Reading Dante in the Pertosa-Auletta Caves
Descending into the Pertosa-Auletta Caves, in the province of Salerno, you may feel like you are living in the first canto of Dante’s “Divine Comedy”. Indeed, the great Italian poet’s journey in the afterworld begins in a place quite similar to these hypogea full of stalactites and stalagmites, slowly built up by nature over thirty-five million years.
Once you see a river – the Negro – flowing underground just like the Acheron, it won’t be hard to imagine “an old man hoary white with eld” approach on a boat, just like the “Charon, demoniac form, with eyes of burning coal” that gathers the souls of the damned and ferries them to their dark, eternal destiny in Dante’s second canto of the Inferno.
Luckily, you are not about to embark on that terrible vessel, but on a real boat. It will take you to a dock where pleasant, wonderful sights await, and a fascinating underground pilgrimage begins.
But Dante can come with you, if you want. Domenico Maria Corrado’s show, “L’Inferno di Dante nelle Grotte a Pertosa”, brings the “Divine Comedy” to life in an incredible guided tour mixing literature, entertainment, and the beauty that nature hides below the surface.