, like the Fossato dell'Aratro. The name means "Plow ditch", and it really looks like a giant ditch carved by a huge plow in the limestone hills.

Name Fossato dell'Aratro
Area Lazio (Ciociaria)
Nearest village Gaeta
Entrance altitude (above sea level) 170 m
Exit altitude (above sea level) 15
Length 3500 m
Longest rappel 0 m
Rock Limestone
Shuttle No
Explored by Michele Angileri, Mauro Cipressa, Andrea Pucci; january 29th 2012


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I remember ...

The perfect day to explore a canyon like Aratro was one of those days where you cannot do anything else, a cold day of a dry winter. I told myself: "We are by the sea: if we will not find a canyon here, we will find a little warmth at least".

We found nice views over the sea, a beautiful cork-oak forest and a perfect hiking trail with no technical difficulties though far from banal.

Photographs in this website show ultralight ropes (6 mm ropes made of high tenacity fibers). Read multimedia book Ultralight ropes canyoning technique to learn how to use them.

Copyright © 2002- Michele Angileri. All rights reserved.