Returning to the interior of Orvieto we found a small neighborhood with an interesting subterranean museum. Once inside, the steps descends rapidly in a winding cavern naturally formed into the porous tuff volcanic stone. Dim light with damp smells created an environment, which hasn’t changed in thousands of years. This was ground zero of where this settlement’s roots developed. In prehistoric times this cave provided protection of the elements, attacks from aggressors; man or beats and it provided a continuous fresh water supply. Latter the Etruscan used the grotto for religious ceremonies and eventually carved out passages for escape routes leading outside of the walled city.

I’ve always enjoyed the experience of exploring caves. As a young teenager, I lived in California’s Mojave Desert, not far from Joshua Tree National Monument. My brother and I would explore natural caves and man-made gold mines; while enjoying the cool, moist air which created a relief from the scorching desert air outside.

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